Titans vs. Chargers: 10 Things We Learned from San Diego's 38-10 Win
For the first time since 2006, the San Diego Chargers are 2-0.
The white-hot Bolts came to play Sunday afternoon, getting off to a very fast start. They led 17-0 early in the game. San Diego's offense was clicking and its defense was making plays all around the field. Without Antonio Gates and Ryan Mathews, the Chargers still looked fierce.
Here are 10 things we learned from today's win.
Pass Rush Is Vastly Improved
Not one sack was recorded in Sunday's game, yet it was clear the Chargers pass rush has evolved since last season.
On his first pass attempt, Jake Locker was pressured into throwing the ball. He overthrew his tight end, Jared Cook, and Eric Weddle, the league leader in takeaways last season, intercepted it. Throughout the game, the Chargers continued to force Locker into throwing the ball when he wasn't ready.
Aside from the offensive line, the pass rush was the biggest area that needed to be improved. Through two games, San Diego has proven it has been.
Mike Harris Isn't Awful
Mike Harris, the undrafted rookie, is protecting Philip Rivers' blindside in Jared Gaither's absence. The worst was expected, but it's been the best that the Chargers have received from Harris.
He still needs improvement, although he's done everything and more of what San Diego has asked of him. Harris had two holding calls Sunday, stopping Kamerion Wimbley from getting to Rivers. There's no timetable for Gaither's return, but that should be the least of the Chargers' worries. Mike Harris is doing a great job so far.
Jeromey Clary Is
Jeromey Clary should have no excuses to why he continues to make mistakes and allow Philip Rivers to get sacked from his side. For some reason, San Diego continues to rely on him. Clary should be a backup at most.
For the moment, Jeromey Clary is the only option at right tackle. What the Chargers should try when Gaither comes back is to start both Mike Harris and Jared Gaither at both tackle positions. Until then, we'll just have to live with Clary and his terrible play.
Chargers Need Ryan Mathews
Ryan Mathews brings an explosive aspect to the Chargers offense that nobody else does. His effectiveness in both the run and pass game makes him very deadly for opposing defenses. Expect him to return next week against the Falcons.
Ronnie Brown and Curtis Brinkley were given most of the carriers throughout the game and, just like Monday night, failed to do much. Jackie Battle got into the mix late in the game, but we'll save that for another slide.
Philip Rivers Has His Poise Back
Let's just start off and say Philip Rivers looks like his old self. It's pretty safe to say that he was definitely dealing with some sort of injury last season, although he continues to say otherwise. Instead of forcing throws, besides one Sunday, Philip Rivers is playing smarter.
Last season was the first year without Darren Sproles, who was a short yardage/checkdown monster. In 2011, Rivers faded away from short passes. He still completed them, but the amount was a drastic change. Through only two games this season, Rivers is continuing to dump it off to running backs or tight ends when nothing is open down field. He's making the right decisions.
Red-Zone Efficiency Is Better
Norv Turner made it clear that one thing San Diego needed to improve on was finishing drives. On Sunday, they did just that.
The Chargers scored five touchdowns on five red-zone trips. Three of them were passes to tight end Dante Rosario, and the other two were ran in by Jackie Battle on the one-yard line. Nate Kaeding converted five field goals in Week 1 and only one in Week 2. San Diego should be very pleased with its red-zone efficiency on Sunday.
Run Defense Is for Real
A dominate dictating defense is what the Chargers have been searching for.
In Week 1, San Diego faced a fully healthy Darren McFadden. San Diego's defense held him to 32 yards on 15 carries. His 2.2 yards-per-carry average is 2.4 yards less than his career average.
On Sunday, San Diego had to find a way to contain the speedy Chris Johnson. CJ2K ran the ball eight times for 17 yards, which is a horrible 2.1 yards per carry average.
The Chargers will face a former running back in Michael Turner next week. They'll look to stop another elite running back for a third straight week.
Chargers Have Many Talented Tight Ends
It was stated earlier in the offseason that the Chargers are loaded at tight end. Gates said every player makes plays. Those tight ends besides Gates are Dante Rosario, LaDarius Green and Randy McMichael.
McMichael is the veteran leader of the backups while Green is a rookie and Rosario is the big body. On Sunday, it was Dante Rosario's time to shine. Green had one reception, his first of his career, for 31 yards and McMichael had three for 29 yards. On route to victory, Dante Rosario led the Chargers with four receptions for 48 yards and three touchdowns.
His career high for touchdowns in a season was two. Rosario just set a new record in one game.
Jackie Battle Deserves More Playing Time
Ryan Mathews should be returning next week, but that doesn't mean Jackie Battle doesn't deserve more playing time. He finished the day with 14 carries for 69 yards and two touchdowns. His near five yards a carry was the best on the team.
Jackie Battle runs harder than both Ronnie Brown and Curtis Brinkley, or at least he did Sunday. When Mathews returns, Battle should be the first backup to him.
Nobody Will Wear No. 55 Ever Again
R.I.P JUNIOR SEAU
You will always be the only No. 55 in Chargers history.
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