It didn't start pretty and it wasn't perfect, but the San Diego Chargers are 1-0 after beating the Oakland Raiders, 22-14, on Monday Night Football. After a rocky preseason showing and a number of early injuries to overcome, the Chargers are tied for first place in the AFC West...and nothing else really matters but next weekend's home opener against the Titans.
Before you discuss the Bolts' opening day win in the comments section below, here are a few of my own quick hits from last night's win:
- While I'm tempted to go with Nate Kaeding, my player of the game was Donald Butler. He played from sideline to sideline and generally was right where the Chargers needed him on every play. He has become a force for a defense on the rise.
- The Bolt's offensive line got a lot of credit for (mostly) keeping the Raiders off of the back of Philip Rivers, but that's only one part of a lineman's job description. This team couldn't run the ball to save their life, and that failure started in the trenches. Did you see how often the Raiders were in the Chargers' backfield when they tried running the ball? Ryan Mathews would not have fared much better running behind these guys last night.
- Antonio Gates took some hits last night, leaving the game at one point to have a rib injury examined. Just a series or two later he was back, setting the tone for the rest of the team to fight through injuries for another 15-games. Jared Gaither could learn a thing or two.
- The defense is tackling better than I have seen in a long time. I'd like to give some credit to John Pagano, but he isn't exactly a new face on the Chargers' staff. Nothing against Pagano, but I give more credit to improved talent and veteran leadership.
- That special teams performance by the Raiders looked very familiar. It was like the San Diego Chargers circa 2010. Glad to see it on the other side of the field for a change.
- Rivers had a couple of great throws, but overall he did just enough to win. That's not a knock on Rivers- he had a rough start against a tough front seven, he had no support from the running game, and he got a lot of help from the Raiders. He will need to be better against the likes of the Titans, Falcons and Chiefs in the coming weeks.
What are your thoughts on the Chargers week one win? Sounds off in the comments section below and let us know what you thought of the Chargers showing in Oakland.
Follow Jeff Williams on Twitter: @JSWilliams75
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