On Friday evening, responding to NBC San Diego, Derek Togerson, I tweeted the following:
— Peter F. (@PickinBolts) November 26, 2016
When the Chargers signed Brandon Mebane away from Seattle, I immediately recognized the run-stopping dimension he would add to the Chargers defense. I was not/am not surprised that they have improved dramatically from last season’s 125.3 rushing yards per game to 87.4 this season. So when Mebane was lost for the season, I assumed the Chargers run defense would start sliding back towards its 2015 form. Now to be fair, the Chargers did allow 114 yards on 27 carries to the Texans, but they held Houston’s feature back, Lamar Miller, to 57 yards on 19 carries.
I was pleasantly surprised, and needed to eat some crow after the Chargers were able to shut down the Texans running game. However, Brock Osweiler, the Texans QB, doesn’t do much to scare opposing defenses. It will be interesting to see how Tampa Bay attacks the Chargers defense. The Buccaneers are not as proficient as Houston running the ball, but they have a better QB in Jameis Winston.
Another key offseason free agent signee was Casey Hayward. He was penalized for pass interference near the goal line on what may have been a bad call, but he picked up (or picked off) his league-leading 6th interception and was solid throughout the game. Chargers GM Tom Telesco’s 2016 offseason was quite masterful.
Joey Bosa continued to show that he is the best defensive rookie in the NFL. Registering another half-sack, two TFLs (tackles for loss), and several additional pressures, Bosa is quickly becoming the best defensive player the Chargers have had since Shawne Merriman. Bosa is a virtual lock to win the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. He even has the ability to challenge for Defensive Player of the Year in the future.
Jahleel Addae isn’t going to make anyone forget about Sean Taylor, but his presence shifts the Chargers’ backups back into their proper backup roles. Getting him back this week was big. The Chargers’ injuries have been adding up, and in particular against Miami a couple of weeks ago, severely compromised the Chargers depth and effectiveness.
Let’s talk about Philip Rivers for a minute. He’s not having a great year; his TD/INT rate has dipped below that acceptable 2-1 ratio at 23/12, but seven of those picks were in two games (three against Denver and four against Miami). Despite that, he still has a 93.9 passer rating (just off his career 95.4 rate). On Sunday, Phil completed passes to (in order of most targets): Tyrell Williams, Dontrelle Inman, Melvin Ingram, Hunter Henry, Travis Benjamin, and Jeremy Butler. What would he be able to accomplish with a more effective offensive line and a better receiving corps?
On Sunday, the O-Line was able to keep Phil upright and he completed 73% of his passes (with a few drops in there as well). In today’s QB-friendly NFL, Rivers probably has another four years of high productivity. Chargers fans need to appreciate how good he is and how good we have it.
Thanks for reading.