San Diego Chargers 1st Quarter of 2012 Review


September 16, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers cheerleaders perform during the game against the Tennessee Titans at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE

Now that the first four games of the 2012 season have been played, I’d like to take a moment to review the first quarter of the year.

The Chargers have bolted out to a 3-1 record while winning their first two divisional matchups in the process. Despite the fact that we have only played one serious threat, I’d like to point out that the Bolts are notorious for playing down to their competition. I feel comfortable stating that we all agree that has happened often in recent years.

To begin the season, the Chargers bested rival Oakland in a game that was aided by several miscues by the Raiders’ special teams. Despite the errors by the Raiders, the Chargers seemed to have the game in control for the majority of week one.

In Bolt-like fashion, the team managed to have a couple of injuries that were of note. Shareece Wright was injured on the first kickoff coverage play of the year. He has yet to return but is expected back in a week to ten days. It’s an obvious shame too because having an actual offseason proved to be very beneficial to Wright.

The second injury was to the thumb of Quentin Jammer. Although he has yet to miss any time, there is still a bit of concern about him having difficulty to get physical with wide receivers at the line.

In week two the Chargers had their home opener against the Tennessee Titans on what the team called a “WhiteHot Sunday.” A day which included the formal retiring of the number 55 worn by the late, great Junior Seau.

The Chargers put it on the Titans and brought their record to 2-0. While replacing Antonio Gates, who was a pre-game scratch, Dante Rosario proved that he was more than capable of being a threat in the Bolts’ offense.

My only major disappointment was the complacency in playcalling by Norv Turner in the second quarter of that game.

Now on to week three.

In what most of us called the first true test for the 2012 campaign, the Chargers faced the Atlanta Falcons and failed miserably. John Pagano called a Manusky-like game while running a cover two shell the majority of the game. This was done due to the multiple weapons on the Falcons’ offense. It is my opinion that you can not rush four defenders for 85% of the game and expect to end up with a different outcome than we did in week three.

I’ve been asked many times what I thought, if anything, came out of that game as being a positive. Well, the team managed to stay healthy. That would be about it.

In a week four contest at Arrowhead against Kansas City, the Chargers came out firing on all cylinders. The offense looked good while the defense played lights out.

Norv and company sent a serious message to Ryan Mathews by starting Jackie Battle in week four. Despite a pedestrian 2.6 yards per carry by Battle, the team was able to make the running game a small factor. Mathews finished off the game despite not starting.

The Bolts forced 6 turnovers and did what they should do against weaker competition. They won and they won handily.

Did I mention that Jared Gaither came back to play in that game? Gaither played very admirably considering he had tallied 3 practices in the last couple of months. It’s good to have him back despite a commendable effort by undrafted free agent Mike Harris in the first three weeks.

It’s also worth mentioning that Norv let off the gas in the third quarter. Norv’s complacent playcalling would have let a good team back in that game. The Chargers finished the 3rd quarter with 3 three and outs and -1 yards on offense. That is certainly not championship caliber football.

Although the only good team the Chargers have faced was the Falcons, starting 3-1 is, and should be, a good feeling for the organization and it’s fans.

The 3-1 record has come to be despite Philip Rivers not having even one 300 yard passing game.

With the first quarter of the regular season in the books, the team from America’s finest city won the games that they were supposed to win. The defense is becoming the strong point to what has been considered an offensive featured team in recent years.

The second quarter of the season is about to begin. And it begins on Sunday night against the 0-4 New Orleans Saints. Should be a very tough game despite the winless record of the team formerly nicknamed the Aints.

Side notes:

-Robert Meachem has yet to make a solid impact

-Rivers, especially in the Atlanta game, has made some throws that we all wish he could take back

-Corey Liuget is a beast

-Aubrayo Franklin is a vast improvement over both Garay and Thomas at nose tackle

-Atari Bigby has been solid despite a few dropped interception opportunities

-Richard Goodman has “tackled himself” as often as the opposing team has tackled him

-Nate Kaeding is hurt again but we lucked out to be able to have Nick Novak re-join the team

-Jeromey Clary plays well except for the four plays every single game when he does his best turnstyle impression

-The offense will be instantly improved when Vincent Brown comes back

-Jarret Johnson has not looked particularly good at all

-Ronnie Brown is simply a receiving back at this point in his career

-Nick Hardwick is solid as usual

-Antoine Cason and Quentin Jammer are not showing that they benefit from a seriously improved front seven

-Eric Weddle continues to be a ball hawking stud

-Malcom Floyd has managed to stay healthy and produce

-Melvin Ingram leads the team in “almost” plays (Thanks Jerome Watson for that one)

-Vaughn Martin continues to improve

-Donald Butler is one of the best inside linebackers in football

-Eddie Royal has yet to make a serious impact despite one touchdown catch

-Kendall Reyes is a stud and will only get better

-Jonas Mouton has been inactive every week

-The season has gotten off to a great start

What are some of your thoughts on the play of the team in the first quarter of 2012? Let me know in the comments section.

Thanks a lot for reading.