Monday, October 13, 2014

That Was Not Easy

That was a tough game to sit through. Talk about running the gamut on the old emotional rainbow. This fan base is not yet prepared to live through a squeaker like that against the Raiders. Over the last several years that has become a game we lose every time, and no matter how good the locals feel about the team today, it's hard to shake off a feeling of dread in a situation like that. We've been here before. The Raiders came to play yesterday and we often looked like we were content to let them shoot themselves in the foot rather to to actually take the game in hand. While we were never down by more than a score, it felt like swimming up stream all afternoon. The defense that had been so compelling for the previous four games fell back to Earth in resounding fashion for much of the day and if it weren't for the efforts of a couple scrappy rooks, we might all be standing around shaking our heads and wondering where it all went so wrong. A win's a win, but lets take some lessons away from yesterday. Here are  handful of stray observations about the game.
  • Phillip Rivers is simply killing it. How many times did you expect to see that back-breaking pick in the fourth quarter only to see Phillip slice apart the Oakland secondary like a surgeon. He simply doesn't make those kind of mistakes right now.
  • My cohort, CJ, and I often argue about the merits of running backs. He is of the school of thought that RBs are a dime a dozen while I often point out the string of losers who tried to fill the role in San Diego between Natrone Means and LaDainian Tomlinson. Aaron Hayden? Jermaine Fazande? Man, I thought I was winning that argument until this walk-on little spark plug in the Darren Sproles jersey showed up. It's not like he snuck up on the Raiders after that Jets performance. He is shredding defenses and making fans forget Ryan Mathews like someone somewhere along the way forgot to put a second 't' in that surname.
  • Jason Verrett is playing much taller than he is. Fantastic pick to save that game. I've never been a fan of first round corners, because first round corners are rarely impactful enough to do much to turn around a flailing defense. I've never been so happy to be wrong a bout a guy either.
  • Malcolm Floyd is inspiring in his return from that awful injury he suffered last year. He may never be a true number one receiver, especially on a team like the Chargers who seemingly refuse to have a number one at all, but his contributions are a big factor on this offense and to its success.
  • Division games are a bear. There's no getting around it, the Raiders brought everything they had. KC will do the same next week, and they're better.
  • Jury's still out on Pagano as far as I'm concerned. Continues to lean on conservative play calling, which is fine when you're up, but ill advised in a dogfight against a team you should really be pushing around. We were unable to put much of any pressure at all on the rookie Carr yesterday, and the adjustments didn't come until it was nearly too late. Without the pass rush we've seen the last several weeks, that secondary was exposed.
  • The good news is that neither Alex Smith nor Peyton Manning seem capable of throwing the ball more than 25 yards or so, meaning it will be be hard for our next two opponents to outrun coverage like the Raiders did yesterday. That being said, let's not fall asleep on those teams, Pags.
  • Penalties wee rough yesterday. There were some biggies. Need to get a lid on that.
  • 4th and 35 fake punts just weren't going our way yesterday. Probably need to try less of those.
  • One last kudos for a guy who doesn't get enough. I can remember Steve Christie and Wade Ritchie. A couple of others who came through town I don't remember as well. I remember Kaeding in the post season. Nick Novak has been a stud for us, though. He didn't do a ton yesterday, especially after having a long FG called back for a penalty, but the man has been something close to automatic for the last couple of years, and there's a lot to be said about that.
Some observations on the league:

  • There's no question the Broncos are a damn good team, but they let the Jets hang around for an awful long time yesterday. I'd love to gloat, but we kind of did the same with the Raiders too, no? Still, the Donks look absolutely human through their first five games and that's a good thing.
  • Dallas one-upped our home win against the might SeaChickens by taking the defending Super Bowl Champs to the woodshed in their own park, which is nearly unheard of. The Cowgirls share a 5-1 record with us and look poised to achieve a level of greatness this year. This is why it's the perfect time to remind everyone of what Dallas does. They provide their fans with hope only to dash it on the rocks of mediocrity somewhere down the line. The more hopeful the better, and it looks like they've got their fans in a frenzy, visions of Super Bowls dancing in their heads. Get ready for what should be a colossal and entertaining collapse.
  • Take note of Dallas, Cleveland. It's been a long time since you poked your heads out from under the turtle shell of obscurity. Right now your fans are also riding an emotional high. It's up to you what to do with it. Rise to occasion or Cowboy up and fail. The world is your oyster, better make a showing of it.
  • Thanks for nothing, Tom Brady. Stunk it up long enough to sink a couple of my fantasy teams and now you're lighting it up for someone else, like the fantasy world's worst ex-girlfriend. But I know the truth. I saw how scared you were those first four games and all of your problems aren't fixed yet. You may feast on a bad division and find your way into the post again, but your days are numbered.
  • Tampa Bay should petition the league for an expansion team to replace their current one.
I'm sure there's a lot more to be said, but this is my damn column and I'm already tired of writing it. 5-1 is a great place to be right now and Charger football is the best thing going again. Finally. Go Bolts!!!