The two words that drive sport fans nuts, moral victory. What is a moral victory? Well, I have no idea, because it doesn’t exist, not in sports at least. Moral victories are for math problems and kindergarten teachers. The San Diego Chargers (4-5) lost for the second straight week, losing to the Denver Broncos (8-1) 28-20.
So was holding the potent Denver offense to their lowest score of the season considered a ‘moral victory,’ I don’t think so. It was really a tale of two halves
Sunday as the Chargers defense couldn’t stop the Peyton Manning to Demaryius Thomas connection, as they hooked up for 3 touchdowns on the day.
Going into the game, one of the keys was the Chargers’ secondary playing physical at the line and bumping the Broncos receivers to disrupt the timing of the routes. So predictably in the first half they played soft and allowed the Denver receivers unimpeded off the line, which allowed Manning to make quick, accurate passes. On top of that, the Chargers porous defense had all sorts of problems wrapping up and tackling. During Denver’s’ first drive of the game, a short pass to tight end Julius Thomas went for 74 yards after numerous missed tackles.
Then it was time for the other Thomas, wideout Demaryius Thomas, who reeled in 2 first half touchdowns from 11 and 7 yards out and added a final touchdown from 34 yards away in the third quarter. Although, I can’t be too bummed by this because he is on my fantasy team. (Go me!)
I think someone finally told defensive coordinator John Pagano that his schemes weren’t going too well because after that third quarter touchdown the Chargers D stepped up. Literally, they stepped up closer to the line of scrimmage and starting jamming the receivers off the line and disrupting the routes. Wow, I wonder who knew that would have worked out (sarcastic voice). Regardless, with the receivers being harassed at the line, Manning was finally under more pressure in the second half as the pass rush got to him, including a sack and a forced fumble the Chargers recovered that lead to a touchdown in the third quarter.
The other key to the game, was scoring touchdowns and not settling for field goals, which has been a bugaboo for the Chargers offense all season. They settled for 2-second quarter field goals and the usually sure-footed Nick Novak missed on a 37-yard kick and in turn lead to another Denver scoring drive.
The offense certainly let the team down in the second half, when the defense stepped up and held Denver to only 7 points, which in itself is a modern day miracle; the Chargers offense struggled to stay consistent. The scary thing is the Chargers dominated time of possession, 38:03 to 21:57, but I guess that’s what happens when the Denver offense has touchdown drives of: 57 seconds, 2:27, 1:25, and 3:26. Not even kidding, you can’t even score that fast in Madden on All-Pro (possible exaggeration) and the Denver offense did it this past Sunday.
I can’t see a future where John Pagano is the Chargers defensive coordinator. Enough is enough, with his soft zones and poor schemes, it’s driving the fan base nuts. I understand the personal is a wee bit on the terrible side, I’m well aware, but at some point you have to put them in a position to at least start improving and give them a chance. I mean, they only gave up 7 points in the whole second half against one of the most productive offenses ever. So there is certainly room for improvement and it starts with playing some bump and run coverage and letting some of the talented front seven get in the opposing quarterbacks’ face.
Up next: The Chargers will be taking their talents (another possible exaggeration) to South beach in a show down with the Dolphins, who by the way, lost this past weekend to the Jaguars (the previously defeated, meaning no wins, Jaguars). So I’m very optimistic and hopeful the Chargers can come out with a victory here and get back to .500 and possible playoff berth (keep the faith!!!!!).
Check back for the preview of the Dolphins, Bolts game tomorrow.
As for the Broncos, they get the luxury of going back home and facing the only undefeated team left in the NFL, the 9-0 Chiefs. Huge AFC West divisional matchup that will have playoff implications on the line! Stay tuned.