By Dave Thomas
While a 4-10 record is certainly nothing to brag about, the San Diego Chargers are feeling a tad better about themselves after last Sunday’s 30-14 home finale victory over the Miami Dolphins.
Unless folks have been living under a rock in San Diego this season, it is well-known that this past Sunday’s home game could have been the final NFL game in San Diego for a bit or even longer. Whether or not the Chargers bolt for Los Angeles come 2016 is still up in the air, but at least San Diego fans got to have one heck of a time with their team in the win over Miami. Despite this season being a major disappointment, a notable number of the more than 66,000 fans who attended Sunday’s game with the Dolphins stayed afterwards to soak it all in, including autographs and pictures with stars like Philip Rivers and Eric Weddle.
With the fanfare of the home season now behind them, the Chargers’ focus turns to a pair of division rivals to close out the season, road trips to Oakland (Dec. 24) and Denver (Jan. 3).
In meetings with the respective AFC West rivals earlier this season at home, San Diego fell to Oakland (37-29) and Denver (17-3). It was safe to say that the Chargers were really not in either game, though they did mount a furious second half rally against the Raiders, only to fall short.
Injuries Continue To Mount
If you’ve watched the Chargers even only just for a few games this season, you know that San Diego’s season has resembled that of a television show shot in a medical ward.
Numerous injuries have derailed a season that could have been, though the Bolts are certainly not using the injuries as an excuse to say what could have been.
Heading into the meeting in Oakland on Christmas Eve, the Chargers will be without another key cog in their offensive attack, rookie running back Melvin Gordon.
The Wisconsin product, who finished his first NFL campaign with 641 yards rushing and no touchdowns, will miss the meeting with the arch-rival Raiders and the season finale in Denver with a season-ending knee injury.
Meantime, all eyes continue to be on Rivers, who has put together another outstanding season, this despite the fact the Chargers have been a mess overall.
The veteran signal caller heads into the Oakland game with 4,287 yards passing on the season, not to mention 26 TDs. It is rather safe to say short of an injury or some really bad play, that Rivers will surpass the 4,500 yard mark in passing this season, along with throwing the ball more than 600 times (577 attempts to date this season).
On the defensive side of the ball, San Diego played one of its best games of the season in the victory over Miami.
In what seemed like punt after punt in the first half of last Sunday’s game, Miami could do very little in moving the ball over the first 30 minutes of play, trailing 23-0 at intermission.
For the day, Miami was held to 231 yards of total offense and only 13 first downs. Jerry Attaochu led the Chargers with eight total tackles, while Mevlin Ingram added a pair of sacks.
With a little taste of victory in their mouths, the Chargers will look to continue that effort Thursday night in Oakland against a team that will also be home for the playoffs, home that is on the couch.
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.