Flood the Rivers!
Just about everyone thought Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers was going to get destroyed by the Packers nasty defense. That was not the case. Rivers wasn’t sacked until late in the third quarter, one of “only” three sacks. It was a tremendous performance by San Diego’s makeshift offensive line (LT Chris Hairston, LG Kenny Wiggins, C Trevor Robinson, RT D.J. Fluker, RT Joe Barksdale). Moreover, just about everyone thought Aaron Rodgers was going to torch the Chargers defense. The opposite played out. Rivers finished 43-65 passing with a monstrous 503 yards passing and two touchdowns. He set franchise records in completions, attempts, and passing yards. He is now the first quarterback in NFL history to have thrown for at least 500 yards and no interceptions and lost the game. Rivers led a masterful 11-play, 77-yard drive to give the Chargers a chance at tying the game before the end of regulation. His fourth-and-goal pass to Danny Woodhead on Green Bay’s three-yard line was batted away. Game over. The Chargers fall to 2-4.
Keenan Allen on fuego
Last week against the Steelers, Keenan Allen caught six passes for 57 yards. Against the Packers, Allen had 14 receptions for 157 yards, including, 11 receptions for 128 yards in the first half which tied a franchise record for catches and set a new one for yards. In the first period, he caught six passes for 50 yards, which tied Malcom Floyd’s franchise record for receptions in the first quarter. Allen had two huge receptions on the Chargers last series before the end of the half. He caught a 38-yard bullet over the middle with 1:34 remaining. On the next play, he hauled in a beautiful 16-yard pass from Rivers near the left sideline, just getting his toes down before falling out of bounds. It was Allen’s third game this season with at least twelve receptions. The rest of the NFL has a combined three 12+ reception games. Allen left in the third quarter with a hip injury and later returned. He started the fourth quarter on the sideline and never returned.
Going for it on 4th down!
Everyone knew the Chargers were going to have be aggressive if they were going to have a chance at beating the Packers. Even Mike McCoy. Twice in the first half, McCoy elected to go for it on fourth down inside the red zone. The first attempt was unsuccessful on fourth-and-three at Green Bay’s 12-yard line. The second attempt was huge. With two seconds remaining in the first half, on fourth-and-goal from Green Bay’s one-yard line, Rivers dropped back and floated a beauty to Dontrelle Inman in the back of the end zone. The touchdown gave the Chargers a much needed score before half time, making it 17-10 with the Packers getting the ball to start the third quarter.
Defense holds its ground (sort of)
The Chargers held Aaron Rodgers to 16-29 passing for 255 yards and two touchdowns. He was sacked three times and only ran twice for 14 yards. On paper, it was a “good” day for the Chargers defense. After the Packers amassed 255 total yards and 17 points over the their first three offensive series, San Diego held Green Bay over its next three series to just two yards, no first downs, and forced three punts. But the one thing that continues to plague this team on defense is the big plays. The Packers had plays of 20-plus yards on all three of their touchdown drives, including a 65-yard touchdown scamper by running back James Starks late in the first quarter.
Jerry Attaochu sacks
Jerry Attaochu has been on a steady uphill progression over the last few weeks. He notched his third and fourth sacks of the season. He had two against Cleveland two weeks ago. Attaochu sacked Rodgers on 3rd and 9 from the Chargers 31-yard line late in the second quarter. It pushed Green Bay out of field goal range and forced a punt.
Melvin Gordon fumbles
In his homecoming, the Chargers first-round pick form Wisconsin fumbled twice. San Diego recovered the first but not the second. Fortunately, the Packers didn’t capitalize on the ensuing series. Gordon who briefly left in the first quarter with a foot injury and later returned, did not play again after his second fumble. He led the Chargers with seven rushes for 29 yards, including a 25-yard run. Brandon Oliver replaced Gordon and ran seven times for 23 yards. Danny Woodhed ran seven times for eight yards, including a negative one-yard run on third-and-two from Green Bay’s three-yard line in the closing seconds.
–Andrew Burer (TWITTER: @andrewburer)