Spanking The Miami Monkey
Nov 17, 2013; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; San Diego Chargers running backRyan Mathews
(24) stiff arms Miami Dolphins middle linebackerDannell Ellerbe
(59) during the second half at Sun Life Stadium. Miami won 20-16. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
I started to respond to Ernie’s “silver lining” post, but I realized I had much more to say than simply pointing out the good things that this team has accomplished this year. I will be giving my “bright side of things” statement. But, I also want to look ahead to what the Chargers have directly in front of them. The way that some people talk about the upcomig bye week, you would think that they have totally forgotten that the Chargers have another tough road game directly in front of them. However, let’s start with the silver lining.
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Beating 5 out of 6 of the first teams we played is the silver lining. We proved that we can shut out a bad team, which isn’t easy to do, and put up a ton of yards on a tough run defense. When Mathews, and D. Brown get back, we will see a huge boost in time of possession, and the run game.
We learned that we can go on the road, and win. Even if we lost in Denver… which isn’t a huge shock… that is important. We have already beaten Denver on their home turf, so it’s not like it can’t be done. It may come down to that in the playoffs, again. But, we can’t forget that we lost in Oakland last season, and we avoided that embarrassment this year (barely). Losing to the Chiefs at home, and Denver on the road is definitely not a good thing. But, If they rebounded by getting healthy, and going 4-2 in the division, those losses would not hold as much water.
Injury, fatigue, poor timing, and bad scheduling combined to make this (what I consider to be) the toughest part of the schedule. San Diego faced three divisional opponents back to back to back. The first two were coming off of bye weeks, and they had to face the best team in the AFC.. on the road… just days later…. with a skeleton crew. That’s some tough scheduling, if you ask me. Which is why I say it’s the toughest part.
We are staying in the games during losses . One or two less mental mistakes, and these three losses could have been wins. Arizona and KC beat us by a combined total of 4 points. I know they are still losses, but that’s not anything to be embarrassed about. Both of those teams are well coached and talented organizations. Denver was a little worse, but playing Manning in Denver without your two best CB’s, your starting running back(s), and numerous other starters.. well, you have one hand tied behind your back, to put it mildly.
The team also has some extra time to prepare for tough road game in Miami. This road trip has ALWAYS been a bugaboo for the Bolts. The Dolphins always find a way to beat us. We are going to their house, and a win here is crucial, so we can go into the bye week 6-3. It would get that Miami Monkey off of our back, would give us another road win, and give us a 5-2 conference record heading into the bye week. That’s all kinds of good in the long run, and will give us a pretty good advantage if it comes down to tie breakers… which it very well could. Mentally, a win next Sunday would give this team a much needed confidence boost heading into the bye week. A loss would probably sit in their stomachs heavily. Personally, I would have a little bit more trouble relaxing, with a three game losing streak still on my mind.
We saw last year that this team is resilient, and plays some really great football heading into the final weeks of the season. They always seem to wake up suddenly, as we have seen in years past. Aside from that last game against KC, where they won by the skin of their teeth, this team kept fighting, and played impressively down the stretch.
Weddle said it best last year. He kept preaching to only worry about what you can control, which is the game you are playing that week. Miami, the Steelers, and the Ravens did not take care of business. The Chargers did, whether people think the Steelers were robbed, or we got lucky against KC. The moral to that story is that even if the Chargers caught a break, they kept the games close enough to take advantage of the miscues of officiating. Lord knows we have fallen victim to those same bad calls over the years. In fact. I can honestly say it has been extremely lopsided in the “catching a break” department. Just look at the officiating this week… deplorable.
These players need to reach deep within themselves, and find a way to keep that rushing attack at bay, keep Cameron Wake away from Rivers, keep Tannehill from looking like Russell Wilson, and the ball away from Brent Grime’s sticky little hands. This is not an easy task, as this team has been pretty bad with execution & tackling these last three weeks. But, the buck stops here. Time to shake it off, after having a few extra days to re-energize.
A loss next week wouldn’t be devastating, but it would force this team into having to play impeccable football against some really good teams ahead. That’s when this team seems to come alive… at the end. But, it would be nice if they could be in control of, and have secured, their own playoff destiny by week sixteen… for once.
Keep Bolting Toward Excellence!