The Indianapolis Colts have had a great season so far in 2013. They were barely favored in Monday night’s game in SD, and some analysts even went as far as to mention that the Colts “were focused on next week” in reference to the Broncos and Peyton Manning back in Indy. Ok, perhaps, but we can’t neglect how amazing the Chargers looked last night. Philip Rivers completed 22 of 33 passes for 237 yards and a TD to Keenan Allen. Ryan Mathews had his first 100-yard game (barely) with 102 yards. Mathews still has yet to find the end zone but he’s getting more carries. Nick Novak hit a 50 yarder - the Chargers were…electrifying. I’m not often presented the opportunity to shower them with positive puns, so there it is.
Rivers looked sharp and was able to remain focused at all times, and during his post-game interview, sounded energized and confident to continue on to Jacksonville and get another W. When Rivers is confident it shows; on Monday he completed passes, didn’t do too much screaming at receivers for not completing their assignments, and all the pieces came together in the end. Rivers’ performance as well as the dynamic with his teammates suffers when he’s not pleased with his offensive line.
San Diego’s offense looked much less lethargic than it did in Oakland last week, unable to connect with Rivers on simple routes and three picks, which lead to a horrid defeat. With that behind them, the Chargers faced a much better team than the Raiders and held Indy’s pass game down allowing Andrew Luck to connect with receivers just 18/30 times.
Eddie Royal has already proven to be an asset when he’s healthy and shows signs of being great. It’s unfortunate for such a young fella to be as prone to injury as he has been the last few weeks. During the games of the first few weeks, Royal appeared to be connecting well with Rivers. He was playing lights out against Philadelphia - I even went as far as to try to pick him up in my fantasy football league to find out he had already been snatched up. Water under the bridge - but he had been injured and didn’t put up great numbers against Oakland, leaving in the second quarter of last night’s game with an apparent toe injury. He came back in the third but it hasn’t been made clear what his current status is.
SD’s defense was pressuring Luck throughout the night and though several times Luck was able to evade, he threw some off-target passes. The defense will definitely need to keep up the pressure, and even if they don’t result in higher sack totals, panic the QB into making bad decisions.
San Diego can turn this season around from a “happy to be .500” team to a playoff contender IF - and this is a big if – when going up against Denver and KC in the AFC West, Rivers can keep up the time of possession, keep the games close, coupled with the defense continuing to panic the quarterback. With a game-plan like that, and SD showing vitality, Charger fans should be excited for what the rest of the season has in store.