By Dave Thomas
If you had to rate San Diego’s 30-21 win Sunday at home over Seattle on an importance scale of 1 to 10, give it an 11.READ MORE: Asian American Woman Attacked In Alleged Hate Crime In Culver City
After a heartbreaking one-point loss in Arizona this past Monday, the Chargers closed the week with one of their biggest victories in years in front of nearly 68,000 electrified fans Sunday afternoon.
In a gem where you just felt that Seattle (1-1) might rally and leave San Diego (1-1) heartbroken yet again, the Chargers refused in front of the half-and-half crowd to yield.
Even holding a precarious 27-21 lead late in the fourth quarter, the Chargers found a way to come up with several big plays to ice the win on a day where players and probably most fans felt they were in a gym sauna and not at an NFL game.
Holding that six-point lead with under two minutes remaining in the contest, the Chargers managed to stop Seattle QB Russell Wilson on a fourth down pass with 1:46 to go, getting the ball back deep in Seahawks’ territory. From there, Philip Rivers and company milked the clock down to under a minute, where Nick Novak iced the game with a 28-yard field goal. So much for Seattle (6-point favorite entering the game) coming away with the victory.
Stadium Was Electric Most Of The Day
For those in attendance wearing Blue and Gold, the win was likely one of the most satisfying in years.
As is the case with many home Charger games, the crowd is typically somewhat to nearly half supportive of the away team (Raiders, Broncos, Chiefs etc.) and Sunday was certainly no different. A large throng of Seattle fans, however, left the stadium on this warm and humid afternoon one disappointed bunch.
On a day where San Diego played with a ton of emotion, Charger fans saw a team that simply out-competed their opponent.READ MORE: New Chinook Heli-Tankers Available To Firefighters In LA, Orange And Ventura Counties As Wildfire Danger Increases
Granted, San Diego seemed at times to want to give the game away with silly penalties and missed opportunities, but the Bolts came up with the big plays when needed to preserve the victory.
Now the task will be taking that emotion on the road to Buffalo next Sunday to face a surprising Bills squad that is off to a 2-0 start, leaving it as the only undefeated team in the AFC East after week two.
Yes, too early to say Sunday’s win will carry the Chargers on a ride to the playoffs, but it certainly can’t hurt.
As for the Chargers grades on the day:
After running for a meager 52 total yards rushing against Arizona, the Chargers finished with a net rushing total of 101 yards on 37 carries. Certainly not breaking any records along the way, but a better performance to say the least. Starting running back Ryan Mathews left the game in the fourth quarter with a knee injury and did not return. Veteran tight end Antonio Gates had one of his signature games, catching seven balls for 96 yards and three TD’s. Rivers finished with a 28-of-37 performance for 284 yards passing and three TD’s. While the running attack is certainly still a concern (especially with Mathews injured), San Diego was able to move the ball enough on the ground and certainly through the air to thwart Seattle’s stingy defense.
Much like the Chargers offense, the ‘D’ was improved from earlier in the week. San Diego held the explosive Seattle attack to 14 first downs and 108 yards net rushing. Star running back Marshawn Lynch was held to a mere 36 yards rushing, while the Chargers did manage to get in Wilson’s face enough times to cause him discomfort on the day. Although Wilson did throw for 202 yards and a pair of TD’s, he was also sacked twice on the day. The big fourth quarter stand late in the game showed what San Diego’s defense is capable of in critical situations. Shareece Wright led the way with five solo tackles, while Dwight Freeney and Melvin Ingram provided the sacks.
For more Chargers news and updates, visit Chargers Central.MORE NEWS: FAA Proposes Fine Of Over $10,000 For Unruly Passenger On Flight To LA
Dave Thomas has been covering the sports world since his first job as a sports editor for a weekly newspaper in Pennsylvania back in 1989. He has covered a Super Bowl, college bowl games, MLB, NBA and more. His work can be found on Examiner.com.