A field goal again was the margin that separated the San Diego Chargers from their opponents on the scoreboard in Week 3. Just a week after experiencing the first win under the Mike McCoy/Tom Telesco era, the Bolts traveled for a second time on consecutive Sundays across time zones to meet the Tennessee Titans in Nashville. This time, however, San Diego couldn’t find the magic to get away with a victory.
Things started out hot for the Bolts offensively as Philip Rivers and company were impressive on their first sequence of the game. Directly following a three-and-out forced by the defense, San Diego marched down the field with authority on a drive led by tight end Antonio Gates who certainly didn’t look his age (33) on Sunday with five catches for 55 yards and a touchdown. Aside from the opening drive, however, Gates really wasn’t much of a factor in the game.
And neither was Rivers as the Chargers’ quarterback went 20-of-24 on the day for a mere 184 yards and that lone touchdown toss to Gates. While the veteran tight end may now have a teammate poised to complete a dangerous duo for the Bolts at the position with Ladarius Green showing out with two grabs for 48 yards, the aerial offense really didn’t do much Sunday.
The ground game wasn’t terrific either, but a nice development was the split in the workload among the guys in the backfield. While Ryan Mathews still carried the bulk of the load with 16 totes for 58 yards, the other guys each played a crucial role as well. Danny Woodhead continues to wow with his versatility as he had five carries for 31 yards and another seven catches for 55 yards on the day. The veteran Ronnie Brown wasn’t great by any stretch with just five carries for six yards, but he did score the lone touchdown on the ground in a goal-to-go situation.
Michael Vick didn’t really dominate the ground game the way he is capable of as a mobile quarterback last week, but Jake Locker changed that from his position on Sunday. He gashed the Chargers for crucial scampers through the middle of the defense that just can’t happen. His five carries for 68 yards were highlighted by a 39-yard that really broke the San Diego defense.
The most alarming thing from this game is just how susceptible to fourth quarter lapses the Chargers appear once again this season. While a touchdown lead is nowhere near the 21-point advantage they carries into the final quarter of Week 1, this is still a disturbing trend for a team that hoped to get rid of that choking mentality by firing Norv Turner in the offseason. With three straight games decided by merely a field goal, the Chargers clearly are going to be competitive all season long. But with just a 1-2 record to show for it at this point, is this team good enough to pick itself up off of the mat and keep fighting as the year progresses?