Jul 26, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers head coach Mike McCoy and quarterback Philip Rivers (17) during training camp at Chargers Park. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

If The Season Ended Today…


Well, it’s time to use that incredibly homer-ish phrase “If the season ended today…”. This is a phrase that implies that if the football world suddenly decided to start the playoffs today, because an asteroid was going to hit the earth in a month & a half… that “these teams” would make the playoffs. This is something you wouldn’t usually catch me muttering under my breath, let alone writing an article about it. But, I feel that there are a few reasons why we can say it, and not feel like one of those people who are automatically claiming that their 4-3 team is a Super Bowl contender 7 weeks in. Let me explain.

The truth is that if the season ended today, the Broncos (who were supposed to take the division unchallenged) and… hold onto your hats… THE CHARGERS would have the wild-card spots. Yes, you heard me right. We are currently one of the 6 top teams in the AFC. I know what you are thinking. “Yeah, who cares? There is a lot of football to be played”… And, you would be completely right. However, there were a lot of people out there who had predicted that we would be 2-5 by now. They said that we wouldn’t win 6 games this season. While there is always an outside chance that we could lose 7 out of the next nine games, I am going to go out on a limb and say that we just aren’t that bad. For this reason alone, I will say that this topic is worth bringing up.

Another reason, is because the AFC West has long been considered the weakest division in football. As it stands, (and I will try not to throw up in my mouth as I write this) the Kansas City Chiefs are the only undefeated team in the league. The Denver Broncos, who were considered the best team in the league, are in a close second place with one loss. And, our beloved San Diego Chargers are right on Denver’s heels in third place. This makes our division, across the board, the toughest division in football. How did that happen? While I don’t have any love for the two teams ahead of us in the division, it’s SO NICE that the AFC West is no longer the laughing stock of the NFL. We went from teams licking their chops to play our division, to teams being somewhat frightened to play the West. Even the Raiders are much better than predicted.

It appears that the level of respect for our team rising, whether “experts & pundits” like it or not. It makes me beam with joy when they all circle the Indianapolis Colts to come in and beat us on Monday Night in our own house. Following the loss, they are forced to eat a bunch of crow, when we send the Colts packing without a touchdown. Then, the Colts go and take down their “sweetheart team” the very next weekend! Their rationale is suddenly that “The Colts might be the best team in football for beating Denver”. But, sooner or later, they will have to come to terms with the fact that the Chargers didn’t even let Andrew luck sniff the end-zone.

So, does that mean WE are the best team in football? I know that isn’t a very logical argument, but neither are theirs. To top it off, it’s a beautiful thing when long-time Charger haters like Warren Sapp & Michael Irvin are backtracking on their picks & statements. Sapp picking the Jags, and then changing his mind ten minutes before kick-off, shows you that he can’t ignore our team for much longer.. but, he probably will. He will just be wrong from now on.

The best part of all of this is that we are a hobbled team, going into a bye week. Despite starter after starter going to the IR list, like it was a turn-style, Mike McCoy & Company have done an excellent job plugging in players, and being as prepared as possible. Has it always been pretty? No it hasn’t. But, going into the season, popular belief was that we had the worst depth in the league, and that our starters would have to remain healthy for us to contend. Well, we have consistently had average players (at best) holding down key positions, and still have managed to be one of the six best teams in the AFC. This is where you can give credit to the system that McCoy & staff have employed thus far. This never would have happened under Norv Turner.

So, say what you want about the Chargers. There are still 9 games to play, and we could fall off of the face of the earth, following the bye week. But, I didn’t think that all 3 AFC West teams would already be in the playoff picture today. It’s great to see our defense suddenly coming on strong, in the face of extreme adversity. Our O-Line is plugging in guys off the street, and still giving Rivers protection and giving Mathews & Woodhead rushing lanes. We seem to have a player nominated for some award every week. Philip Rivers is a top 5 QB, and leading this team just like the old days. Hopefully, he can keep this level of play up, and some of the “trade Rivers” talk will subside.

We have a lot of things to be proud about, so far, this season. When (and if) this team can get completely healthy, they will be running with the best of them. They are pretty much running with them right now. There is a chance we can still make the playoffs. But… playoffs, or not… I am happy with the changes that were made, and proud to wear my jersey on the street. Quite honestly, I was always proud to wear it.

Keep Bolting Toward Excellence!

Peter Thompson

 

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  • Tazzster

    Great Article Pete!

    But while it is obvious that the Chargers are the best team in the AFC because they beat the Colts, who beat the Seahawks, the 49ers and the Broncos, you have overlooked a serious fact….

    And that is that Miami also beat the Colts, but furthermore, Miami was beaten by Baltimore, who was beaten by Pittsburgh, who was beaten by the Minnesota Vikings! So, it is abundantly clear that the Vikings are by far the best team in the NFC.

    Stop the season today the next 9 are not necessary. Chargers and Vikings in the Super Bowl!

    …. or maybe we should play it out ….

    …. any given Sunday….

    • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

      Lol, you hit it right on the head, Tazzler. That was exactly my point, and I was being a little sarcastic. That’s why I pointed out that it is illogical. It just cracks me up that the Colts are now being talked about as the best team in the league, because they beat the Denver Broncos.

      • Tazzster

        I think a lot of people are quick to jump to conclusions. A lot of us want to look at one team and say, “they suck!” or “they’re awesome!”.

        The reality is that all the teams in the NFL are pretty close in talent. And we forget how much good coaching, player development and timely play calling all lead to victories or losses.

        As a case study. The Chargers only needed one more play in their game against Houston or Tennessee to pull out a victory. We are literally 2 plays away from being 6-1. However the truth is we are 4-3. So, what is the difference between being 6-1 and 4-3…. two plays.

        I don’t think the Chargers are an anomaly in this case either. I think there are a lot of teams that could be just a couple of plays away from a few more victories.

        As a second point, look at the Raiders game. We sucked that night. We turned the ball over 5 times, we gave up big plays on defense…. it was a poor performance. Does it mean our ‘team sucks’? Or does it mean we had a bad night? Because there is a big difference there.
        The game is a bit cruel in this aspect. If you lose by one play you get an L. Its the same as if you were blown out by 42 points. There is no partial credit. Stats do not matter. Ws and Ls is all they count at the end of the season.
        Its a little of the same thing when you compare offenses and defenses. You can compare the total yard stats all you want but there is only two stats that matter. Points scored and points allowed, becasue those are the only two stats that matter when figuring out who gets the L and who gets the W.

  • TheReturnOfMrBlanks

    We are even getting respect on Bleacher Report and those nerds hate us with a passion, NFL’s power rankings today have us #11 ahead of the Lions/Ravens/Bears…….That is respect right there and the dude wrote “Phillip Rivers is comeback player of the year, Period.”

    Can’t wait to play Washington!

    • tubbs45

      Washington will be an interesting test. Contain RG III and keep him off the field. Their Defense is swiss cheese, but they can pass rush.

    • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

      I’m actually going to write an article on the power rankings later today, or tomorrow. I wrote one last week about how we might break the top ten.. we fell a little short, but still.. that’s pretty decent. Also, I know that some people might be skeptical about us beating Denver.. or even KC.. but, at least we control our destiny right now, as we play them both pretty quick here. Winning the division, amazingly, isn’t out of the question despite the records of those two teams.

  • tubbs45

    Good read my man!
    Thank the lord the season ain’t over. Love my football Sundays!!! There is so much instability in the NFL this year. I am waiting for the collapse of the Chiefs and it seem Denvers Kryptonite has been found. Blitz the shit out of man and have 4 CBs the can abuse the receivers (way easier said than done). We need this Bye week to get healthy and possibly make a move or two to solidify the OL and Secondary.

    http://i1276.photobucket.com/albums/y462/staffpicks/Animated_GIFs/kitty-4.gif

    • TheReturnOfMrBlanks

      We need to pickup a decent CB from a bottom of the barrel team or retired Whitfield so we can do that, I’m all in favor of getting rid of Johnny Patrick, he was part of the worst secondary in NFL history last year not sure why we thought he would get better.

      Also having the Broncos & Chiefs still having to play each other 2 times (2 loses either way right there) plus our 4 Huge games against both could even everything out AND KC’s schedule from ths point on is tough and there easy path is long behind them. One thing they have been really lucky with is injuries and that is bound to change at some point.

      • TheReturnOfMrBlanks

        Crap KC plays the Browns & Bills next two games that could be a easy 9-0 lol

        • tubbs45

          LOL I was just about to write that. Maybe Norv will help … nah the brown suck and ball-sack neck wouldnt do SD any favors.

          • TheReturnOfMrBlanks

            Norv needs to have his 1 brilliant game that he saves for once a year to let it all fly against KC, only problem is Weeden is their QB and that’s a big problem.

          • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

            He knows the KC Chiefs pretty well, though… even put up a TON of points on them last year ; )

      • tubbs45

        Wright played pretty good (not great) in Man coverage last game. But Patrick has been pretty bad. Maybe we trade the Browns for Hayden and McFadden for CBJ and a pick. Just kidding I know that will never happen!

    • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

      I kind of expected some instability with all the teams that got new head coaches, and other teams who are essentially rebuilding. Injuries are rampant this season too… kind of even’s the playing field a little.

  • 619chargers4life

    Excellent read ! Way to break it down . Just awesome !

    • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

      Thanks. Figured it’s about time we put a positive spin on this season. Some people were SO ready to tear it down, before it even happened. Now look…. Rivers & The Chargers are doing pretty darn good. Even if it is short-lived… we can be happy about it for five minutes. Especially now that Norv & AJ are gone. I don’t have that “inevitable break-down” feeling in my stomach like I used to. McCoy has done a good job of changing that, so far. If we can keep winning for the next part of the schedule… we could go into December with a lot of momentum. December is Philip River’s month!!!! I looked it up.. he technically owns the rights to December ; )

  • Stefanie Smith

    I saw this locker room “after the game” bit with the Chargers and you can see the camaraderie and loyalty to McCoy. He is a good coach AND he really likes Rivers–giving him the game ball from the Jags’ game.

    They are a good bunch. He set up goals for them like “Let’s see if we can win two in a row”; “no interceptions”, etc etc. He gave goals to all of them–Matthews, etc. They are ALL producing. It’s contagious. Success breeds more success.

    He really has been a Godsend to the Chargers. Every guy is trying. That is all we can ask for. They are playing inspired.

  • CALiFORNiAkiD

    I predicted we’d be 5-2 before the bye.
    Which makes the Texans, Titans and Raiders loses that much more frustrating for me.
    We should have won one of those games.

    But I said before the season the month of November will either make or break this team.
    @WAS – DEN – @MIA – @KC

    Will see how we do.

  • Thomas

    Can you. Imagine what our team would be like with all of our starters healthy.. Including DX Floyd Ingram …

    • I_Bleed_Powder_Blue_801

      yes, we’d all be blowing our load bc they would kick some serious booty…

  • joe

    Really, this site needs a copy editor. Is there some way I can email you without making the typos public?

  • Michael

    Great article Peter, I’m gonna need many more of these articles by you and Arnie and the other guys, to pass the time until the chargers get back. After they dismantle the RG3′s in Washington, bring on the Donkos, and the rest,,,,,, GO BOLTS!!!!!

    • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

      Thanks Michael! We’ll keep em’ coming.

  • arnie

    Not bad for a team with no O-line, a washed QB, and fumbling RB.

    • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

      And a bunch of inexperienced “average” WR’s ; )

      • arnie

        I’m just keepin’ it real Peter. I got those quotes from the “pundits” on the NFL AM podcast show. They did breakdown of each division and gave ther predictions of the teams. The best was 8-8, worst? 3-13, because they had no O-line. Mr. 6-10 stated Rivers was done. And the wise 7-9 said Mathews and Woodhead were non-factors.
        Most would say those are “realistic expectations”. I would not argue with that. However another interpretation would be keeping your hopes low, so the disappointment won’t hurt as much.
        As far I’m concerned, they are better that last seasons team.

        • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

          It would appear so. I said 8-8 would be a success in my eyes, but stayed away from making a solid prediction of any kind. I just wanted to see improvement, which I most certainly have seen.

          • arnie

            It’s amazing how we are on the same page. LOL But i went ahead and jumped on 10 wins anyway. LOL