Chargers – Texans Report Card Recap
QB – A-
Philip Rivers could take a Pop Warner to the Super Bowl, or at least find them in the end zone. Not to discredit his backup wide receivers, but game after game, Rivers cements his MVP candidacy. His only blemish was a single interception in a four-touchdown, nigh-300 yard performance.
RB – D-
Norv Turner’s statement a couple weeks ago, that “Ryan Matthews is our one central back.” is starting to fall flat. What worked against the Titans last week couldn’t get off the ground this week. Matthews ran into a brick wall until an injury put in Mike Tolbert, who didn’t do much better. The team is in great danger of becoming one-dimensional and relying solely on the arm of Rivers. The only upside was that the RB’s were part of the 8-receiver offense, catching balls and moving upfield. As far as grades for specific performance, receiving gets a C, while rushing gets a solid F.
WR – A
The waiver wire, fourth-stringers wouldn’t have been blamed for a loss. That’s the way it goes with backups of backups. Expectations were low…and completely shattered. Seyi Ajirotutu, who shined in the preseason, was dropped from the practice squad. Just weeks prior, Gary Banks was unemployed. Patrick Crayton had yet to break out in a game. Tutu and Crayton, however, averaged 25 YPC during the game and led the Chargers’ offense to victory. In two weeks, we may see VJ, Floyd and Naanee return, but this corps should not be forgotten.
TE – A+
Last week, Randy McMichael’s lackluster blocking led to a blocked punt and much speculation on whether he or Kris Wilson could fill the shoes of Antonio Gates. On Sunday, McMichael proved he has a lot more left in the tank after his first multi-touchdown game. Rising up above two defenders to pull in a TD grab seemed not only impossible, but also “Gates-like.” Where Ajirotutu looked a lot like Malcolm Floyd, McMichael looked a lot like Gates. Even Kris Wilson connected for a 37 yard toss by Rivers.
OL – C
On the upside, Rivers was hurried only a few times and sacked only once. On the downside, the Bolts’ RB’s had absolutely nowhere to go running from the backfield. Rivers eventually resorted to tossing over the O-line and to the outside to get the ball to Matthews or Tolbert. Overall, an average performance, with lots of room for improvement.
DL – C+
It took until late in the game to really see some major pressure on Schaub, but something awoke in Antonio Garay that has been relatively unnoticed all season. Three tackles, all for losses and a sack that the Chargers D has been eager to finally get, were just part of his spectacular performance. Unfortunately, it came late in the game, and most of the time, Houston’s O-line was shoving them back on their heels. Arian Foster was finding holes left and right until the second half, where everything shut down on the star running back. Now to get the Chargers to play both halves like the second half.
DB – B-
It may have been hard to notice how well the Chargers’ defense played. Overshadowed by Arian Foster’s monster running ability, it was hard to see that the backs were knocking balls out of the air left and right. In what could have easily been a 3-INT game, it’s hard to deny that many of Schaub’s connections were denied by the hands of Chargers’ defenders. In the second half, things only improved with a heads-up interception by Paul Oliver and Shaun Phillips leading the shutdown of Foster.
ST – F
Another blocked punt. Perhaps Scifres should just toss the ball to the opposing team on every initial punt so we can just get it over with. Also, the terrible gaffe by Jacob Hester grabbing the opening kickoff and running out of bounds at the 4 was unexplainable. If something isn’t done soon to rectify these Special Teams screwups, the Chargers will end up throwing away many more games that they should easily win.
Coaching – B+
Again, Norv Turner rallies his troops at halftime to turn the game around and get the win. Whatever he says at halftime though perhaps should be pulled back thirty minutes and get them going from the starting whistle onward. Credit does go where credit is due, and his ability to handle a team ravaged by injuries and keep the win streak alive is commendable.