Against a red-hot Indianapolis Colt team, the San Diego Chargers managed to pick up an important victory by winning the time-of-possession battle and playing efficiently when it mattered most.
San Diego: 19
Game Analysis for San Diego
Pass Offense: While Philip Rivers didn’t exactly put on a quarterbacking clinic, he was both efficient and effective in executing the Chargers’ game plan.
Rivers finished the game with 237 yards and a touchdown, while completing 22 of 33 pass attempts.
Run Offense: The Chargers put together perhaps their best rushing effort of the season against Indianapolis.
Fourth-year back Ryan Mathews was especially impressive, which has not always been the case during his NFL career. He carried the ball 22 times for 102 yards with an average of 4.6 yards per carry.
Danny Woodhead added 36 yards on nine carries and helped the Chargers control the clock throughout the game.
Luck completed 18 of 30 pass attempts, but managed just 202 yards through the air. An interception by cornerback Derek Cox inside the final two-minute mark sealed the victory for the Chargers.
Perhaps most importantly, Luck was unable to find the end zone.
Run Defense: For the most part, San Diego shut down former No. 3 overall pick Trent Richardson and the rest of the Colts rushing attack.
Richardson did gain 40 yards on 10 carries, but 12 of them came on a single run. This means his other nine runs averaged a mundane 3.1 yards.
Special Teams: It was another solid outing for the San Diego special teams unit.
Kicker Nick Novak was perfect on field-goal attempts (4-of-4), including a critical 50-yarder late in the fourth quarter.
Punter Mike Scifres, meanwhile, was his usual productive self. He was only called upon three times but averaged 45 yards per punt on the night.
Coaching: Head coach Mike McCoy put together nearly a perfect game plan on Monday night, particularly on offense.
He and offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt formulated a balanced offensive attack that sustained drives and ate large chunks of game clock. While the Chargers did not put up gaudy numbers, they were able to control the tempo and prevent Indianapolis from ever getting into an offensive rhythm.
First-Half Analysis for San Diego
Pass Offense: After missing on a few early throws, quarterback Philip Rivers seemed to get into a rhythm, particularly with rookie wideout Keenan Allen. Rivers and Allen hooked up for five passes, 62 yards and a touchdown in the first half.
In all, Rivers managed to complete nine of 18 pass attempts for 106 yards and a score with no interceptions.
Pass protection has been good. Rivers was rarely pressured in the first half and was not victimized by a sack.
Run Offense: As a team, the Chargers were very productive running the football in the first half.
Ryan Mathews has looked as explosive as he has at any point this season, rushing for 47 yards on 11 carries (4.27 YPC). Utility man Danny Woodhead chipped in with 20 yards on two carries.
The Chargers’ ability to run the football has helped San Diego win the time-of-possession battle, which is one way to combat the Colts’ high-powered offense.
Pass Defense: The Chargers have done a very good job of pressuring Colts quarterback Andrew Luck through two quarters.
While Luck was able to complete 61 percent of his passes (11-of-18), the second-year signal-caller never seemed to have enough time to hit the big play and didn’t find the end zone.
Run Defense: San Diego has done a good job of limiting the Colts rushing attack thus far.
Indianapolis traded for running back Trent Richardson a few weeks ago in order to bring some balance to the offense. However, Richardson has been held mostly in check, gaining just 11 yards on four carries.
Donald Brown has been slightly more productive (three carries, 15 yards), but the Colts offense has been fairly one-dimensional through the first half.
Special Teams: Punter Mike Scifres continues to show why he is one of the top punters in the game. He averaged an impressive 46 yards on two punts in the first half and helped the Chargers win the battle of field position.
Kicker Nick Novak attempted one field goal and one extra point and made both kicks.
Coaching: Head coach Mike McCoy put together a solid game plan for the first half. San Diego found a nice balance offensively, which has kept the fast and aggressive Indianapolis defense on its heels.
So far, the call by defensive coordinator John Pagano to blitz Luck has paid off, as the Colts have failed to attack deep downfield or reach the end zone.