|Chargers RB Mike Tolbert|
The Chargers came right out of the gate and scored on the Jaguars defense. A Mike Tolbert run, capped a 6 play, 74 yard drive, and gave San Diego an early 7-0 lead.
Jacksonville got the ball, and promptly turned it over, as David Garrard threw an interception to first year starter Antoine Cason. The Chargers were unable to take advantage however, as rookie running back Ryan Mathews fumbled the ball away. Jacksonville was able to convert the miscue into a field goal, which made the score 7-3. It was as close as the Jaguars would get in this game.
The Chargers and Jaguars traded turnovers, as Philip Rivers threw a pick in the red zone, and three plays later, David Garrard threw one to Antonie Cason, his second of the game.
The Chargers took advantage of the short field, as Philip Rivers threw his first of two touchdown passes to Antonio Gates, this one a 9 yard score, and the Chargers were up 14-3.
Ryan Mathews left the game early with an apparent ankle injury, and carried just 5 times for 26 yards. Mike Tolbert played the majority of the game, and was solid, getting a career-high 81 yards, on 16 carries. Matthews said he could have returned in the second half, but the Chargers staff was reluctant to let him.
The Chargers led 21-6 at the half, but Jacksonville moved the ball into Chargers territory to start the 3rd quarter. However, the momentum was killed when Maurice Jones-Drew fumbled, and Chargers safety Paul Oliver recovered. The Chargers turned this gift into a Nate Kaeding field goal, and held a 24-6 lead.
The Chargers added two 4th quarter touchdowns, a 1 yard TD run by Mike Tolbert, and a 54 yard strike to Malcolm Floyd, and the Bolts led big 38-6. Jacksonville added a garbage-time score which ended the scoring. San Diego wins 38-13, and travels to Seattle next week.
Kevin Says: There was a lot to love as a Charger fan. The defense forced six turnovers, including 4 interceptions. A unit many expected to struggle, has played above the expectations I had going into the season. Philip Rivers was his normal, surgically accurate self, throwing for 334 yards, completing 76 % of his passes. He spread the ball around nicely, hooking up with 8 different receivers. Mike Tolbert allowed the Chargers to control the ball fairly well, and showed that he is a capable NFL running back. The defense also shut down Jones-Drew, a big concern I had going to this game. Nate Kaeding also made his only field goal attempt, so that is somewhat encouraging.
As good as the game was, the Chargers still have much to improve upon. Rivers threw a pick in the red zone, something that is inexcusable against a quality opponent. Ryan Mathews needs to do a better job of holding on to the ball, two fumbles in two weeks won't make anyone forget about Ladainian Tomlinson. Special teams were also a negative, as the Chargers allowed a blocked punt, although their coverage was much better. Overall the Chargers looked dominant, but they definitely can improve. I like San Diego next week over Seattle. The Chargers stand at 1-1. a game behind 1st place Kansas City.
Leaders for San Diego:
Passing: Philip Rivers, 22-29, 334 Yds, 3 TD's, 2 INT's, 119 QB rating.
Rushing: Mike Tolbert, 16 Carries, 81 Yds, 5.1 avg, 2 TD's. Ryan Mathews, 5 Carries, 26 Yds, 5.2 avg. Darren Sproles, 5 Carries, 36 Yds, 7.1 avg.
Recieving: Malcolm Floyd, 3 Catches, 95 yards, 1 TD. Antonio Gates, 5 Catches, 57 yards, 2 TD's.