After 13 years of frustration the Chargers have finally pulled off a playoff victory, allowing me to postpone the kvetching on their playoff sucktitude for at least a week.
Philip Rivers stepped up in this game with Tennessee stuffing the run game. He did some things that good quarterbacks do, finally -
- Footwork with the rush on. One one occasion he steps through the rush and fires downfield. Classic standing tall in the pocket quarterbacking. On other occasions he side-stepped away from the rush to buy a little more time before getting rid of the ball.
- Hard pass fakes before launching the ball in the other direction.
- Mixing his cadence and/or putting a hard count in at the snap. This drew their big nose tackle Albert Haystack offsides a couple times.
Those are classic trademarks of a quality QB. His decision making is still suspect but I think he's all of 25 years old or something like that. Hopefully it will come in time.
His mechanics still bug the ever-loving stuffing out of me, but it's 20 years too late to fix that.
Another thing he can work on is his play fake to the RB. Don't even waste your time on that unless you're going to really do it right. A good play fake freezes defensive backs and opens up some deep routes for your receivers.
One last thing that impressed me -- the combination of Chris Chambers and Vincent Jackson at the wideout positions. Both had over a hundred yards today, and I can't really remember the last time a couple WR's did that on a San Diego team. Chambers has been a godsend since they acquired him mid-season from Miami. The WR core looked like the keystone cops until he arrived. Not only has his play been solid since he arrived, but he's elevated the play of Jackson. This may be just-in-time as Antonio Gates look like he got hurt in the middle of game.
Nearing the end of the game I received phone calls from a former co-worker, my mom, my father-in-law, and a text message from my half-brother. It is true, I need to be talked down from the ledge this time of year.