Monday, October 4, 2010

Chargers take down the Cardinals 41-10

The Chargers Jekyll and Hyde type season continued on Sunday.  The Chargers terrorized the Cardinals on Sunday, in a game they won going away 41-10.  The Chargers have two blowout wins this season, to go with two sloppy, embarrassing losses to Kansas City and Seattle.

The Chargers allowed Arizona to move the ball deep into their territory to start the game, moving the ball down to the Chargers 22.  But Derek Anderson was picked off by Steve Gregory, and never looked back.

The Chargers went right down the field, mixing the run and pass quite effectively.  San Diego capped off the drive with Philip Rivers hooking up with Antonio Gates on a 33 yard score.  Gates became just the seventh tight end with 500 career receptions, a feat which further pads his resume for Canton.

Arizona was able to even the score at 7, after Darren Sproles fumbled, and Jets castoff Kerry Rhodes picked it up, and ran it back 42 yards.  The Chargers have lost fumbles in every game, something that is very alarming.

The Chargers were able to bounce right back, using the run game with Mike Tolbert, and Rivers connecting with Gates.  The Cardinals obviously didn't have a very good defensive gameplan, and the Bolts took advantage.  Mike Tolbert capped a 5 play, 63 yard drive with a 5 yard score that put San Diego up for good.

The big story for the Chargers was the play of their defense.  The Chargers had 9 sacks, including 4 by Shaun Phillips. Kevin Burnett also had 2 sacks, and the Chargers constant harassment of Derek Anderson led to his benching, in favor of undrafted rookie free agent Max Hall, out of BYU.

The Chargers led 28-7 at the half, and let the running game and defense take over in the second half.

Late in the third quarter, the Chargers went ahead 34-7, as Ryan Mathews punched in his first NFL score, an impressive run, in which he dived in.  Mathews was solid in limited action, with 9 carries for 55 yards.  Mike Tolbert had his first 100 yard game, rushing for exactly 100 yards on 18 carries, and a score.

The Chargers are 2-2, and play the hated Oakland Raiders next Sunday.

The Good:  This is the Charger team many of us expected.  Explosive on offense with Philip Rivers going to main weapon in Antonio Gates.  The big surprise of 2010, continues to be Mike Tolbert.  He runs hard, and the Chargers have a potentially dynamic trio of backs.  Having a solid ground game could help prevent another collapse in the playoffs.

The defense continued to be dominant.  Antonio Garay continues to be a solid replacement at nose tackle, and Shaun Phillips had arguably his best game as a pro with 4 sacks, and an interception he returned for a touchdown.  The Chargers also outgained Arizona 419-124.

The kick return coverage, which received must criticism, did a nice job, allowing only 17 yards a kick return.

The Bad:  The Chargers lost a fumble for the fourth straight game, which was returned for a score.  If the Chargers want to be considered a legitimate contender, they need to rectify this problem immediately.

Nate Kaeding also missed a 38 yard field goal, but he was able to bounce back with two makes over 40 yards.  You have to wonder if he still has lingering emotional issues from his misses in the playoffs.  Overall the Chargers played a very solid game.

Key Players:  Philip Rivers:  15-20, 241 yds, 2 TD's, 148 rating
                      Mike Tolbert:  18 rushes, 100 yds, 1 TD
                      Ryan Mathews:  9 rushes, 55 yds, 1 TD(first of career)
                      Antonio Gates:  7 catches, 144 yds, 2 TD's
                      Shaun Phillips:  4 sacks, interception, TD
                      Kevin Burnett:  7 tackes, 2 sacks, forced fumble

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