After what should have been a win in Week 1, many expected the San Diego Chargers to have difficulties in Week 2 facing the new-look, up-tempo Philadelphia Eagles on a short week after a cross-country flight. While the Bolts may have looked like the same old chokers in the opener having thrown away a three-touchdown lead, the team showed some newfound resolve to gut out a win this Sunday.
The praise has to begin with quarterback Philip Rivers who was absolutely masterful in the way he managed the clock and made calls at the line of scrimmage for the offense. He began the game 10-for-10 passing as well which showed just how focused he was to get a ‘W’ in the NFL’s second week. His final stats look like they came straight out of a video game as Rivers finished by going 36-for-47 through the air with three touchdowns and no interceptions. Off of his costly pick-six a week ago, his ability to protect the pigskin really aided the San Diego effort to secure a road victory.
As for those three touchdowns, well, Eddie Royal continued to do his magic with seven catches for 90 yards as he was on the receiving end of all three touchdown tosses. Clearly the free agent debacle at wide receiver was only one-half of the Royal and Robert Meachem equation as Royal looks like a new man now reunited with head coach Mike McCoy from his days with the Denver Broncos. The Chargers are using him perfectly in the offense, designing plays for him to get open in space and really take advantage of his elite quickness.
Despite a costly fumble, running back Ryan Mathews also showed some promise on Sunday rushing for 73 yards on 16 carries for more than 4.5 yards per tote. The Chargers devised a gameplan that allowed Mathews to excel while they milked the clock and kept the ball out of the hands of the Philadelphia offense.
At the end of the day, the credit for this victory has to go to the coaching staff. In the days of the ill-prepared Norv Turner teams, cross-country flights never worked out well because the team only knew one way to play and had no malleability. If they didn’t match up well against their opposition, it was a lost cause for San Diego. Those days appear to be long gone after this game as the Chargers racked up 33 first downs to continuously move the chains and keep the Eagles on the sidelines. Controlling the time of possession was critical to this game, and the Chargers certainly won that battle with 40:17 of game time with the football opposed to Philadelphia’s mere 19:43.
It may only be one game, but if not for gifting the Houston Texans a win in Week 1 we could easily be talking about the 2-0 Chargers becoming dark horse contenders in the AFC West. While the Broncos still look to be head and shoulders ahead of anyone else in the division, don’t be surprised if the Bolts put up a serious fight in their two meetings this year. Hopefully the resilient bunch that showed up to Philly this Sunday will stick around for the remainder of the season.