Oct 14, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews (24) runs for a short gain during the first half against the Indianapolis Colts at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Chargers vs Colts Let me start off by saying I was very impressed with how the defense played last night, regardless of all the dropped balls from the Colts. The offense played their game and kept Andrew Luck off of the field for most of the game. Here are the stats I found most telling of the game:
Ryan Mathews: 22 rush, 102 yards, 4.6 yard AVG
This was easily the best game of the year for Mathews. The Chargers established the run early with Ryan and were able to use Danny Woodhead as a change-of-pace back. Mathews started fast and finished faster, sealing the game with a huge 1st down run. This was also the season high in carries for Ryan. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come for Mathews, or at least that the coaching staff trusts him enough to play him more.
Keenan Allen: 9 catches, 107 yards, 1 TD
Allen is becoming Rivers’ new favorite target. Keenan Allen was the go-to-guy on short and deep passes, in the redzone and for 1st downs. Allen posted a career high 9 reception last night. Allen is getting a lot of love for having two great games back-to-back on Sunday and Monday Night Football. Hopefully he is deserving. It looks to me like he is because he can make tough catches and make plays after the catch.
Philip Rivers: 22-33, 237 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT
Philip Rivers played a great game last night. A lot of that is reflected in the stats, but just as much isn’t. He showed poise in the pocket and picked on the Colts secondary all night. Rivers avoided taking ill-advised chances, but was still able to complete a couple of 20+ yard throws. If he can do this every week, (and Allen continues to progress), the Chargers offense could be on a much faster track to success than we anticipated.
Nick Novak: 4-4 FG, 1-1 50+ yard FG
Novak was on last night. Maybe it was because he had 3 chip shots to get a rhythm, (more on that later) but nothing compares to a clutch kicker that can nail a 51-yarder to seal a game.
Derek Cox: 1 INT
Good to finally see a player in the secondary get an interception. Even if it was a tipped ball at the end of the game. Maybe the secondary will get some confidence after that play. Other than that, I wasn’t a fan of the way Cox played.
Nick Novak: 3-3 FG within 35 yards
This sin’t a knock on Novak. He played great. This is a knock on the redzone offense. Had the Colts not been dropping balls left and right, or if the defense hadn’t made a couple of the stops that they did, this game could have easily been a loss. The coaching staff needs to figure out a way to improve our redzone efficiency because this is not a recipe for long term success.
Antonio Gates: 4 catches, 8 targets, 28 yards
The few few passes in Gates’ direction were in the dirt. But after that, he had a minimal impact on this game. The Chargers aren’t even playing him on a good percentage of redzone plays. As I said, the redzone offense has been horrible, and maybe Gates’ absence is the reason. Let me know what you think in the comments or on twitter @kingofcahill