Time For Bolts to Go Streaking
By Andrew Burer
The Chargers slowly and methodically dismantled the Colts Monday night, and no one saw it coming.
For yet another week, San Diego surprised everyone, only this time they won a game they were supposed to lose.
It wasn’t flashy. Instead, it was a classic ground-and-pound effort by the Chargers.
They held the ball for an astounding 38½ minutes and ran for a season-high 147 yards. Ryan Mathews topped the 100-yard rushing mark for the first time since 2011. The Chargers ran 78 plays, including four drives between the second and third quarters that took 12, 17, 11, and 15 plays.
Rookie wide receiver Keenan Allen continued his recent stretch of brilliance, catching nine passes for 107 yards and a touchdown.
“It was a great win for us,” Allen said. “Everyone doubted us coming into this game (but) we came in and imposed our will on these guys. We just got our confidence back.”
Whether this team can build off this win and string together successive victories for the first time this season remains to be seen. However, even though the Chargers have yet to win two in a row, they’ve yet to lose two in a row.
It speaks volumes to the job the Chargers’ new coaching staff has done this season. San Diego has been marred by injuries since the start of training camp and has played without multiple starters every game, including starting linebackers Donald Butler and Jarret Johnson who were inactive for the Colts game.
“I think some young players, defensively, got an opportunity, with the injuries we had, at the outside linebacker position (Jarret Johnson) and then with Donald Butler not playing,” head coach Mike McCoy said. Give (defensive coordinator) John Pagano and the defensive staff a lot of credit for what they do. The players bought into it.”
Defensive ends Corey Liuget and Kendall Reyes had their best game of the season. Inside linebacker Andrew Gachkar adequately filled in for Butler and Manti Te’o stepped up by relaying the calls from the sideline and finishing with five solo tackles.
All encouraging signs for the immediate and distant future.
This week, it’s déjà vu.
Like Week 6 against Oakland, the Chargers play another weak opponent (Jacksonville) following a big win. However, a flop is unlikely this time. The victory over the Colts proved the Chargers can compete with the league’s best. It was encouraging for morale and should bode well against the winless Jaguars.
“As a football team we have to put up two in a row,” McCoy said. “We have been up and down. We have to be more consistent in all three phases and go on the road in a tough environment in a short week and do whatever we can to find a way to win the game.”
Don’t be surprised if they win this time.