Now that all of the semantics are out of the way, the San Diego Chargers and the Denver Broncos can get on with their annual showdown to see who the best team is in the AFC West Division. The Broncos, behind the wicked play of Peyton Manning this season, are undefeated.
The Chargers, getting rejuvenation from Philip Rivers and first-year coach Mike McCoy, can score at will against any team. Just ask the Houston Texans, Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins.
Sure, the Chargers bungled their last chance drive in regulation in that 30-24 road defeat against the Redskins, but that has not happened often this season.
“Give Washington credit. They made the plays when they had to at the end. As an offense we didn’t punch it in,” McCoy said Monday during his weekly press conference. “Defensively, we let them score four of the last six possessions of the game.”
Before we can move on to the out-of-this-world play by Manning and his Broncos teammates, let’s examine what went right and what went wrong for the Chargers against the Redskins. After falling behind, the Chargers stormed back to tie the game and send the contest into overtime, thanks to the sharp passing of Rivers (341 yards), who managed to produced his fourth 300-yard performance of the season.
What went wrong was that the Chargers could have ended the game in regulation with a touchdown after getting first and goal at the Redskins’one-yard line. Actually, it was less than a yard. Three plays later, the Chargers were forced to send the game into overtime with a field goal. The Redskins won the game when Darrel Young rumbled and stumbled into the end zone for the final score.
McCoy, of course, couldn’t have been happy with that final sequence of plays in regulation.
“You want to look at the last three offensive plays of the game and say that’s why we lost the game,” McCoy said. “You can look at that because that is what the game came down to, but you have to look at what we could of done differently for the entire game. That’s what we do as a staff. Win or lose, every week you look at certain things. Philip Rivers could throw for 400 yards in a game and we could say ‘wow you were 24 for 28; you should really be 28 for 28 if we did this.’ It’s a would’ve, could’ve should’ve business.
“You look at things, you analyze them say ‘God, if we had this player in there, if we would’ve called this play’, I mean who knows. We could’ve fumbled if we handed the ball off. You don’t know. It’s one of those things, if we would have scored we would all be very excited at 5-3, but now we’re 4-4 because we didn’t get in and we didn’t stop them in overtime. That’s all part of the business.”
What’s also good about this business is that you do a redo, another chance to redeem yourself. The Chargers can make amends for themselves and their fans with a win at home against the high-flying Broncos. Manning and the Broncos are in the NFL in passing per game and total yards.
On the flip side, the Chargers are ranked sixth and fourth in those respective categories. So expect a shootout. What the Chargers have to shore up is its 28th-rated defense in regards to surrendering in total yards. Then again, the way Manning has been playing lights out this season, it might not matter if Pittsburgh’s famed ‘Steel Curtain’ defense was standing in front of him.
“Having known Peyton Manning and the way he plays, he is very efficient,” McCoy said.”They have a good football team there. The 29 touchdowns he has and the things he is doing doesn’t surprise me one bit.”