“Chargers-Punched in Mouth-Owner Gets Bloodied Too”
Chargers football-Merry Christmas.
Here’s a gift wrapped lump of coal in your stocking.
The Chargers had everything going for them heading into the Saturday night game against the Baltimore Ravens.
The Bolts had 10-days off, after their thrilling win in Kansas City…almost like a true bye week…to get healthy…get rested…get a unique game plan in place.
The Ravens, had a short work week, a West Coast trip, with a rookie quarterback, running back, tight end, and a less that complete offense.
Bah-humbug Bolts….Ravens (22-10) win…in a game that tasted like spoiled egg nog.
Goodbye possible first place finish in the AFC-West. Goodbye home field advantage in playoffs…goodbye MVP candidacy of its quarterback…goodbye any possible come from behind wins.
There would be no Philip Rivers rallies, not like the 16-point comeback win in Pittsburgh, or the 14-point rally in Kansas City, nor any team defensive effort to win in Seattle.
Baltimore made the 1st big play of the night, a huge pass interception by Brandon Carr against a much taller Mike Williams. The Ravens made the final big play of the night, the 62-yard TD run with an Antonio Gates fumble to seal the win. They picked off his final pass in the end zone on a Hail Mary attempt.
In between, it was typical Baltimore ugly football, kind of like being in the Charm City in January, cold-raw-nasty feeling.
They sacked Rivers 4-times, hit him 8-times, pressured him 7-other times.
The Chargers had no run game at all, behind an offensive line that got mugged, like being in an alley in Baltimore.
And what big plays the Bolts might have had, 27-and-28 yard pass plays, and an 8-yard run, were wiped out by the holding calls and illegal formation penalties against them.
Rookie QB-Lamar Jackson was wild throwing the football, erratic, scrambling under pressure, bounce passes, overthrows, heaves into coverage. But he hit on a 68-yard catch and run to his tight end, had runs of 8-and-20 yards, and saw his tailback Gus Edwards rip off a 43-yard gallop on their first snap.
The rest of the night was like a cold winter’s gray day on the Baltimore harbor, Justin Tucker hitting 3-field goals and almost making a record 68-yarder.
The Chargers calling card all year was ‘chunk’ plays from that offense. They had only 8-play of 10-yards or more. No plays of plus 20, from an offense that had 65-plays of plus 20 on the year. The Ravens ripped up the calling card and left it in the mud.
The Ravens hit them with 14-snaps of plus 10-yards…and 5-of plus 20, with an offense that hardly ever does that..
Everytime you looked up, Rivers was ‘behind the chains’ trying to catch up. Good luck finding the right page in your playbook for a call against that defense when you are 3rd-and-13…3rd-and-14…3rd-and-20 and 3rd-and-27.
The Ravens defense forced Rivers to move off his spot, or hit him so many times, he was knocked down on his spot.
And a fitting climax to the game, the plane that flew circles overhead the Stub Hub Center, financed by bitter Chargers fans, with the trailing sign that read:
“Philip Rivers-MVP….Dean Spanos-P-O-S”
The Bolts got punched in the mouth by the Ravens. The owner had his mouth bloodied too.