Mid-Season Report


NFL: Indianapolis Colts at San Diego Chargers

 

The Chargers are in third place in the AFC West division in the NFL with a 4-4 record. They are behind the Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos who hold the first and second spot. Those two teams are arguably the best teams in the NFL at this point in the season. You could also argue that the Chargers are playing in the best division the NFL has to offer thus far in the season.

Lets take a look at just how good this division has been this year. The front-runner of the division thus far has been the Kansas City Chiefs, who have a record of 9-0 (who saw that coming?). The Broncos were also undefeated up until week 7 where a loss against the Indianapolis Colts placed them second in the AFC West with a 7-1 record. Then the Chargers with their 4-4 record sets them at number 3, with the Oakland Raiders at the number 4 spot with 3-5 record. Not a lot of divisions this year have been as successful as this one.

The NFC West is the only division that has put up a good fight for the title of “The Best Division in the National Football League.”

The NFC West has these teams ranked in the following order: Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers, St. Louis Rams, Arizona Cardinals. Who have records of 8-1, 6-2, 4-4, 3-6.

The story so far this year for the Chargers is closing out ball games. We’ve seen that three out of the four losses have been a result of being outscored in the second half. Where against Houston in the second half they were outscored 24-7 and against the Tennessee Titans they were outscored 10-7 in the second half. This past weekend against the Washington Redskins, the Chargers had a 14-7 lead going into halftime. In the second half of the game the Redskins not only tie the game back up, they force overtime and go on to win the game with a one yard go ahead touchdown.

If the Chargers were to close out those games, they could easily have a 7-1 record at this point. In fact, if they had not of had a slow start against the Raiders in Week 5, the Chargers could very well be tied for first with the Chiefs at 8-0. The power of “IF” has been shown throughout this season for the Chargers.

What did Mike McCoy tell Philip Rivers and Ryan Matthews that effected them this much?

All off-season long, everyone was ranting about how Philip Rivers and Ryan Matthews aren’t as good as they once were (everyone including myself). That hasn’t been the case so far this season.

Here are some statistics from this season to show just how good the Chargers are compared to last year.

The Chargers are currently ranked fourth in the league averaging 402.9 total yards per game. They are sixth in the league averaging 294.1 yards passing per game and currently fifteenth in rushing with 108.7 yards per game. The Chargers are currently averaging around 24 points per game.

Philip Rivers is having a All-Star year. His offensive line has only allowed twelve sacks and Philip has only thrown seven interceptions in eight weeks of play. His complete stats go as follows. Passing Yards: 2,473, Passing TD’s: 17, INT’s: 7, completing 72.2% of his passes also accumulating a 106.5 QB rating.

Ryan Matthews is having one of the better years of his short career as well. His stats are 480 rushing yards on 117 rushes with one touchdown. He also has had one fumble resulting in a lost fumble. Ryan is averaging 4.1 yards per carry.

Keenan Allen (right) had 128 receiving yards and a touchdown during Sunday's loss to the Redskins.

Keenan Allen (right) had 128 receiving yards and a touchdown during Sunday’s loss to the Redskins.

This year has also been a breakout year for rookie wide receiver Keenan Allen. Coming in to this years NFL draft, the big question surrounding Allen was.. Can he stay healthy to play a full sixteen game NFL season? During his college years with the University of California he had multiple knee injuries. Due to that reason, many NFL scouts and coaches were uneasy about taking a chance at drafting him. Causing him to fall to the third round of the draft. They all knew he has all the receiver qualities to be good at the next level and that he has a tremendous amount of talent. The Chargers were smart enough to look past his injuries and draft him.

He has done everything to become the steal of this years NFL Draft. He has emerged as one of Philip Rivers favorite targets and is arguably Philip’s go-to-guy along side Antonio Gates.

As for the Chargers defense, according to NFL.com they are ranked No. 28 overall in total defense. They are currently ranked No. 24 in run defense allowing 118.4 yards per game and No. 27 in passing defense allowing 275.4 passing yards per game.

One of the main reasons why they are struggling defensively this year is because they don’t have any big players who can make big time plays on defense. They have a young secondary with little talent and little experience. Eric Weddle and Derek Cox are the most experienced players in the secondary. Eric Weddle is one of the teams captains. Their pass rush has little success getting to the quarterback and with Dwight Freeney on the Injured Reserve list it makes things even tougher for this defense. They are ranked No.21 in the NFL in sacks with twenty.

If there is one area where the team needs to improve it is on the defensive side.

The coaching staff needs to right the ship sometime before its too late. The Chargers are in the hunt for a playoff berth this year with the ninth seed in the AFC. They could make the playoffs for the first time in three seasons (and if they are able to) that would make three out of the four teams in the AFC West in the playoffs.

The Chargers schedule is not the easiest for the remainder of the year either. They play the Broncos twice and the Chiefs twice. They will have to bring their A+ game to win all four of those games. They all play a very sound Cincinnati Bengals team in Week 13.

They are very capable of doing it. Their victories over the Indianapolis Colts and the Dallas Cowboys are just two examples and both of those teams are very good teams that are most likely going to make the playoffs.

Will the Chargers make the adjustments to end the season on a high note by making the playoffs? Or will they continue to let games slip away in the third and fourth quarter and go four straight years without a playoff berth? Only time will tell.

 

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