By Dave Thomas
>It is easy to get all excited after a week one victory in the NFL; it happens to a number of teams every season.
Face it; some teams pull off upsets and think they’re going to go 16-0 when all is said and done. Others, meantime, win the games they’re forecast to win by a large margin, giving them rather false expectations for the season.
For the San Diego Chargers, the first 30 minutes of football in their season-opener with Detroit this past Sunday looked nothing short of the Keystone Cops. The second 30 minutes, however, proved to be quite a different story.
Coming back and scoring 30 unanswered points to post a thrilling 33-28 win over the Lions, the Bolts proved that they are more than likely never out of a game. On the other hand, they also showed that they will more than likely not be blowing anyone out this season. So, expect a wild ride for much of the season if you’re a fan of the Chargers.
Focus Shifts To Cincinnati
With Detroit in the rear-view mirror, the Chargers have since turned their focus to Cincinnati (1-0) and this Sunday’s date with Andy Dalton and the Bengals.
Fresh-off their 33-13 dismantling of the dismal Oakland Raiders on the road last Sunday, the Bengals appear to once again be in the hunt for the AFC North title chase with Pittsburgh and Baltimore. Two seasons ago, the Chargers traveled to Cincinnati for an AFC Wild Card game and sent the Bengals home before going on to lose by a touchdown at Denver.
This time around, the Bengals appear to once again be a tough obstacle for the Bolts, though Philip Rivers and Co. proved this past weekend that the Chargers will not go quietly.
According to the Chargers, this test Sunday in Ohio will be a good measuring stick for where the team is so early in the season. With Rivers (now tied with legendary Chargers’ QB Dan Fouts with 254 career TD passes) running the offense, however, don’t count the visitors out should they fall behind.
Rivers Just Goes Out And Competes Hard
In comments on Chargers.com following the win over Detroit, San Diego Head Coach Mike McCoy noted that having Rivers under center means the Bolts are always in the game.
McCoy, remarked that whenever you have a quarterback with the skills and heart of Rivers, you always have a chance to come out of the contest with a victory. As McCoy aptly put it in his comments on the website, Rivers is nothing short of the biggest competitor going.
Rivers can expect to face a Bengals’ defense that got little or no test from Oakland in the Bay Area this past weekend.
Yes, the Raiders aren’t exactly the Patriots or the Packers of the NFL, but it was still an impressive win for the Bengals to begin the season.
Cincinnati held Oakland to 246 total yards of offense, while running up 396 of their own. Cornerback Adam Jones was a menace to the Oakland offense, tallying 10 solo stops on the day.
For San Diego to open the season 2-0, it will take a virtually error-free game (Chargers had three turnovers against the Lions) and a defensive effort that harasses Dalton and limits Cincinnati’s ground game.
If those things happen, the Chargers could very easily have a share of the AFC West Division lead with either Kansas City or Denver after week two.
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.