By Dave Thomas
If you watched the second half of the game Sunday evening between the San Diego Chargers and the New Orleans Saints, several things probably struck you regarding the performance by the Bolts.
- Philip Rivers needs time to throw and not be tasked with having to scramble to pass or try and run for yardage.
- San Diego’s offensive line can either be really good or really bad. On the game’s last offensive drive for the Bolts, they were definitely the latter.
- The Chargers’ secondary is still their greatest Achilles’s heel, especially when the game is on the line.
- San Diego MUST learn how to close out games if it has any hopes of winning the AFC West this season. The Chargers clearly let one slip away in New Orleans Sunday evening. This is a loss that could come back to haunt them should the division race come down to a single game at season’s end.
With that being said, the Chargers kicked off a stretch of important games two weeks ago, now having dropped two out of three.
After a pair of rather easy wins to start the season with Oakland and Tennessee, San Diego began a slate of games against division rivals and traditional powers in the NFC West.
Broncos Will Prove Mighty Test For Chargers
When the Denver Broncos and Peyton Manning come to town next Monday evening, the Chargers have a chance to go to 3-0 against the AFC West this year. As most fans know, records within the division are one of the criteria used should two or more teams finish with the same records at the end of the regular season within their division.
After a bye week, the Chargers travel to Cleveland (Oct. 28), then have a short turn around in hosting division foe Kansas City (Nov. 1). After the Chiefs, San Diego has November at Tampa Bay (Nov. 11), at Denver (Nov. 18) and home with Baltimore (Nov. 25). Given how unpredictable the Buccaneers can be, then throw in dates with tough Denver and Baltimore, November is by no means an easy month.
So, when the Chargers get in another tough contest like they did Sunday with the Saints, will they be able next time to close it out? Given the parity in the NFL, the Bolts will undoubtedly be in some more close match ups the remainder of the season.
In listening to the chatter from the Chargers’ clubhouse after the loss to the Saints, most of the team was lamenting the fact that they let one get away in the Superdome.
The difference between really good teams and just good teams is they find a way to win the tough games, especially on the road in a hostile environment.
San Diego is a good team right now, but not a really good team. That latter category would be reserved at the present for teams like Houston, Atlanta, Baltimore and San Francisco among others.
The Chargers have a chance to make a statement when the Broncos come calling next Monday evening in front of what should be a rare sellout in San Diego.
The question is, will San Diego leave the field a good team or a really good team?
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Dave Thomas is a freelance writer covering all things Chargers. His work can be found on Examiner.com.