It was a huge team win, this Chargers come-from-behind victory over the moribund Detroit Lions in the oven that was Qualcomm Stadium.
It was tough to tell which was worse, the 105-degree heat on the field, or the heat Philip Rivers throwing, and the heat of the Chargers pass rush put on the Lions.
There should be more heat directed at Detroit coach Jim Caldwell, who cannot figure out whether his team should be ‘throw first’ or ‘run first’. When you have a talent like Calvin Johnson, he should have more than one pass directed his way in the first 50-minutes of the game. But that’s Detroit’s problem, and they blew a (21-3) lead in losing.
Rivers survived two interceptions in the first half. They survived a Melvin Gordon fumble. They survived like you and I would in the hot weather, by dealing with the cold facts, you can’t stop Rivers for four quarters, and that pass rush will get you sooner or later.
The quarterback did, throwing for (404) yards on a (35-for-42) passing day. And Melvin Ingram’s crushing hit on quarterback Matthew Stafford, that led to a Kyle Emanuel interception, changed the whole chemistry of the game.
Slick and quick Keenan Allen ran precise routes, caught most everything, and put his name next to Kellen Winslow’s in the record book, for a one day outing, 15-catches for 166-yards.
Tight end Ladarius Green, who blew a block that nearly got Gordon beheaded, rallied to catch five passes too
The kids played well, Gordon breaking off some burst runs once beyond the line of scrimmage. The rookie linebacker Kyle Emanuel had a clean run at the QB for a sack, and was in the right place at the right time, to pick up a deflected Stafford pass for a pick.
They lost the right side of the offensive line, DJ Fluker with an ankle injury that did not look good, and Joe Barksdae, who got jolted and shaken up.
Credit Mike McCoy and Frank Reich. They shifted gears in the 2nd quarter, when the Lions continued to close off the run, and pressure Rivers. They went to quick hitting crossing patterns, and sideline stuff, first for Allen, then Stevie Johnson, and suddenly the air game had taken hold..
When they were done, it was nearly a 500-yard offensive day, and an example of what that side of the ball can be all season long.
You climb out of a hole like they did, it is impressive. Now they have to take that with them into Cincinnati next weekend to face the Bengals.
Against all odds, the weather, the deficit, Megatron, and the injuries, the Bolts beat the daylights out of Detroit. A pretty good start to the season, after a bad start to the day.