After a tough week one in a rainy Kansas City, the Chargers responded Sunday, looking impressive in their home opener with a win over the well-traveled Jacksonville Jaguars.
Even with the early injury to rookie running back Ryan Matthews, the Chargers managed to hand the Jags a 38-13 beat down. Thanks in large to the surprisingly explosive running of back up big man Mike Tolbert, who rushed for 82 yards on 16 carries; and the team’s defense, who held the Jaguars to 13 points, caused 6 turnovers (tying a Jag’s record) and held the explosive MJD to just 31 yards on 13 carries.
With the continued absence of Vincent Jackson, tight end Antonito Gates continues to make himself available, filling the roll as the team’s #1 in the receiver’s absence. The Pro Bowl tight end had two touchdowns Sunday -- that’s three in two games -- and looks to be Rivers’ first option, goal line or otherwise.
Despite three interceptions (two comming form tipped passes), the passing game looked fluid. But, it’s no secret, for the Charger’s passing game to remain successful, they have to run the ball effectively. And if Matthews has to sit, Tolbert and Sproles will be called on to handle the load.
Week two’s match up against the 1-1 Seattle Seahawks will be an early test for the Chargers. With a questionable Matthews, and a tough road opponent looking to revenge their horrifying week two loss to the Broncos, the Chargers cannot afford to play the way they did against the Chiefs in week one.
The Chargers will once again rely on Gates to be the go-to guy the team desperately needs. If he can be successful -- despite certain double coverage -- and the Chargers Defense plays half the game it did against the Jags, look for the chargers to hand the volatile Seahawks their second loss in as many weeks.