Chargers – Broncos Report Card Recap
QB – A
Mike Scifres had one throw that was a perfect connection on a fake-punt play. With that, his QB rating was still only two points higher than Philip Rivers’. Rivers couldn’t get over 300 this time around, but tied his career record of four TD’s. And week after week, Rivers continues to connect with any and every target wearing the blue and gold. One incredible effort for an interception by Champ Bailey is the only blemish on another amazing night for the Chargers’ QB.
RB – A
Ryan Matthews could only watch from the sidelines as Mike Tolbert pushed, shoved and fought to bring life back into the Chargers’ run game. Giving some time to five different backs, Tolbert stood out in the ground game. Sproles caught a few to add 60 yards to his total, but the little Freight Train Tolbert seemed unstoppable. Every time a defensive wall came up, he broke right through. This was by no means a game leaning on the running backs, but they kept the Chargers’ offense from again carried on the arm of Philip Rivers.
WR – B+
Nothing represented the game as a whole more than the stiff arms thrown by Patrick Crayton knocking the Denver defense on their heels. If a wrist injury didn’t pull him out before the end, another touchdown would have been no surprise. Unfortunately, every other receiver was relatively quiet. Floyd reaggravated his injury and left the game, and Ajirotutu came up catchless.
TE – C-
It was hard to tell if there were any Tight Ends in the game at all. A double-check of the Chargers roster shows Kory Sperry listed as a tight end, but the only one that stood out was Antonio Gates in his t-shirt on the sidelines. Sperry had a couple good grabs, and McMichael’s blocking wasn’t bad. Overall a decent performance from the tight end squad, but nothing spectacular.
OL – B
Week in and week out, false starts and injuries seem to plague the Chargers’ front line. This week, while the problems didn’t seem to fade too much, the running game was starting to peak and Rivers only hit the turf once. Not until the late portion of the game did Rivers seem to be troubled at all by the Broncos’ pass rush.
DL – A+
Sacks? An unknown word to the Chargers defense for a long time. Or at least, the plural form. Not on Monday. The linebackers were able to break through due to outstanding play by Antonio Garay and the rest of the Chargers’ defensive line. Denver’s pocket fell apart time and time again and the pressure on Orton grew with each down.
DB – B+
Sacks! Shaun Philips has proven time and time again that he is the most underrated defensive player in the NFL. In fact, any member of the Chargers defense could easily be described as underrated, or at least, under the radar. Larry English finally recorded a sack and Antoine Cason made up for average pass coverage by tackling any and all Broncos that tried to pass that first down marker. Finally seeing an interception was yet another sigh of relief to fans of the Bolts’ D. The defensive backs have every marking of an extremely talented defense, but there are a few areas to tighten up on coverage and halting the run game. In the eyes of Broncos QB, Kyle Orton however, he got more of the Chargers D than he could handle.
ST – A+
Ok, so an A+ may be a bit overzealous, but to see a game with no major special teams screwups is worth a parade through the Gaslamp District. Credit to Steve Crosby, special teams coach, who essentially put his job on the line with the Scifres fake-punt pass. Decent returns by Sproles and a missed long attempt by Kaeding spell out an average performance by the Special Teams crew. But after the weeks of horrid mistake after mistake, they can have the A+…as well as expectations to stay above average for the rest of the season.
Coach – A
Norv Turner’s better qualities are beginning to show on the field. His strengths lie not only in play calling and design, but working out the psychology of the game. He can smell weakness and is able to adjust and capitalize with a team that doesn’t always have all its players in perfect health. A great mix of run and pass led to touchdown after touchdown. Lesser coaches could have taken the first quick points against them and lost faith. Norv rallied the troops and put together a near-perfect game.