Nobody is to blame for this, for “it is what it is”.
The Denver Broncos lopsided torch job of the Chargers (35-21) was never really a close game. Sure, you can slow Peyton Manning down for a series or two early, when you empty your playbook with exotic blitzes, but he will figure it out, he always does, and he did again last night, in the searing Chargers loss.
Quarterback Philip Rivers cannot do this by himself, especially against a really good team. He had no running game; his pass protection was substandard; and he doesn’t play defense. And that, more than anything else, is why Mike McCoy’s team, and Tom Telesco’s roster, now has a 2-game losing streak around their neck.
But it really ‘is what it is” because of injuries. The secondary cannot cover, and cannot stay healthy. The pass rush must rely on those blitz schemes, and they hardly ever get there. The tackling remains suspect. The linebacking play is very shaky. And of course, they are hurt.
It’s nobody’s fault 1st round pick Jason Verrett keeps getting hurt trying to make plays. It’s fate that corner Shareece Wright looks to be a shell of the player who was developing late last season. The veteran Brandon Flowers, coming off a knee issue, then has a groin, then a concussion, all in the span of 6-weeks, has been more hurt than healthy.
There is no Manti Te’o at linebacker yet. Dwight Freeney’s odometer is at 100,000-miles, and most all the other players, are just guys. If this team had health, it might scare some people, but it doesn’t, and the depth is very shallow.
Eric Weddle must feel like Rivers, having to do it all himself as a playmaker.
Pick any facet of defense, and there will be stats that bear out how short of talent this team is.
John Pagano blitzed 18X last night, and knocked Manning down one time. Yes you can cheer 3-and-out possessions in the first half, but what are you going to do the other 7X-he has the ball? You saw the result.
The secondary has been singed badly. Richard Marshall gave up 5-completions and took a bad flag last week against Kansas City; last nite, 4-more pass plays, a TD and a critical penalty. Wright gave up 6-passes, another TD, and took a flag. Verrett, before he went out, allowed a huge completion amongst the 3-he gave up, and a score.
Linebacker Donald Butler should take his signing bonus check and his wallet out of his back pocket, and start making plays, because he hasn’t done much. His big penalty last night on a late helmet hit on a downed player, fueled a scoring drive.
The defensive front got gashed again, last week 154-yards rushing, last nite, they let Ronnie Hillman run for 105.
So what are we to make of the Chargers right now? Good on offense, not very good on defense. The only salvation is they play just 1-game over the next 22-days, and have a bye in the middle of this. That time should get many of the injured back healthy. They will be need to be back because the last five weeks of the season will be brutal.
As for Denver, it’s a wealth of riches. Manning throws to big tight ends, speed burner receivers, route runners, and now has both power back Montee Ball and the quick Ronnie Hillman to go to. That offense and a defense that really gets after it with Von Miller, Aqib Talib, and a physical-quick front and secondary.
No one is to blame, surely not Mike McCoy. Maybe to a degree Telesco because he continues to be hit and miss on some of player acquisitions on defense, and that’s where the problems are.
The season is not over, but if there is not improvement on the defensive side of the ball, there will be no postseason, as this franchise wastes away what time is left on Philip Rivers quarterback clock.