San Diego Chargers 2010: Never Underestimate The Boltz Rushing Attack

Heneli IongiAnalyst IDecember 4, 2010

SAN DIEGO - NOVEMBER 22:  Mike Tolbert #35 of the San Diego Chargers breaks a tackle against Nate Jones #33 of the Denver Broncos as he rushes for a gain at Qualcomm Stadium on November 22, 2010 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

"The San Diego Chargers have the most balance offense in the league.  Having the ability to beat a defense in any way shape or form base on what the Chargers deem to be the opposing defenses' weakness or what the game may dictate".

I made that statement a long time ago.  Well, maybe not word for word but I did state many times that the Chargers are a very balance team.  If a team does have a weakness, the Chargers does have the means to expose it.  

Here is the thing though, some analyst and fans alike say the Chargers running game isn't all that great.  They look at the fact that the Chargers are 15th in the league in rushing.  They look at the "fact" that the Chargers can't run against strong run defensive teams.  They look at the "fact" that there is no Chargers RB in top 20, in the league.  I'm here to put a little rest to all these "facts" about the Chargers running game.

The Chargers can run the ball on anyone.  Plain and simple.  I highly doubt that any opposing defense will stop the Chargers if they have the lead.  Just look at how the Chargers imposed their will on the Colts, Jaguars, Broncos, Titans, and Cardinals.  

In those games, the Chargers had 122 rushing yards for 3.9 YPC against the Colts, 152 rushing yards for 5.2 YPC against the Jaguars, 141 rushing yards for 4.2 against the Broncos, 153 rushing yards for 4.8 YPC against the Titans, and 182 rushing yards for 5.1 against the Cardinals.

Why is this so significant?  Because it goes to show that the Chargers are able to put games away when they hold a lead, especially when the lead is two possessions or more.  

A pessimist would say that the Chargers haven't played anyone significant that has a strong run defense.  Fear not, I'm here to educate those who don't know how good the Chargers run game really is.  The Chargers played the Texans and the Chiefs who are ranked in the top ten in run defenses.  

Against the Texans, the Chargers were able to put the game with a steady dose of the run game late in the 4th QRT after a defensive stop.  The Chargers rushed for 84 yards for 3.8 yards per carry.  The only reason why the Chargers rushed for 84 yards is because they attacked the Texans weak pass defense and then took it to them in the end with a battering run game behind the legs of Mike Tolbert.

In the first week 1 match-up between the Chargers and the Chiefs, the Chargers had their way in the run game as the Chargers had 104 rushing yards for a average of 4.0 yards per carry.  The Chargers would have had more yards if they didn't have to play from behind due to the Chargers' special teams woes in that game.  

The Chargers ran very well against teams that have strong run defenses and I showed that.  The strength of the Chargers run game is in the coaching staff recognizing when they can expose a opposing defenses' running game weakness.  The run game gives the Chargers that option and they've used it all season against every team when they needed it which is a far cry of a difference to last season when the Chargers couldn't even run the ball on anyone.

The Chargers exposed teams that had weak run defenses and they beat those teams handily.  Those teams included the Titans, Jaguars, Cardinals, Colts, and the Broncos.

The Chargers have so much versatility in the backfield that they can give opposing defenses different doses of running styles.  Mike Tolbert has a nothing but pure brute force and enforces his will on opposing tacklers as he averages 4.4 yards per carry.  Tolbert is the finisher.  Ryan Mathews have a mix of speed and power and he, like Tolbert, averages 4.4 yards per carry.  Darren Sproles is the small scatback that hides well behind a offensive line often making it tough for opposing LB's to see him as he averages 4.6 yards per carry.  

One thing is very evident, the Chargers can run the ball on anyone, anywhere, on any type of turf.  Each of the Chargers RB's add a different dimension to the running game and have done so throughout the season.  

Through the Chargers running game, the Chargers are able to control the clock, expose opposing defenses weakness when game-planned against, keep opposing elite offenses off the field, and hold the lead in late games.  This is what the Chargers running game does for the Chargers as they compliment what is the top offense in the entire league.  Expect the running game to give not only give the Chargers a push to the playoffs, but a push past that into history.