The Chargers received an early Christmas present this year: their third consecutive win. Bolts shut down the Baltimore Ravens 34-14 on Sunday in their last home game of the season. After both the Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders lost on Sunday, the Chargers (7-7) are tied for second in the AFC west with the Raiders under the division leading Broncos. But in the next couple weeks the Chargers face the Detroit Lions and Raiders on the road. The past three performances from the Chargers have been rewarding, and Sunday night’s game was absolutely phenomenal to help keep their playoff hopes alive. So what exactly did they do right to dethrone the playoff-bound Ravens?
- On-point Defense:
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco felt the pressure of San Diego’s defense. The defensive line was quick on their feet and stopped the Ravens any chance they got. The Bolts sacked Flacco seven times and caught two interceptions. SD inside linebacker Takeo Spikes caught the first interception in the third quarter, and which had resulted in Ryan Mathews running three yards up the middle for a touchdown. Outside linebacker Shaun Phillips picked off the second time, but San Diego’s failed efforts to score another TD forced kicker Nick Novak to attempt a 37-yard field goal. FG bounced off the right upright and was ruled no good. OLB Antwan Barnes played like a star Sunday night. Barnes has completed a total of eleven sacks this season, and four of them helped the Chargers receive that W against his former Ravens teammates.
- Philip Rivers quick to release:
It’s all about the quarterback stepping back into the pocket, thinking on his feet and executing the play. Rivers has been on top of his game for the past three match-ups. During Sunday’s game, Rivers had passed 270-yards for yet another 4,000-yard season. But the QB cannot execute his job without his team’s rushing and receiving leaders.
- Rushing leaders:
On SD’s opening drive, running back Mike Tolbert scored off of a 2-yard run. Tolbert had rushed 40 yards off of eight carries for his sole TD.
RB Ryan Mathews fed off Tolbert’s game-starting drive and scored two more TDs of his own as the game progressed. Mathews had 26 carries for a total of 90 yards.
- Receiving leaders:
During the lockout earlier this year, the Ravens were interested in wide receiver Malcom Floyd, but fortunately the Chargers re-signed him for another two years because this guy had a topnotch performance on Sunday night. Floyd had five receptions for 96 yards including a 28- yard Chargers TD at the start of the third quarter. Rivers set his radar on the WR throughout the entire game as Floyd dodged Ravens defense for deep and short passes every given opportunity. On the other hand, WR Vincent Jackson never ceases to perform each game, but Jackson’s three receptions and 84 yards do not match up to Floyd’s numbers.
The Chargers initially were the underdogs when going against the Ravens (10-4) even though Baltimore has lost 18 consecutive road games. But SD showed that they are not a force to be reckoned with. After winning three games in a row, the Chargers are not willing to give up another W. Our boys in blue did plenty of things right in Sunday night’s game, but now it is time to show their next two opponents that they are determined to leave with a victory.