Jan 5, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) runs while being pressured by San Diego Chargers outside linebacker Melvin Ingram (54) during the second quarter during the AFC wild card playoff football game at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

The T-Rex Has Awakened


As we all know, in OTA’s, Melvin Ingram received the bad news that he had torn his ACL during practice. This was awful news for Charger fans, as the team was counting on him to be our #1 pass rusher. The signing of Dwight Freeney helped to soften the blow, and Freeney was playing at a very high level. Then we received even more bad news. Dwight Freeney also went down with a torn pectoral muscle early in the season. He was placed on IR, leaving Larry English to fill in. But, then Larry English suffered a knee injury, and was put on season-ending IR. Jarret Johnson was the only veteran to stay somewhat healthy, and even he sat out a couple games with a hand injury. This was after he started out the season hot, and was showing major improvements in his pass rush game. This left Thomas Keiser, Tourek Williams, Reggie Walker, and whatever healthy player they could find to throw in there to apply pressure on the quarterback. Early injuries to Manti Te’O, and Donald Butler only exacerbated the situation.

To say that we have had major health issues with our linebacking corps, would be a gross understatement. It was bad luck, after bad luck. The back-ups filled in admirably, and did their best. But, having even just one or two of these guys healthy for the entire year would probably have made a huge difference. I will concede that, if Freeney stays in 2014, I am happy that we were able to go out and get a player of his caliber. Had Ingram not gone down, we would never have brought in a veteran like him, who could show some of these younger guys how to get to the quarterback. An Ingram / Freeney one-two punch would be a beautiful thing next year, and allow us to focus on other positions in the draft. Especially now that the guys behind them have gotten more playing time, and our depth should be improved at the position. However, this season, having an anemic pass rush didn’t help our cornerbacks, which were already struggling. We may have one a game or two more, had it not unfolded the way it did.

When they put Ingram on the IR with designation to return, it raised some eyebrows. Technically he could make it back by the end of the season, but I think we all thought it was a long shot. The Chargers organization did not think that way, and it paid off. From the beginning, there were reports, tweets, and rumblings that Melvin had committed to returning before the end of the season. Up until that point, most people (including myself) thought that he would not be back this season. The coaching staff had been very conservative with strong safety Brandon Taylor, and wouldn’t put him on the field, despite the fact that we had no real answer at strong safety at the time. He had suffered his torn ACL months before Ingram. The Chargers had been very tight-lipped about Taylor’s injury, and didn’t share that he had reinjured his knee until late in the season. So, in the eyes of the fans, it seemed unlikely that Ingram could return this year. A lot of fans were of the belief that it would be a terrible idea to put him back on the field, and that we should rest him for next year. Even if he had a quick rehabilitation, it would be a miracle if he could play after 6 months. It would be an even bigger miracle for the “play it safe” Chargers coaches to put him on the field, and possibly risk losing him to injury for another season.

Well, miracles happen. Melvin Ingram had one of the fastest recoveries I have ever seen a football player have. The ultra-conservative Charger staff shocked us all, activated Ingram for the New York Giants home game, and started to ease him into the lineup. He was a little bit rusty, as expected. But, he started getting in the mix immediately, and had an instrumental pressure from behind, almost forcing an Eli Manning fumble. Ironically, this was when our defense, which had been somewhat shaky before this game, suddenly put their most complete game together. Since then, they haven’t looked back.

The return of Melvin Ingram seems to have motivated this defense in a major way. It isn’t even something you can put on paper, or point to stats, or examples. I realize that there have been other changes on the defense, as well. Butler is healthy again, Cox has been replaced by Marshall, Te’O is getting up to speed, Addae is playing great at strong safety, Gilchrist is playing his usual nickel corner position wonderfully, and Lissemore has raised Cam Thomas’ game. But, I can’t shake the feeling that when Ingram returned, this defense got a much needed shot in the arm.

Last weekend, it was an absolute pleasure to watch Ingram play. He was pressuring Andy Dalton all day, and was a big reason that we beat the Bengals. On one play, he came around the corner, and put a punishing blind-side hit on Dalton. Somehow, Dalton managed to get the pass off a nanosecond before Ingram could lay the wood to him, but he never looked right after that play. Andy Dalton threw multiple interceptions in that game, and Melvin Ingram came up with one of them. Ingram’s sack numbers weren’t through the roof in his rookie season, but he was constantly in the backfield, forcing quarterbacks off of their mark. The Cincinnati game was no different, and Melvin seems to have taken it up another notch, even after coming off of a major injury.

You know who else gets frazzled after taking a blind-side hit? Peyton Manning. Earlier this year, Manning went back home to face his old team, the Indianapolis Colts. The key turning point in the game was a blind-side strip sack by ex-teammate Robert Mathis, which resulted in a safety. After that play, Peyton Manning’s numbers plummeted, and they ended up losing the game in shocking fashion. If Melvin Ingram can do the same thing that he did to Dalton this Sunday, the Chargers will have a considerable advantage. Denver has absolutely loaded their offensive line, trying to protect Manning, as he has had 4 neck surgeries, and is not a mobile QB. Everyone knows that one of the keys to getting to Peyton Manning, is to sack him. After seeing what I saw last weekend, I have no doubt in my mind that SuperMel can do exactly that.

The Chargers have been extremely successful against Peyton Manning over the years, when he was in Indianapolis. Since he has been in Denver, he has beaten the Chargers 3 out of 4 times. But, two of those were from last year, under Norv Turner. This new & improved 2013 team lost a close one the first time they played Denver, mainly because they were riddled by injuries, and were still getting their legs underneath them. Then they went into Denver in week 15, and showed the Broncos that they would have to play a lot better if they want to reign over the AFC West. The Chargers will soon be en route to Mile High Stadium, to face the Broncos again. This time it’s for all the chips. The San Diego Chargers will be ready to show Manning & the Broncos that they are the bullies of the block, and Melvin Ingram is going to be at the front of the line to punch them in the mouth. Manning will likely be hearing the pitter-patter of feet behind him all night. He will be feeling Ingram’s breath constantly snorting on his neck. He will be making quick decisions, while feeling the ghost sack coming.

Ladies, and gentlemen… The T-Rex has awakened.

 

Keep Bolting Toward Excellence!

Peter Thompson

 

 

Tags: Featured Melvin Ingram Popular San Diego Chargers

  • Cgoodness13

    Da dun da dun, da na neh neh neh neh, da da duh den neh neeeh

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

      True.. True.

  • davacho

    “The return of Melvin Ingram seems to have motivated this defense in a major way. It isn’t even something you can put on paper, or point to stats, or examples.”

    my thoughts exactly. well said, peter.

  • PakMaN

    Chargers D plays really well against normal QBs. We are really bad against mobile QBs. Therefore, I am confident our D can play at a high level. I also believe the Broncos have taken too much time off.

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

      Well, they DID return from their bye week OK this season, and beat us at home. But, last year in the playoffs they were one and done, and lost to the Ravens…. who had been battling it out from the wild-card spot. I think this is going to be a great game either way. The fans were 48% to 52% in favor of Denver winning on the “Tweet Off” on NFL Total Access last night. That has to be the first time I have seen the fans give us that high of a win percentage against a good opponent all year.

      • DXW

        You do know that 48% to 52% thing was just a number they tossed out there, don’t you? The NFL network didn’t actually count all the tweets in real time.

        The NFL network exists to promote games, that’s all. Those commentators are told which side to fall on in every game because the NFL wants to maximize the hype and get a narrative started. They are not journalists. They aren’t sports reporters. They are ex-players who are trying to put their Communication degrees to work, and hopefully climb the ladder to being Sunday commentators for the big networks. They say what they’re told to say.

        Obviously the narrative for this game is that SD somehow has Manning’s number, and they’re basing it on one thursday night game. They don’t mention the other three games Manning has won since being in Denver because that’s not relevant, but they do mention the games he’s lost to SD as a Colt (back when SD was actually good) because for some reason those play a role in Sunday’s game. No one mentions how incredibly lopsided the first SD/Denver game was this year, or how Denver eased up in the second half because they’d already put the game away, nor do they mention that despite SD’s dominance in the second game it still came down to an onside kick. Another thing they sure as hell don’t mention is the Broncos obsession with this game all year, and how every player on the team has been waiting for this one game, not the AFC Championship, not the Super Bowl… this game, because that doesn’t support their narrative that this game is going to be close, and you all better watch or you’ll miss it… And while you’re at it, buy the new SD or Bronco jerseys.

        It makes sense from a business standpoint. If they all came out and said, “Yep, it’s going to be a blowout.” They lose the opportunity to build the team’s fan bases through wishful thinking, pull in more viewers on Sunday, fill the seats in the stadiums, and sell merch to fans. So, they tilt the game the other way and now all we hear is how SD is going to beat the Broncos, yet when it comes time to make picks, the overwhelming majority of these clowns pick Denver to win.

        It’s ridiculous.

        The bottom line is that the Chargers and the Broncos are just another product being marketed to the masses to make to make old rich white men richer, and the NFL Network is a means to that end.

        Who will win on Sunday?

        The NFL’s answer: Who cares.

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

          Really? The NFL is selling a product, and skews opinions & stats for their own benefit? Thank you Captain Obvious!
          The irony, is that you.. and probably every other Broncos fan… have gladly enjoyed the same stats all year, when they show your team with a major advantage. The second somebody suggests that a team (that beat you at home just over a month ago) might be evenly matched.. you stomp your snobby little feet, and say that they have ulterior motives! Talk about last year all you want. This is a new team from head to toe. Norv was awful, and couldn’t get the job done last season. He is gone. Mike McCoy can, and has already gotten the job done. It’s a new season, and both teams are even at this point. You can pretend that this team isn’t good, and that the last game “didn’t mean anything to the Broncos” all you want. That is a cop out, and everyone here knows it. Perhaps if Manning-led teams had more post-season victories, or that you weren’t taken out last year in the divisional round, by a team Broncos fans were dismissing as “never having a chance”, the “narrative” you speak of would be different. But, it’s not… so suck it up, and go prepare to watch the Broncos “easily beat the Chargers” this weekend. Pray that it is not a repeat of last year. I know you will be ; )

          • Stefanie Smith

            He ought to worry less about the Broncos and take something to ease his constipation.

          • DXW

            Aww, aren’t you cute.

          • DXW

            Evenly matched?

            HA! That’s hilarious.

            This season has already been so much fun with being able to watch Chief’s fans puff out their chests and talk about how KC was going to steamroll Denver… (You remember the Chiefs right? You probably do, since SD struggled to beat their 2nd string players), and now SD fans get to experience the same thing.

            I’m actually shocked anyone in SD cares. Whenever Denver plays out there the stadium turns orange. Talk about fickle fans, but I guess everyone loves a winner. Doesn’t take much to get SD “fans” to change teams.

            BTW, how many Super Bowls has SD won?

          • Gunnar Martin

            This season has already been so much fun with being able to watch Bronco fans puff out their chests and talk about how Denver was going to steamroll SD on Thursday night. (You remember what happened then right? You probably do, since you guys got completely embarrassed on national television by an “average” division rival)

            Look, I get that you’re trying to support your team in what is a crucial postseason game coming up, and I don’t reject that. Trash talk is an awesome, healthy thing for football fans. Just don’t forget to come back and post here after we eliminate you and your so-called invincible team from further competing for the Super Bowl title.

          • DXW

            Oh, come on… At least try to be original. Why plagiarize? Why not come up with something on your own? But more than that, why plagiarize my post and use an example from a meaningless Thursday night game? Oh wait, it wasn’t meaningless for SD. I forgot.

            Well, it’s interesting you’ve decided to hang your hat on such a low bar. I guess I can see why you’d want to brag about the one game SD has won of the four they’ve played against Manning, but you have to admit it’s pretty sad.

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

            Seriously tho… nobody cares what you think in here, and I am not going to read another booooorrrriiiiinnnnggggg 20 paragraph post from somebody who is only here to be a total dick. It appears that you have already formulated your own opinion about the Chargers, the Chiefs, and anyone else who isn’t gagging on Peyton Manning’s cock, with watery eyes. This is a Charger site. It’s public, so I am not going to act like you can’t come on here, and say your piece. However, you have said your piece, so get out. Go back to your lair, to snicker with all of the other mindless “expert level” World Of Warcraft internet trolls. Not sure why you are spending so much time on another team’s site, throwing stones at their commenters for being excited about their team, and acting like you are the only person in the world who has a valid opinion about football.

            BTW, I have seen you say that you were “done here”, and “we’ll see what’s up on Sunday” over the last week… yet you are still here, and back again. Which let’s me know exactly who you are, and what you stand for. I am done wasting time on you. Mainly because the last guy who came in here acting like a total D-Bag like you, ended up being a 23 year old, 120 lb, 5′ 9″ nerd loser from Miami, who lived with his grandma. His Facebook profile told a different story than his posts, and you probably aren’t very far off of that mark. Deuces.

          • DXW

            I can’t wait for your next badly written, amateur article, but only because it’ll be full of excuses as to why the Chargers got their asses handed to them in Denver.

            Look at you… you finally have someone waiting to read something you wrote.

            I bet this is a special day for you.

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

            Fansided pays me by the page hit, and the comment… knock yourself out.. bring your friends.. re-post the articles even!!! ; )

          • DXW

            I’ll bring ten friends. You can take that dollar you earn and buy a new Bic pen.

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

            It must be getting late in muletown.. isn’t it time for you to go to bed, son? Go put your jammies on, & say your prayers. I think I hear your momma callin’.. remember to unbutton the flap so you don’t crap yourself, champ ; )

          • ChargerOmar13

            This coming from the same guy who said we were going to get embarrassed by the bangels last week.

          • DXW

            Yeah, I greatly overestimated how much the Bengals suck. Obviously they’re a worse team than the Chief’s 2nd stringers.

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

            Glad someone else is paying attention to this guy’s delusional assessment of football. I thought I was the only one cracking up at his backpedaling. He keeps talking about everyone making excuses, but he has one for every day of the week.. lol.

          • tubbs45

            Classic commentary from a loser that clearly nothing better to do than troll other team sites. We made you a special sign:

            http://i1199.photobucket.com/albums/aa478/ElAmorMata/fuck.gif

        • Stefanie Smith

          With these tweets, the computer counts them. Not that I care and no, no person manually counted them. You take the total and a basic math calculation on one side or the other gives you the percentage. Why would that be a controversial matter for you? Yes, they can give percentages on TV and no they don’t need to manually count them. Computers do it and calculate statistics and percentages from that. I am surprised you find that stupendous or undoable. You seem to know everything or think you do.

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

            Thanks for the backup, Stef. You’re a real Mensch!

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

    Lol.. sorry for all of the typos in this first draft. I was rushing to get it out for the Fansided email, which usually goes out at 9:30 . It should be MOSTLY OK now. Too funny…. I originally put the “2103 Chargers”… woo-hoo!!! Future Chargers!

  • Ignatius

    I couldn’t said it any better if I had 1000 years to write it. Wonderfully written, love it!

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

      Thanks Mang… I have been in a writer’s drought, and I was feeling inspired.

  • tubbs45

    T-Rex Hungry… manning burgers on the menu

  • 619chargers4life

    Would

    • 619chargers4life

      Lol I would love to see Mel have a coming out sack party this game

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

        You best believe it… these Donkey fans can talk their smack, but you and I both know how loose this team is, and our loose our fans are. No pressure Denver. . If we lose, it’s already been a successful year, realistically… if they lose… by their own timeline. .. Peyton has a one year window to win Denver another Superbowl. After Sunday, it will be one.

        • 619chargers4life

          There is so much pressure on Payton. He won’t let us down . He will choke again like he always does .

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

            His neck can’t handle the truth!!!! I’m calling a game ending sack on Manning. Ingram should work on a T-Rex sack celebration. . Lmao!