Anyone who knows the Chargers organization will tell you that the team never really makes a strong start. In fact, San Diego is a team that plays the same on the road as they do at home. From week to week, you never know what you are going to get.
The team posted a 5-3 record at Qualcomm in 2011 and when the Tennessee Titans come to town on Sunday, they will have a four game winning streak against the Titans on their side. The eye-popping statistic is that San Diego has not lost to Tennessee since the club was the Houston Oilers in 1992.
One thing that could hurt the Chargers’ running game is Ryan Mathews’ possibly sitting out the game due to him still recovering from a broken collarbone suffered in the preseason. The team rushed 20 times for a measly 32 yards but they still managed to overcome a mean Oakland team that wouldn’t give up, led by Darren McFadden. Even though Rivers had to settle for quick, short routes, he completed 24 of his 33 passes for 231 yards and a score. With QB Philip Rivers playing like that, they may not need Mathews’.
With Rivers not committing any turnovers and connecting on a high percentage of his passes, the four-time Pro Bowler is already looking great- which is more than we can say for last year when he threw 20 interceptions and had 25 total turnovers. When he protects the ball and don’t commit a turnover, San Diego wins. In fact they are 22-3 in his career as a starter in San Diego. If the offensive line protects Rivers and allows less than two sacks, the QB is 36-11.
No matter what Rivers and the OL do to improve, they need a running game. Coach Norv Turner states that Mathews has not been cleared to start yet, or even play a single down. The medical staff is still taking the necessary steps to ensure he is healthy enough to practice. Mathews, who played in 14 games in 2011, ran for 1,091 yards.
The running game was so abysmal for San Diego that only one team was worse in the rushing category in Week 1- you guessed it- Tennessee. They managed only 20 yards against the Patriots at home. Chris Johnson, who is thought to be one of the best backs in the league had only 11 carries the whole night and managed four yards. The Titans do not want Johnson to have another start like he did last year, when he started the year with 366 yards rushing in the first eight games.
San Diego, though, looks to stop Johnson dead in his tracks as they did the Raiders running game. Last week versus Oakland, they held the team to just 45 yards.
It looks like the Chargers can finally get off to a good start and might finish strong as well. Chargers’ fans need to keep their bolts crossed because it is way too early in the season to think about the Super Bowl.
Prediction: Chargers all over this one 35-17
About the Author
Written by John "Hawkeye" Smith
Freelance Journalist and Sports Writer. Sports Columnist for the Greensboro News & Record. I have a Masters in Journalism and a Bachelors in History from Duke University. I was born in Ireland but moved to the United States when I was young. Joined the U.S. Army a day after my 18th birthday and spent several years stationed overseas with most of those deployed in combat- voluntarily.