Lightning has been striking frequently this season already. The Chargers are playing like a completely different team than last year. Melvin Gordon is getting into the end zone and running with tenacity. Rivers is playing just as well as he always does, but his supporting cast is playing better. The biggest improvement is in defensive play (minus the second half meltdown in KC Week 1).
The Chargers have taken pressure off of Rivers with Gordon spearheading the rushing attack that is currently third in the league. Granted, that will take a step back depending on Woodhead’s injury. Gordon has entered the end zone three times after not scoring a touchdown at all last year.
Injuries abound in NFL with players like San Diego Chargers running back Danny Woodhead going down https://t.co/kG2AjgEYIe
— Dennis J. Freeman (@DennisJFreeman) September 19, 2016
Travis Benjamin and Tyrell Williams have been surprisingly adequate targets and they will have to continue to step up as Keenan Allen is injured again. Allen tore his ACL in the second half against KC in Week 1 and is out for the season. With Benjamin and Williams stepping up and the Tight End combination of Henry and Gates, Rivers should have enough options to keep the ball moving. This passing game is going to struggle now and then, especially without Woodhead splitting the load with Gordon and coming out of the backfield as a receiver.
San Diego showed the 2015 version of themselves during the second half in KC, but they changed that against Jacksonville. The Jags potent offense was held to 14 points and the Chargers D forced Bortles into two picks and closed out the game the way they started. The difference is they kept the Jags from ever getting back into the game, which seems to be the only way the Chargers can win. Last season, the Chargers lost nine games by eight points or less and they’re already 0-1 in such games this season.
The Chargers have been impressive for a team that was 4-12 last season, but Rivers must get his team (mainly defense) more motivated to win the close ones if they want to get a spot in the AFC playoffs.