Chargers – Colts Report Card Recap
In a game that was to be a battle of titans, a possible AFC championship preview and a game that is always a highlight of the year, one side simply dominated the other. At the end, one team looked like its season was done, and the other looked as if they could ride the momentum all the way to the Super Bowl.
QB – A-
An A- for under 200 yards of passing? No touchdowns? Is Philip Rivers personally writing these articles under a pen name? Sometimes the numbers don’t reveal the truth. Rivers connected in 19 out of 23 pass attempts and looked unflappable in the pocket. Even after being sacked twice, Rivers didn’t make a single mistake. No wild passes, no letting the ball loose, and when he had to run, he almost didn’t look geriatric. Almost.
RB – A-
Lorenzo Neal and LaDainian Tomlinson have been heralded as one of the best FB/HB combinations in the history of football. On Sunday night, the pair that truly shined were two no one expected…Hester and Tolbert. Every matchup against Hester left a defender on the turf and Tolbert was the Little Engine that could not be stopped. Tolbert put up another 100+ yard game, and another TD under his belt. Sproles didn’t have many touches, but kept the 4+ ypc average.
WR – C-
Even though Rivers only threw for 180 yards, most fans are left with the question…who actually caught the ball? No deep ball, no big plays, and the absence of the debuting and injured Vincent Jackson and Malcolm Floyd. Naanee grabbed a few, and one went to Seyi Ajirotutu, but all in all an average performance by the Bolts’ receivers.
TE – A
With a foot injury that scared off the majority of fantasy footballers, Antonio Gates still managed to lead the team in reception yardage. It’s still difficult to be surprised by this fact, even with the foot injuries and extreme pain Gates fought through to run the field. McMichael had a 12-yard grab and helped support the stellar blocking on the Chargers’ O-line.
OL – B
The o-line always seems to be on the verge of dominance. Holes open up and defensive lines break throughout the game, but the consistency isn’t quite there yet. Rivers hit the turf twice, and had to move around a bit to keep on his feet, but overall gave both Rivers and the run game the support they needed.
DL – A+
Antonio Garay seems to get better and better each week. The Colts had virtually no options at running back, and the Bolts’ d-line made sure even those options were shut down completely. A few sacks and hurries were often supported by Garay and others shoving men right back into Manning’s face. If the front 3 of the defense can keep up this powerful push, no opposing QB stands a chance.
DB – A+
One could argue some non-calls and poor throws gave the DB’s their four interceptions. That one is probably a Colts fan. The backs were all over Manning, forcing mistakes and taking advantage of each one. In a season that has been so-far an interception drought, watching the pick-fest on Sunday night was exactly what Bolts fans have been looking for. Again, Shaun Phillips is the leader the defense has needed, and they are starting to look like the #1 defense in the NFL.
ST – A+++
If Special Teams gets an A+ for no screwups last week, they get as many as possible this week for their performance against the Colts. Five field goals from Kaeding, (who returned to being the most accurate kicker in NFL history) and a 50+ yard average from Scifres is exactly what Norv expects from his kickers. Next week, no more excuses. The Bolts have shown they can handle Special Teams and the bar is set.
Coach – B+
Norv put together a solid game despite an average performance, (yardage-wise) from Rivers. Only some poor red-zone efforts were the downside to a well-played game. Watching Tolbert try and fail twice at the goal line, and then run the play action came as no surprise to anyone, including the Colts defense. Norv has proven he can create offensive plays to find the end zone when at the end of the field, and struggles like that could be the Chargers Achilles’ heel.