Judging anything aside from talent and potential in the preseason would really be a misguided notion. Given the vanilla looks on both sides of the ball combined with the lack of participation by the starters, it’s really difficult to make a fair determination of just how a team will fare when the regular season arrives.
While that holds true for the latter stages of games after the starters exit, the first series or two may be a different story. For the San Diego Chargers, their first series against the Seattle Seahawks in their opening preseason action on both offense and defense was quite impressive.
Let’s begin with the offense where Philip Rivers led the Bolts on a 13-play, 74-yard drive down the field that ended with a 28-yard Nick Novak field goal. In his one series of action, Rivers went 5-for-6 for 45 yards through the air. That’s nothing to write home about, but it’s certainly a nice start. Running back Ryan Mathews also had a solid beginning as he gained 19 yards on three carries. It is only the preseason, but head coach Mike McCoy showed confidence in Mathews as a fourth down back by giving him the ball on fourth-and-inches where he had a nine-yard pick-up.
As for the defense, they held their own against one of last year’s phenomenal rookie signal callers in Russell Wilson. Second-year standout Kendall Reyes and veteran Dwight Freeney led the charge as the Bolts got after the Seattle quarterback and forced a punt from the Seahawks. The Chargers showed that they are more than capable of hanging with one of the stronger teams in the league during those opening exchanges.
After that first quarter with the first-stringers in the game, the Bolts actually held a 3-0 lead. Despite the final score ending in lopsided fashion in favor of Seattle, San Diego actually looked quite solid against the guys from the Pacific Northwest.
To say that Rivers will be back to his 2009 self and Mathews will finally live up to the hype based off of one series would be asinine, but it’s just as foolish to say that the Bolts had a rough start to their preseason given the 31-10 final score. If the first-stringers are any indication, this Chargers team is going to provide fierce competition for everyone on their schedule in 2013. If some of those close contests go in their favor, anything is possible in the upcoming season.