Bizarre Victory for San Diego

Over the past few years, it had become a custom to watch the San Diego Chargers’ special teams choke games away. Whether those be Nate Kaeding missing every kick possible against the Jets, or allowing blocked punts and long returns, but for once they did nothing wrong and allowed the opposition to make the mistakes.

The San Diego offense was able to effectively move the ball, and Philip Rivers never put the ball in harms way. Rivers made several great throws on the run, which is uncommon to see from him. Rivers finished 24-33 with 231 yards passing and a touchdown to Malcom Floyd.


Photo by: Ric Tapia/Icon SMI

The Chargers heavily relied on Rivers arm. Without Matthews at running back San Diego struggled mightily running the ball.

With all the injuries that San Diego has sustained to the offensive line already, it was a pleasant surprise to see that they protected Rivers quite well. There were some leaks, but Rivers did a tremendous job moving around the pocket and delivering passes on the move. The undrafted rookie Mike Harris even played well, but no one was able to open any running lanes for the backs last night.

The San Diego defense played a bend, but don’t break defense last night, and were able to make the big stops when they needed too. They were able to put pressure on Carson Palmer, but their biggest aid were the multitude of mistakes that the Oakland offense and special teams made. One noticeable concern were the amount of comeback routes that Oakland ran with success last night.

Normally the long snapper is not the key to a football game in the NFL, but last night it sure was. Pro Bowl long snapper Jon Condo left the game for the Raiders, forcing Travis Goethel to fill in at the position. Goethel last long snapped in high school and that became quite apparent, when on his first snap he rolled one back to punter Shane Lechler, which set up a Chargers field goal. On his second attempt Lechler lined up closer to Goethel to make the snap easier, but the punt was blocked and set up another short field goal for San Diego.

Then in the fourth quarter, Oakland was forced to punt from the infield and Goethel snapped the ball short again on the infield  sand. This final bad snap was what really ended the game for the Raiders.

San Diego has had a notorious habit of starting seasons off slow, and finishing strong. Hopefully this will be the year where they play strong the entire year and make a deep push into the postseason. Norv Turner and AJ Smith’s jobs depend on it.

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