Bolt Notes: Week 7, With NFL Picks!

Will McCaffertyCorrespondent IOctober 24, 2009

SAN DIEGO, CA - OCTOBER 19: Quarterback Phillip Rivers #17 of the San Diego Chargers losses the ball for a sack as he is pressured by Defensive Linebacker Vonnie Holliday #99 of the Denver Broncos during the second half during Monday Night Football on October 19, 2009 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

Have you ever had one of those weeks where nothing goes right? I picked dogs who lost and favorites who lost as well! As Linda Ronstadt said (and later Jerry Jeff Walker), I felt like I could "never do nothing right" on my picks last week. I was feeling good with my overall record and was racking up the wins and then hit a serious wall. Last week I went an embarrassing 4-9 and my year long total went to 54-35. What did I do to deserve such a fate?

I'll tell you what! I started playing hunches, personal favorites, and ignored statistics and tendencies. Stupid, Stupid, Stupid!!! NOT THIS WEEK! Well, maybe a couple of favorites, but not like last week.

Chargers vs Broncos Wrap Up:

If you have called me at half time, I would have sounded pretty confident in my Bolts. They had a small three point lead. They had already scored 20 points on what did not look like a number one defense (20 points did include one TD return on special teams). They have been a second half team all year and looked as though they would be able to handle the Broncos as long as they sured up their kick off coverage that gave up two first half touchdowns.

A funny thing happened on the way to the victory. The Chargers were unable to make the necessary adjustments in the second half and the Broncos looked like a different football team, especially on defense.

The Chargers defense did make some improvements last week. They gave up about 40 fewer yards rushing than normal even though Denver has a very good running game. That being said, it is sad to hear fans say that the Chargers stopped the run when they still gave up 100 yards on the ground. There was a time when the Bolts almost never gave up triple digits in rushing and you could hear the taunts of Section 15 chanting, "You can't run! You can't run!", throughout "the Q". Now, keeping an opponent under 140 is a good day.

The secondary played better than previous weeks. I liked the tackling skills of rookie Kevin Ellison and I believe that Antonio Cromartie had his best week by far. Of course, now Cro hurt his knee in practice and is questionable for tomorrows game. That is par for the course.

I would love to move on to next game without saying anything positive about the Denver Broncos. I would love to say that it was all the Chargers fault and it's time to fire Norv (which it is), and that Denver should feel lucky for the win! Unfortunately, I can't. The Broncos played a great second half of football. Their offense was steady and their defense was awesome on third down. They only allowed one score, a field goal, and I believe one first down on a third down play (pass interference) in the second half. Every big play, Denver's defense was in Rivers' face and gave him no time to throw. However, I would say that the play selection of the Chargers was very illogical since they were running down field routes on third and short and blitzing backers all over the quarterback.

Oh, that's right, I should probably mention that the Broncos did play pretty well on kick return, scoring twice in the first half. I guess that's pretty good.

The final thought I have about that game was the Norv Turner may have finally lost the confidence of his players. He lost the fans long ago, but the players had his back. On Monday night, the Chargers had a third and goal from the two yard line, with Tomlinson finally looking healthy and running well. Turner took Tomlinson out and inserted 5' 6" Darren Sproles. According to Norv, he called a pass play that Philip Rivers changed at the line. Rivers handed the ball off to Sproles who was stuffed. Now, you could blame Rivers for this play not working. It is true that he should have realized that the tiny Sproles may have trouble getting past the tough Denver line. However, how does the coach take out a touchdown machine like Tomlinson when at the two yard line?! Even if they wanted to run a pass play, Tomlinson would have made a play action play more effective and can also catch a pass as well as any of the receivers on the team. Just a brutal decision by Turner and the frustration was clear on L.T.'s face on the sideline. To Tomlinson's credit, after the game, he said that he would have loved to have been out there for that play, but Norv had a different play in mind and wanted to use Sproles. Coaches coach and players play.


Chargers vs Chiefs Preview:

Before the season started, I used a pen to mark this game down as a win. Now, I wish that I used erasable pen, or pencil. Not that I don't expect a Chargers win, but I am not nearly as confident as I once was. The Chargers defense is getting absolutely no pressure on the quarterback for the majority of the game. Against Denver, they had some early pressure and a sack or two. After that, Denver's line became a solid wall that the Chargers could not scale or bypass. Orton had all night to throw and did just that. Now, the Chiefs line has been as solid as Sponge Bob Square Pants. I would like to think that the Bolts could find some success pressuring Cassell. When Cassell quarterbacked for the Patriots, he had a terrible day against the Bolts and looked like a deer in the headlights for most of the game.

Looking at the Chargers roster, I see that there are still some very significant injuries and some interesting personnel changes. Jamal Williams (DT) and Nick Hardwick (C) are by far the most important cogs on both sides of the ball. Williams is out for the year, and Hardwick has a few more weeks on the injured list.  Antoine Cason (DB) has been replaced at nickle back by safety Steve Gregory. Rookie Kevin Ellison will take Gregory's spot at safety as well.  Another key injury is losing Kevin Burnett (ILB).

Other issues are that Shawne Merriman is an apparent shell of his former self. He has been spelled by rookie Larry English but the "Lights Out" dance has yet to be seen this season. In fact, English leads the defense with a mere two sacks for the year.

As for my prediction for this week's game, I am sticking with my Chargers. However, I know that going to Kansas City is never easy and the Chiefs have competed better than their record would show.



COLTS vs rams (Colts will not pull a Philly)
vikings vs STEELERS (May be wrong here, but home cooking is nice)
PATS vs bucs (Brady will light up the scoreboard in London. Pats 40-Love in Wimbley)
niners vs TEXANS (Don't feel too good about this one either. Niners need to get used to their new wide receiver and it could throw off the offense a little)
PACKERS vs browns (Sorry Browns, I may never pick you again)
JETS vs raiders (Raiders may very well hand Jets their fourth straight loss, but I still can't pick them)
bills vs PANTHERS (Bad game. Bills' QB out)
FALCONS vs cowboys (Another game I don't like to pick. Cowboys good at home, but defense shows up everywhere)
bears vs BENGALS (If Bengals lose, they are who we thought they were. Could happen though)
SAINTS vs dolphins (Wild Cat offense will have to dominate the time clock for Fins to win. My money is on Drew Brees)
cards vs GIANTS (Great game, but Giants embarrassed last week and they are at home.)
EAGLES vs redskins (Eagles must bounce back after embarrassing loss)

CHARGERS 38 Chiefs 20

Enjoy the games!