That game tested my optimism in the worst possible way. I mean, it's starting to look less and less like Houston or Tennessee should've beaten us, but this was the Raiders. That win was already written in with pen, and it's clear the players felt so too. The gameplan seemed to be a "let's wait and see what they do" situation and the Raiders pounced. Hit fast, eat clock, create chaos. The entire first half was a nightmare. And while the Bolts woke up and responded in the second half, another long third down conversion drove a stake through our hearts.
A lot of people this morning are probably feeling pretty justified in all their offseason bitching about Philip Rivers because he ended up with three INTs last night, but the reality is not that bad. The first one was ugly, and basically ended up being a punt. The last two, well let's just say that when the defense allowed the Raiders to make it a two score game with only a few minutes left, you're going to have to take some chances. All in all, I'm still pretty thrilled with what Rivers has been able to do this year.
This receiving corps is getting really good. Keenan Allen and Vincent Brown blew it up last night and Gates continues to defy the aging process. That being said, there is just no excuse for only scoring 17 in that game. We gave so many points away. This team needs a true RB. Ryan Mathews went out with a concussion and honestly, who cares? I had high hopes for Mathews this year, but it just doesn't look like he's ever going to pan out. Look for him to spend a couple years bouncing around in a back-up role somewhere before exiting the league for good. Ronnie Brown is too old to hit the hole, and while I'm really digging Woodhead, he can't do much against the bigger lines when they know he's coming. I don't know if there's a fix out there right now. My kneejerk reaction is to go and throw all of next year's draft at Jax and try to wrest MJD from them (Lord knows they aren't using him. I saw Jax run something like 10 plays inside the 5 yesterday and never once hand the ball to their best player.), but we need those picks if we're ever going to have a secondary again. Which leads us to...
The defense is bad. There's no getting around it. There are a couple of playmakers on the team, and I actually like what I saw of Te'o last night enough to give him his apostrophe back, but teams are getting awfully good at going away from Butler and Weddle at this point. You just don't even hear their numbers called anymore. Losing Freeney might well have been the straw that completely breaks this thing. I still feel like when you defense is this untalented, you have try something different. Change your looks. Pick a philosophy and go with it. Something. I don't know, I'm not a coach, but what they're doing is not working enough to be the right call.
Probably the most frustrating thing about last night was that even though the Broncos and Chiefs managed to win their games yesterday, they both looked a little less intimidating than normal in doing so, but now we're already 3 games back and even if we get this thing firing, we're going to need a lot of help catching up with those guys, and I don't know where it comes from when I look at their schedules. Next up we have the Colts and it's starting to look like we're going to need to score 50 if we're going to have a chance.
Look, I'm still pretty excited about the direction this team is going and I'm not about to fold up shop, but I am starting to wonder if my expectations for this year weren't tempered a bit with bias of Norv and AJ. Norv's stupid face is 3-2 now and we just lost to the Raiders. That is a tough pill to swallow on this Monday morning.
Still, at least it's nice to actually feel something again when we lose. Oh wait, no this sucks.
Time to lock it up, Chargers. Go Bolts!!!