Where Has This Chargers Team Been All Season?

What a game! It was nice to see the Chargers handily beat a team they should have handily beaten. It was the kind of performance we have been waiting for all season. And it was the kind of performance that leaves fans asking more questions.

Where was this offense for the first 12 weeks of the season? What if they continue to play like that for the remainder of the season? Could Norv and AJ save their jobs with a Charger-esque late season surge?

For all the Chargers did right, it was largely an inept Jaguars team that led to their best overall performance of the year. All this win did was leave a thicker fog over the rest of the Chargers’ season.

Are they really back on track, or was this a single-week anomaly? I can't tell anymore.

Next week they welcome the Buffalo Bills to town. The Bills have fallen apart after a solid start to the season. But are they as bad as the Jaguars? Can the Chargers build on this performance and start beating better teams?

It all comes down to the defense. As good as they looked against a bad Jacksonville offense, they still couldn’t stop the run, and they were out of position on more plays than you would like at this point in the season. The talent level on this defense leaves much to be desired.

But as this team gets healthier, they may surprise some people. They could earn just enough wins to keep things interesting.


Philip Rivers: He looks horrible in the pocket, with his weird footwork and odd mechanics, but when he throws the ball he gets results. You could see his confidence building throughout the game, and hopefully that carries over into the remainder of the season.

Ryan Mathews: Mathews had his first 100-yard rushing game against a team not named the Broncos. He looked good blowing through some big rushing lanes, and beating defenders on the outside. If he can stay healthy, he could be a star.

Offensive Line: You could not have a more patchwork offensive line than the Chargers fielded yesterday, but they got the job done. They showed signs of inexperience, but ultimately gave up no sacks, and gave Rivers some time in the pocket. Colin Baxter did a great job subbing for Hardwick, and you have to wonder how long it will be before he takes over full time.

Jared Gaither: Speaking of the offensive line, that Gaither dude is HUGE. He looked good for the most part, taking into consideration his lack of practice time with the Bolts. Props to Gaither for getting the job done. Can he play right-tackle when McNeil comes back? It’s worth noting he got cut in Kansas City for committing a key false start. Can you imagine what our line would like if the Chargers followed a similar practice?


Eric Weddle: One play stands out to me in respect to Eric Weddle. Not his interception. Not his open field tackle on MJD. Those are expected of him. What stands out to me is Weddle going all Cromartie, avoiding the tackle of the 300+ pound Jaguars offensive lineman has he caught a pass and chugged up field for a first down.

Jon Gruden: “AJ Smith is awesome.” “Norv Turner is God’s gift to coaching.” “This organization exudes greatness.” The only thing he missed was, “Greg Manusky is the Phil Jackson of defensive coordinators.” Someone want a new head coaching job in southern California next year?

Blaine Gabbert: As bad as Sunshine looked on most of his throws, he had his best half ever against the Chargers. This defense is not very good, and they were lucky to be playing against such a bad offense.

Draft Slot: I know half of you hate comments like this, and the other half of you will agree with this. Every win from here on out hurts the quality of player that the Chargers can draft next year. Our current GM already hurts the quality of player the Chargers draft on his own, he doesn’t need more help from a lower draft slot. Sorry, but it's not like this team, this offensive line, and especially this defense, is a serious contender.

Follow me on Twitter: @JSWilliams75

December 6, 2011

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