Six Things I Liked About The Chargers Victory Monday Night

Watching the Chargers dominate the Denver Donkeys on both sides of the ball Monday night was flat out fun. It was the cleanest game the Bolts have put together all season. But there were several things that specifically stood out.

Here are some of the things from Monday night that stood out to me:


ESPN hit this number multiple times throughout the night. It’s the number of players who’ve played for the Chargers this season. Keep in mind, you’re only allowed 45 men on an active roster. It’s just a ridiculous number, one that would have almost certainly killed 90% of the teams in the NFL. Gotta credit Norv, A.J. and of course, Philip Rivers – which leads us to something else that stood out…


Hey, I’m one of the biggest Philip Rivers fans around and even I was getting a bit disgusted with the non-stop gushing over Philip Rivers, led primarily by Jon “Chucky/Wannabe Future Chargers Coach” Gruden. I don’t know that any of it was unwarranted. What Philip has done in his career, and particularly this year, is worthy of praise and discussion. However, late in a blow-out game without much to discuss, the announcers spent a little too much time talking about Philip Rivers. Philip was efficient and made several great throws, but a lot of the credit should go to the guys who made plays happen after the catch – which leads us to…


Give A.J. credit on getting this guy for a 7th round pick! One particular play really stands out. The Bolts were up 14-7 toward the end of the 1st half. They lined up with two bunched receivers to the right. Crayton was to the left in the slot.

It was a well-designed play, presumably by Mr. Norv Turner. Kris Dielman, who plays left guard, pulled right, and Sproles also went to the right to block. Right guard Louis Vasquez and right tackle Jeromey Clary went to the left, along with center Nick Hardwick. The Broncos linebackers were fooled into following the players going to the right. Philip Rivers then threw a simple screen pass left to Crayton. Crayton made a nifty little move to make Brian Dawkins whiff on the tackle and sprinted up the field for a 40 yard touchdown. It made me wonder why Norv or Steve Crosby hadn’t used Crayton more in the kicking game. But now it seems moot because Crayton injured his wrist on that play and had to have surgery. He’s out at least 2 weeks and maybe all season. You can see the play here. That TD made it 21-7 and you could feel the game was essentially over at that point. But it wasn’t all because of the offense – which leads us to…


It’s about time I add a 95 to my jersey collection. The best Shaun (regardless of spelling) to play linebacker for the Chargers had another great game. It seemed like every time Kyle Orton dropped back to pass he was either being chased by or tackled by Shaun Phillips. Shaun has clearly established himself as the leader of the front seven. One of my favorite things to watch is the way he tries to confuse the offense by moving around and using exaggerated hand gestures pre-snap. He’s the Peyton Manning of messing with an opponent’s head at the line of scrimmage. Watch for it especially in Sunday night’s game against the Colts. And also watch for continued quality for that dreaded “3rd phase” – which leads us to…


It’s almost like the goal of special teams is to not be noticed. Punts, kickoffs, field goals – those are the times when fans can run to the bathroom or grab a drink. Not with the Chargers. But Monday night, there were no real miscues speak of. And that stands out. Sure, Kaeding missed the 52-yard attempt. But that’s no gimme, he was on line, he was just short, and it was a cool night where the ball wouldn’t travel as far. Scifres and Tolbert perfectly executed a fake punt on 4th and 14 that created an early momentum change and certainly made the players look like they were having fun out there, which brings us to…


A friend was a rookie in the NFL in 2008. He played for an NFC team. He was signed, but later cut. He tells of veterans’ utter apathy and discontent for playing the game of football, for practicing, for listening to their coaches. I was amazed at what he said at first, but as I thought about it, it began to make more sense. The players are always under scrutiny from the media and the public. They put their bodies through car wrecks every Sunday and golf cart wrecks throughout the week. They are, in a way, treated as machines, where if they aren’t working as expected, they’re thrown out on the curb. Since he told me this I’ve kept a keen eye out for any signals of discontent or signs of childlike enjoyment from NFL teams.

Our beloved Chargers definitely displayed signs of childlike enjoyment on Monday night and ESPN’s cameras were there to capture it. From Vincent Jackson and Antonio Gates cracking jokes and laughing on the sideline to Philip Rivers dropping in the CO2 cartridge to get around the edge for a 10 yard run (I jest, I jest). It was the most smiles spotted on the faces of Chargers players’ all season.


Those are the things that stood out to me. What stood out to you?

November 25, 2010

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