Chargers – Remember the Numbers: 53 & 60

Posted by on December 22nd, 2014  •  0 Comments  • 

NFL teams have a 53-man roster and the rule book says you have to play all 60-minutes of the game and if need be, overtime.  San Diego needed everyone of those men, and needed every minute plus more on Saturday night. 
The Chargers (38-35) come from behind, stay alive, win over the 49ers paid heed to those two rules.  They beat the 49ers in overtime, despite trailing (28-7) at one point.  And thy used virtually everyone on the roster to find a way to get the win.
It was a team win for a team that had to win to stay alive in the NFL playoff race.
Philip Rivers reached back to find a vintage performance of heroic standards.  He stood in there against pressure, survived 3-early interceptions, threw four touchdowns and was relentless in throwing for (356-yards) in the emotional victory.  This after a first half of QB hits, errant throws, interceptions, inaccuarcy, and no run game.
It was a war of attrition, with players from both teams going down with injuries, and now the report Rivers has played for three weeks with a herniated disc..
The 49ers lost their lead pass rusher Aldon Smith, one of their top cover corners, and had lost 3-starting linebackers, already on injured reserve.   The Chargers entered the game without their top two running backs, their leading receiver, and a host of lineman gone for the season.
But the Chargers lost center Chris Watt, guard Johnnie Troutman, both corners Brandon Flowers and Shareece Wright, and Melvin Ingram got shaken up twice on cut blocks. They won with a 5th string center, and a guard who was on the streets just two weeks ago.t
San Diego invoked that rule about the 53-man roster, the ‘next man up philosophy. 
And the spark to light the fire, was a refugee from the Canadian Football League, Dontrelle Inman, who caught 7-passes for 79-yards in his debut in the second half.  And it was tight end Antonio Gates hauling in key TD catches that allowed San Diego to keep coming back.  And it was the slot receiver Eddie Royal’s brassy 4th down catch, amongst other, that kept the flame flickering
Between them, Gates, Royal, Inman, they caught 24-passes in the game.  And it all was triggered when San Diego found the missing pages at the back of the playbook that read “No Huddle Offense-no chance for the 49ers”.- 
It could have been, should have been over.  The Niners ran roughshod, finishing with over 300-yards on the ground.  But for every huge run by Frank Gore or mad scramble by Colin Kaeperneck, there were setbacks.
The Niners lost 3-fumbles, one at the one yard line going in for a score, another at their own one, and a third in overtime at the 50.  And their gassed defense, got gashed, having to be on the field for 32 of the final 43-snaps of the game.
Mike McCoy’s offense rallied, John Pagano’s defense cheated against the run and wrecked the Niners offensive flow.
The Bolts wound up with 447-yards in offense, San Francisco had 446 on the night.  It was give and take, back and forth, all night.
There have been other important great wins in Chargers history in the modern day, the Kellen Winslow-led playoff win in the Fouts era in Miami, and the Bolts AFC-Championship win in Pittsburgh that put them in the Super Bowl.
It only counted as one win in San Francisco, but they needed that win, to stand a chance to go get the next win, and hope for help from other teams. 
If there ever was a team win, this was it, and for San Diego, one game left, in Kansas City, with still a chance to play into the post season tournament.  This 53-man roster got it done.  This team played 60-minutes then longer and earned-deserved the win.
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