Bad Offense, Bad Injuries, Bad Loss…

Posted by on December 8th, 2014  •  0 Comments  • 

 

The Chargers fired every bullet in every gun last night.  Unfortunately they ran out ammunition.
 
New England kept calling up firepower and finally won trench warfare battle, this (23-14) win over San Diego.
 
Bill Belicheck’s brilliance continues to find ways to slow down Philip Rivers.  Tom Brady continues to find ways to beat San Diego’s blitz package.  When it was over, the Patriots had more guys to make plays on both sides of the ball, while the Chargers kept losing players to injuries.
 
It was a mighty defensive struggle.  At one stretch in the third quarter, San Diego’s oft maligned defense had held Brady to 69-yards on 21 plays.  Of course, the Pats defense had done a similar job to Rivers’ offense, holding San Diego to 72-yards on 19-plays.
 
But it was the relentless pass rush pressure on Rivers that spelled the difference.  There was no pocket, no time to find receivers, too much traffic in his face and at his feet.  He was sacked 4-times, took 7-hits and pressured 8-more times.  That is alot of heat, and New England attacked rookie center Chris Watt with alot of stunts inside that really hurt San Diego’s blocking assignments..
 
The Chargers linebackers collectively played the best game of the season, they were everywhere, but the difference was, they never really got to Brady.  1-sack, just 3-pressures, despite blitzing 18-times in the game.  It was similar to the loss to Denver early in the season.  You can keep coming at Peyton Manning, but he eventually will figure it out, make plays, and make the difference.  Ditto for Brady.
 
The Pats had the edge in offense, thanks to an occasional big pass play (397-216).  They ran off a ton of plays and wore down San Diego (73-54) on snaps..  And they held one of the top 3rd down teams to just (4-of-13) on those conversions.
 
Add in the brutal, but clean, hit on punter MIke Scifres on the blocked punt early, it changed the field position game.  Rivers had to start drives at his 10-10-13-13-and-17 yards lines after the Scifres injury.  Long field, coupled with sacks and pressures, and long yardage situations, it was too much to overcome.
 
Losing Ryan Mathews to a quirky bruised ankle on a tripping penalty took away the ‘make you honest’ run game San Diego had, meaning Rivers was a one dimension quarterback, with everything in his face.
 
He didn’t get help from his coaches.  Frank Reich never went no-huddle.  Mike McCoy, down two scores, punted at the 50-yard line with 6-minutes left, and really never got the ball back with any chance of winning.
 
It was a heart-felt night for Melvin Ingram, who played his best games as a pro, with a sack, a pressure and 3-tackles for loss.  Corey Liuget and Dwight Freeney again pressured Brady, and the linebacking group played well.
 
The secondary really did not.  Brandon Flowers got beat 3-times, and could not handle a formation where he had to front massive tight end Rob Gronkowski.  Offensive center Chris Watt gave up two sacks, Johnny Troutman the other, and DJ Fluker again had issues off the edge with rushers.
 
Brady is (6-0) against Rivers.  Rivers is (1-6) against that mad scientist coach.  And it sure looks like anyone entertaining thoughts about going deep into the playoffs, will have to go to New England to get a chance to go to the Super Bowl game in Phoenix..
 
San Diego is back in that (8-5) traffic jam now, tied with Pittsburgh and Baltimore.  Luckily for them, Andy Reid’s Neanderthal offense, and the inability to throw it deep,cost the Chiefs another game; and Cleveland’s Brian Hoyer has become a turnover machine, hurting the Browns again.  They lost ground in the wildcard race.  And a does of reality, they are just (3-5) against teams with winning records.
 
San Diego might still make the postseason, though they are running out of days on the calendar, and here comes Peyton Manning next.
 
They played as good as they could, as long as they could, but there were just too many obstacles.  The loss of the punter, the 4th string center not holding up, the constant pressure, the bad field position, and the fact it was Tom Brady-Bill Belicheck orchestrating all this, meant a gut-wrenching loss rather than a hard earned victory. 
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