Chargers vs. Jaguars on Monday Night Football: Live Reaction, News and Analysis
The Jaguars have recently fired their head coach Jack Del Rio, who coached the Jaguars for the past nine seasons, in search of greener pastures. Owner Wayne Weaver named Mel Tucker, who will be coaching his first NFL game this Monday night, the interim head coach as the Jags search for options to bring in next year.
The Chargers, meanwhile, have a coach of their own on the hot seat. After losing six straight games, falling from 4-1 to 4-7, the heat has been dialed up on Norv Turner and A.J. Smith. Many in San Diego have become disgruntled with the duo as they have failed to produce results with some of the most talented teams in the past decade.
Barring some miracle (playoffs run, Super Bowl, etc.) it looks as though both will be ousted at the end of the season.
It will be interesting to see which team plays harder; the team with the new coach or team with the coach whose days have been officially numbered by the front office.
Coaching fiascoes have put both teams on the brink of elimination 12 weeks into the season.
Monday night will be a proving ground for these two, as they have a lot to prove.
Keep it here for everything Monday Night Football.
Team Ranks, Facts
San Diego Chargers: Offense - sixth, Defense - 12th
- Malcom Floyd will be returning after missing the past four weeks. He will free up coverage on Vincent Jackson and Antonio Gates, who have been limited in Floyd's absence.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Offense - 32nd, Defense - fourth
- Interim coach Mel Tucker has changed the pace of practice and shuffled up the new coaching staff (fired the wide receivers coach, reassigned the quarterbacks coach) in hopes of mixing things up. For a team that ranks dead last in total offense, things can only go up from here.
Offensive linemen are not known for their elusiveness, but don't tell that to Jacksonville Jaguars OT Guy Whimper.
Early in the third quarter of today's game, the Jaguars were faced with a 3rd-and-1 scenario and were in desperate need of a play to move the chains. So they went into their bag of tricks and drew up a good one.
QB Blaine Gabbert snapped the football and faked the handoff to his running back. He then rolled right on a bootleg and passed to Whimper who was eligible to be a receiver.
And Whimper did the rest.
The 302-pound tackle not only caught the pass, but he also cut back and juked Weddle, who fell down trying to tackle him.
Whimper left him in the dust and the play netted a 17-yard gain when it was all said and done.
Still, the Chargers would go on to dominate the second half, as they scored the game's final four touchdowns and came away with a 38-14 victory on Monday Night Football.
In a game where both sides had their fair share of injuries, the San Diego Chargers proved to be the most resilient as they easily cruised to a 38-14 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Philip Rivers (22-28, 294 yards, three touchdowns) was on fire all game and finally showed the zip and accuracy that has been missing most of the 2011 season. More importantly, he did not turn the ball over, giving the Chargers the ability to pull away.
The Chargers big play receivers had an easy time with over matched, injured, Jaguars secondary. The return of Malcom Floyd (four catches, 108 yards, one touchdown) was the real difference make in the Chargers vertical passing game.
Ryan Mathews had another big game, rushing for over 100 yards on only 15 carries.
Maybe the biggest difference maker was having a true left tackle on Rivers blindside. Jared Gaither came in and did an awesome job for the Chargers tonight, block well in the passing and running game.
Now just two games back, the Chargers are still hanging on to playoff aspirations.
Coming into this game, Blaine Gabbert had shown little signs of life in his rookie season. He had only thrown six touchdowns, matching his total of six interceptions. To be fair to Gabbert, he hasn't exactly had elite targets to throw to. Maurice Jones-Drew and Mercedes Lewis are basically the only players on their roster with extended experience in the Jaguars system.
Even though the Jaguars are behind big in the third quarter, Gabbert has been accurate and thrown two touchdown passes. For the jaguars to have a chance in this game, he is going to have to mount up and take the team on his back.
Gabbert is still the youngest quarterback in the NFL, and has a ton of talent, so it will be interesting to see how he progresses as they surround him with talent in the next couple years.
Jared Gaither has already been cut by two teams this season (Ravens, Chiefs), but has looked good so far in this Monday Night Game.
Gaither was slated as the potential cornerstone of the Raven's line, but was a disappointment and did not show the Ravens the toughness to play the position. He was subsequently cut in off season and signed by the Chiefs. The Chiefs cut him last week after a false penalty that may have cost them the game.
Gaither has showed the athleticism at 6'8" that made him a coveted LT on multiple plays against the Jaguars this Monday. With the Chargers offensive line in shambles, missing two of there three pro bowl offensive linemen out, need what ever help they can get.
If Gaither can anchor Philip Rivers' backside, it will make Rivers job a lot easier. If the Chargers are to have any chance against the Ravens, Lions, and Raiders (all of which have elite pass rushers), they will need someone to step up along the line.
And Gaither could be that guy...
The downfall of the San Diego Chargers in 2011 can be pinned on a variety of people (A.J. Smith, Dean Spanos, Philip Rivers, Norv Turner, etc.). Their fall from grace has been well chronicled since the arrival of Norv Turner and the dismissal of Marty Schottenheimer in 2008.
A 13-3 team just two seasons ago is now on the cusp of elimination only 12 weeks into the season. Even with a win tonight, the Chargers will still be two games back in the AFC West with four games to play.
So where did this season go wrong...?
It began in week five, when the Chargers held a two score lead over the then hapless Denver Broncos. Yes, the Chargers won this game despite some late game heroics from Tim Tebow, but the real story was how poorly Philip Rivers played late in the game. He threw one interception and fumbled the ball twice (one which was recovered by Denver). All of this helped the Broncos stay in a game which they had otherwise been dominated in. One could also say, although it has been denied multiple times by Rivers himself, that this is the game in which Rivers got hurt.
These late game turnovers from Rivers continued to New York, hopped on a plane to Kansas City, and nestled in on the couch at home against the Packers.
Now it is hard to put a loss on one player, but this stretch of turnovers by Rivers, which resulted in three losses, doomed the Chargers' season. In these three games, Rivers threw seven interceptions and fumbled the ball three times; a shocking statistic given how anti-turnover prone Rivers had been before the 2011 season.
And, no, Norv Turner, you are not off the hook in 2011. Norv has built his success in San Diego off the excellent play of Rivers. But, when his trophy horse hit tough times, Turner could not figure out a way to motivate his team. He showed inability develop game plans that did not focus around a struggling Rivers, and consequently has cost the Chargers games.
Will it take a media barrage, and the pressure of Monday Night, for Norv to pull out all the stops? Can Rivers shine in a spotlight that seems brighter than ever amidst the worst season of his career?
Regardless, I bet the Jaguars will have something to say about it...
Although the passing game has become more prevalent in the NFL over the past decades with the rise of quarterbacks such as Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, the ability of a team to rush the football is still the cornerstone of most offensive game plans.
The Chargers, despite having the 12th ranked total defense, have been atrocious against the run (ranked 26th). This has allowed teams to hold leads or stay in games by eating up clock, keeping Philip Rivers and comapny off the field. It seems like the game plan, for most teams facing the Chargers, is to win time of possession and keep a high power Chargers offense (6th in the NFL) from pulling away or coming back in games.
This game against the Jaguars on Monday Night Football will be no easier of a test for the Chargers, who will be facing all-pro Maurice Jones-Drew; a running back that has received the most carries in the NFL.
Although Jacksonville's offense ranks dead last in the NFL, they are effective in the running game, posting 118 yards per game, good for 12th in the NFL.
If the the Chargers are going to win this game, they must prove they can stop MJD. The Jaguars game plan will be to feed MJD the ball (no shocker there) and expose the porous Chargers' run defense.
This will be important test if the Chargers are to have any hopes of staying in the race for the AFC West crown.