San Diego Chargers 2010 Season in Review: Top 10 Moments
On Sunday afternoon, the San Diego Chargers watched their season come apart as Carson Palmer and Jerome Simpson helped destroy the Chargers in a game that ended the post season hopes of the Chargers.
With one more game left in the season, and one that may not have much meaning for San Diego, it's time to take a look back at the best moments of the 2010 season for the Bolts.
So, as Chargers fans around the world mourn their season, let's pick up some spirits with the 10 best moments from their regular season performance.
10. Chargers Picks Up Patrick Crayton, San Diego Learns to Love Him, Fast
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When I watched Patric Crayton go down for the rest of the season against Denver in Week 11, I felt bad. Very bad.
The question is, why? When the news was first announced, most people figured that Crayton would come in and be a good filler while San Diego waited on the return of Vincent Jackson.
Instead, Crayton quickly made a reputation for himself as a great target and a brilliant after-the-catch player.
Not only did he make a splash, but he may have earned a place on the team for himself for a while.
9. Chargers Shape Up and Get Vengeance For Week 1 Loss to Kansas City
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In Week 1, the San Diego Chargers let their season opener slip against the Kansas City Chiefs due to what can only be described as horrific special teams play.
Norv Turner and his staff were not about to have it be the same the next time the two teams met.
Kansas City and San Diego played again in Week 14, and they made none of the mistakes they had made before.
Sure, Kansas City was missing quarterback Matt Cassel, but it's hard to excuse the Chiefs 31-0 loss on account of that.
The Chargers allowed Kansas City to gain a mere 67 yards. This was arguably the biggest blowout of the year.
8. Mike Tolbert Gains First Start As Running Back, Hits 100 Yard Mark
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Previous to this season, Mike Tolbert was known simply as San Diego's bowling ball, the guy who had promise to be the next Lorenzo Neal.
Things have changed a lot for the running back out of Coastal Carolina.
After rookie Ryan Mathews was forced to miss his first game due to a high ankle sprain, Tolbert stepped in in Week 4 against the Arizona Cardinals.
Tolbert rumbled his way to 100 yards on 16 carries with one touchdown.
It was just the beginning of what would be a fun season of watching Tolbert truck many, many defenders.
7. Seyi Ajirotutu Gets His Big Break In Houston, Snags Two Touchdowns.
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The Chargers had to deal with a lot of injuries this season, most of which involved their group of wide receivers.
When the Chargers traveled to Houston in Week 9, this was a big problem. So big, in fact, that the Chargers featured undrafted rookie free agent Seyi Ajirotutu, teammate of fellow rookie Ryan Mathews from Fresno State.
Ajirotutu was one of the guys that many fans were calling on to make the active roster after an impressive training camp, but he failed to make the team until Week 7, when he was called up to face the New England Patriots. His two games before Houston were good, but Week 9 is when he really showed his stuff.
He came out when the Chargers needed him most and made a splash.
Ajirotutu caught four balls against Houston, two of which went for long touchdowns, and which added up to 111 yards.
The best part? Ajirotutu scored a long touchdown against Kareem Jackson, the Houston Texans' first round draft pick. Talk about value.
6. Chargers Defense Posts Two Sacks and Forces Six Turnovers Against Jags
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In another case of Make Sure Ron Rivera Stays in San Diego Forever, the San Diego Chargers came up huge defensively against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 2.
The Chargers brought down David Garrard twice (once by DE Jacques Cesaire and one split between S Eric Weddle and OLB Larry English) and intercepted him four times (two by Antoine Cason, one by Brandon Siler and one by Kevin Burnett).
The Chargers didn't keep the yardage total of the Jags down (final net yardage was 350), but six turnovers is always impressive.
5. Shaun Phillips Meets Arizona Cardinals, Becomes The Terminator
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The Chargers had a couple of blowout performances this year, but none stick out as much as their 41-10 stomping of the Arizona Cardinals.
Sure, there was offensive firepower galore, but that game was really stamped by the performance of one player: Shaun Phillips.
A lot of people wondered whether or not the Chargers could generate pass rush with an ineffective Shawne Merriman.
Shaun Phillips answered that question by posting four sacks and one interception.
Phillips became the Cardinals' worst nightmare.
4. Vincent Jackson Reminds The Chargers Just How Good He Is
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After a lengthy holdout and a calf injury that hobbled him for the first few weeks of his return, Vincent Jackson made a statement in the Chargers' 34-7 blowout of the San Francisco 49ers.
Jackson caught five passes against the 49ers. Three of them were touchdowns. He ended the game with 112 yards.
That game was a clear message to the upper management of the San Diego Chargers: Pay me, or someone else will.
3. San Diego Chargers Haunt Peyton Manning...Again
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Many of you remember when the Chargers tore Peyton Manning apart in 2007, picking him off six times, including one of the greatest interceptions of all time, handled by former Charger Antonio Cromartie.
The Chargers came back once again to bring back Manning's nightmares.
The Chargers snagged four picks from the future Hall of Famer, two of which were returned for touchdowns.
Visions of Eric Weddle and Kevin Burnett taking the ball to the house are probably still keeping Peyton Manning up at night.
2. Philip Rivers Beats Out Peyton Manning in Pro Bowl Voting
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It took a herculean effort out of Philip Rivers to finally get the recognition, but it is official: Philip Rivers has been named as the second string quarterback for the 2011 AFC Pro Bowl squad above the great Peyton Manning.
RWhile Rivers will not finish the season by beating Dan Marino's passing record, like many had assumed he would in the beginning of the season, Rivers did have a phenomenal year for himself. As it stands, Rivers has thrown for 4,397 yards, 30 touchdowns, and only 12 interceptions, giving him an average QB rating of 103. 9.
There have only been two games this year in which Philip Rivers was not the passing yardage leader: Week 12 against Indianapolis and Week 16 against Cincinnati.
Rivers has taken the Chargers on his back many times this year, and he deserves the Pro Bowl honors.
1. Antonio Gates Becomes 7th Tight End in History To Have 500 Receptions
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On October 3, 2010, Antonio Gates did what only six others had been able to do before him: He caught his 500th pass.
While this seems like just another accolade on the long and accomplished career of the undrafted free agent from Kent State, it really is a big deal.
It continues to remind everyone in San Diego, and everyone who cares about the NFL, that Antonio Gates may be one of the best to every touch a football. Even when he was dealing with a foot injury this year, Gates fought through the pain and played great football.
San Diego has been lucky to have him, and will be blessed to keep him around for the rest of his career.