Last weeks loss against the Houston Texans was a huge disappointment for San Diego Charger Fans. It is days later and I am still in shock. Since there is nothing we can do to turn back the clock, it is time to look forward to the Eagles. For the Bolts first road game of 2013, the Chargers head east to take on the Philadelphia Eagles. This Sunday’s game is set for a 10:00am (Charger Time) kickoff at Lincoln Financial Field. This is the 11th time the Chargers and the Eagles have met and the Bolts lead the series 6-4.
Chargers ~ Offense
Philip Rivers and Eddie Royal connected for two of Rivers four TD passes last week, career highs for both. Ryan Mathews had his first touchdown catch and Vincent Brown had his first touchdown since 2011. Even with these stats, the Chargers were not very efficient on third down, converting only 7 of 14. However, they were a perfect 4 of 4 on touchdowns in the red zone and 3 of 3 in goal to-go situations. They also converted their lone fourth down attempt. Of note, Philip Rivers has faced the Eagles once before, in 2009, leading the Chargers to a 31-23 win. That afternoon, Rivers completed a season-high 80.0 percent of his passes (20 of 25) for 231 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. His passer rating that day (131.8) was his fourth-highest of the 2009 season.
Eagles ~ Offense
Apparently, people have been wanting to see a Chip Kelly offense in the NFL, and the Eagles seem to be with the program. The Eagles ran 77 total plays and gained 443 yards of total offense, including 184 yards and a touchdown on the ground from running back LeSean McCoy and 104 yards and a touchdown through the air from wide receiver DeSean Jackson. The Eagles 263 yards rushing was the most in the league, and were a whopping 92 yards more than the second best from Week 1.
Chargers ~ Defense
The Bolts linebackers had a good game against the Texans, and the team will look at the unit once again to help slow down the Eagles offense. Inside linebackers Bront Bird (starting for the still injured Manti Te’o) had 14 tackles and Donald Butler had13 tackles and a half of a sack. Jarrett Johnson had a sack and a pass deflected leading to a Cam Thomas (aka, Baby Zilla) interception. Dwight Freeney had the other half sack and consistently put pressure on the QB the entire game. Look for the Chargers to put the blitz on Vick to keep him from running. Also, now that we know the 15 yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Cam Thomas was a mistake by the referee, allowing the Texans four more down attempts, and a subsequent touchdown there may be some pent up frustration there. Of note, Dwight Freeney earned his first-career AFC Defensive Player of the Week Award after registering a sack and three forced fumbles in his first-career start at Philadelphia.
Eagles ~ Defense
Defensively, the Eagles forced Washington to pass 49 times and held them to 2-of-10 on third downs, they collected three sacks, and cornerbacks Cary Williams and Brandon Boykin both had interceptions. I would be expecting them to be preparing their guys to focus on Mathews and Rivers. This should leave lots of room for Gates, Floyd and Royal to get it done in the air. Of note, when Kelly was asked if he thought he should load up and stop the run, he said “fortunately, I don’t need to”. Not very classy Chip.
By the Numbers
For the year, the Chargers rank 27th in total offense (263.0 yards per game), 24th in passing (183.0 ypg), 18th in rushing (80.0 ypg) and eighth in points (28.0). The Eagles rank sixth in total offense (443.0 ypg), 25th in passing (180.0 ypg), first in rushing (263.0 ypg) and fifth in points (33.0)
Defensively, the Bolts rank 28th in total defense (449.0 ypg), 26th in passing (329.0 ypg), 25th in rushing (120.0 ypg) and 26th in points allowed (31.0). Philadelphia ranks 21st in total defense (382.0 ypg), 24th in passing (308.0 ypg), 13th in rushing (74.0 ypg) and 20th in points allowed (27.0).