Throughout the week the media will question whether they were just plain wrong about the Eagles. Be ready for that. We've been in two games against two respected teams to the wire and come away with a 1-1 record, and I think we'll all agree that right now we look better than the team that lost a 7-6 barn burner to the Browns last year, but the sports pros will wonder why the Eagles imploded, not whether we belong in the conversation. So it is, so shall it ever be. If we want accolades, we need to do big things this year and wait until next year for the media to acknowledge it. But we don't need accolades. We need wins. Let's hit some quick notes on yesterday's action.
Philip Rivers - Dear Phillip Rivers haters, go eat a bag of buffalo dicks. 7 TDs, 1 INT and over 600 yards passing so far. Throw in a couple of first down runs and we're looking at the makings of a pretty sweet bounceback year. That's what happens when the line-which looks a whole lot better so far, don't you think?-gives a good QB a second to think about it.
Eddie Royal - On pace for 40 TDs. You almost make me want to send AJ a thank you note. Almost. Not really. Hell of a game, Royal.
Ryan Mathews - Right now the whole town is ready to scrap this guy and I can't say I blame them. I am already scouring the college ranks to see who is likely to get the next crack at being the heir apparent to the LaDainian Tomlinson throne. But for this year, Mathews still has a part to play. He may never see the red zone again, but he has to touch the ball. And here's the thing. Football is such a mental game, full of self fulfilling prophecies. If you know you fumble, and more importantly, if the opposing defense knows you fumble, then you probably fumble. The last few years, however, a Mathews fumble has been enough to take the entire team out of the game. A single play had been enough to make Norv's Chargers take their ball and go home. This team yesterday overcame a Mathews fumble, a Gates fumble and some lightning quick Philly TDs to pull out a victory and that can only help Mathews' psyche. He wouldn't be the first RB to turn around a history of fumbling and I feel like yesterday will only bolster his resolve in that regard. He probably can't play well enough to earn a long term contract, but it sure would be nice to see him contribute in a meaningful way this year.
Antonio Gates - Gates gets a pass on that fumble and that TD drop, but only because for most of yesterday he looked like the Gates we need and remember. Also because we won. Gotta hold onto that ball, Cotton Candy hands.
Malcolm Floyd - Wow, you were having a monster day. I was a big proponent of yours for years before you finally just turned me off with the injuries. Yesterday was not your fault, but what an old Chargers thing to do then to go ahead and get your neck crushed. Hope you're okay man. No more of that, okay?
John Pagano - You lost some vets and Manti Teo is in a boot. I get that. But you were kept around in a situation where a lot of other people got the boot because you earned a lot of respect for what you did last year. Well, you better come up with something this year, because this defense is relying way too much on the other team to stop themselves at this point.
This team as a whole - Yesterday was a big win. The kind of win that guys get excited about. It's the kind of win that makes you go back to the previous loss and say that loss wasn't so bad. That the entire body of work so far is impressive and we might really have something here. And that's awesome. But we shouldn't forget that first loss. We should hold it up to this win and ask ourselves an important question. Why does it seem that we can only keep up our intensity when the game is in doubt? We should've put that Texans team away and we fell into that old familiar tendency to merely try to hold on. If we're going to accomplish anything this year, we're going to need some of those easy wins just as badly as we're going to need the gritty wins like yesterday's. We're going to need to wring some necks.
All in all, though, the fans and players should be ecstatic about that win, warts and all. That is not an easy environment to go into and overcome. Already, after two games, you can see the effect real leadership can have on men in the trenches. I feel like we're on the verge of something just a little bit special. Let's enjoy it. Go Bolts!!!