Despite the hilariously schizophrenic nature of the San Diego Chargers, a lot of people gave them a fair shot at handing the Green Bay Packers their first loss of the season.
In kind of made sense, all things considered.
Coming into the game, the Chargers had choked away two straight against the New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs – something that theoretically should have made them hungry for a victory. Quarterback Phillip Rivers had thrown a league-leading 11 interceptions, but he was going up against a Green Bay defense that ranked 31st in the league against the pass. And, most importantly, the Packers were coming off a bye week -- which killed all of their momentum -- and being forced to play a tough road game – not the best way to get back into the swing of things.
Of course, all of that proved to be completely and totally inconsequential as the Packers thumped the Chargers 45-38 on Sunday.
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Even though they were able to kind of, sort of nip at Green Bay’s heels throughout the day, San Diego never led and never actually threatened to lead. Rivers, amazingly, threw three more interceptions in this one – two of which were ultimately returned for touchdowns. And that rust that was supposed to be problematic for the defending champions? Aside from some miscues by the receivers and some special team weirdness, not so much.
Once again, quarterback Aaron Rodgers was masterful on Sunday – even if the total yardage doesn’t jump off the page the way it usually does. He went 21-of-26 for 247 passing yards and four touchdowns. Wide receiver Jordy Nelson ended up being the main beneficiary of Rodgers’ fantastic showing with 105 yards and a score for the day.
Even though the Green Bay defensive unit has gotten a lot of flak this year, Charlie Peprah and Tramon Williams deserve quite a bit of shine for their bigtime interceptions. The latter, in particular, sealed the game for his Packers when he picked off Rivers with less than a minute remaining in the outing.
The victory featured its share of blunders by the defending champs, but that’s commonplace over the course of a long and strenuous NFL season. When you factor in that this team, after being off for an entire week, was able to go into San Diego and escape with a ‘W’ despite the special teams gaffes and questionable overall defense, you realize just how lethal they'll be when things are actually going their way.
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Next up, with eight straight wins under their belt, the Packers get the Minnesota Vikings at home.
Good luck, Minnesota.