Momentum is a curious thing in sports. In recent years the San Diego Chargers had been riding a wave of the negative variety with collapses and slumps seemingly waiting around every corner. Now these Bolts head into the bye week fresh off of a complete domination of the Jacksonville Jaguars with a winning record and, more importantly, some positive vibes behind them.
The transformation hasn’t been easy to see in terms of the roster, but the overhaul in attitude is obvious with new head coach Mike McCoy running the show in San Diego. Heck, this same team that hadn’t had a 100-yard rusher since 2011 entering the season now has two straight 100-yard games out of the consistently underwhelming Ryan Mathews.
It’s that type of attitude and determination required for success in the run game that seems to permeate this entire locker room now. These Chargers are not a sling it all over the yard, one-dimensional type of offense that can’t make in-game adjustments or play to the strengths and weaknesses of an opponent. These Bolts are a malleable group with the ability to still spread the field and make things happen through the air while also having the fortitude to line up and maul with a straight ahead rushing attack predicated on sheer desire.
As the Chargers finally ended their alternating win/loss routine in Week 7 in Jacksonville, they head into the bye week with confidence and want-to which will be much-needed given the fact that the team still has both clashes with the division front-running Kansas City Chiefs and their co-pilots the Denver Broncos. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to deduce as much from McCoy’ comments to U-T San Diego as the coach said:
“It’s good to go out on a bye this way. I think the guys deserve a break.”
The offensive line is banged up and the pass rush has been depleted all year, yet the Chargers still find a way to mix and match depth pieces to make the equation work. My personal preseason pick to make a defensive impact in the unsung Thomas Keiser led the way in rushing the quarterback on Sunday with two sacks. Even the usually disappointing Larry English got in the on the act and finally stepped up with a sack of his own.
Despite injuries, adversity, and everything in between, the Chargers have persevered this season, and the credit for that resilience goes back to their head coach. McCoy has instilled a ‘no excuses’ type of mantra with this team that was pretty much the complete opposite under Norv Turner. The former coach looked to deflect blame whenever given the opportunity, whereas McCoy accepts his mistakes and looks for positives to take away from those missteps.
That type of ‘live and learn’ outlook will help this team blossom in the stretch run this season rather than falter as they have in seasons past. Look for these Chargers to continue to prove their validity as a serious contender this season after recharging their batteries (pun very much intended) during the bye week.