Game Primer, Week 2: Bolts-Eagles

Chip Kelly's up-tempo offense was the talk of the league in Week 1. The Chargers will look to quell the buzz and enter the win column as they face his Eagles in Philadelphia. We set this table for this inter-confernce clash by analyzing all five phases of Sunday's game.

When the Chargers Run

Ryan Mathews started the new season with a bang, catching a 15-yard scoring strike on San Diego's first offensive play. But after that, he did little to impress. He averaged just 2.5 yards on 13 carries and failed to pick up a single rushing yard after intermission. He will have to be better in Week 2 as the Chargers look to control the clock and prevent Chip Kelly's offense from running an absurd number of plays.

Philadelphia's run defense was not tested much in Week 1. The Eagles built an early lead that forced Washington to abandon its running game (Alfred Morris, last year's second-leading rusher, got only 12 attempts). The Chargers aim to avoid that same trap so they can test Billy Davis' newly installed 3-4 defense.

When the Chargers Pass

Philip Rivers was mostly sharp in the season-opener, throwing four touchdown passes against one interception. Unfortunately, all of those scores came in the game's first 35 minutes and that interception came in back-breaking fashion, a pick-six that allowed the Texans to complete their impressive rally. He will have to avoid those mistakes against the Eagles, who turned three Washington turnovers into 14 points last week.

The key, as always, is giving Rivers time to throw. Expect a strong game from left tackle King Dunlap, who spent the first five years of his career with the Eagles.

The hope is that one of San Diego's pass catchers will get hot after no player caught more than three passes or finished with more than 49 yards against the Texans. Look for Antonio Gates to be featured heavily, as he does well exploiting 3-4 defenses. Also, his veteran presence will be steadying in San Diego's first road test of the year.

When the Eagles Run

LeSean McCoy is coming off a monster game in which he carried 31 times for 184 yards and a score. The Eagles caught Washington off guard by spreading the field and running out of passing formations. The Chargers must be ready for this tactic. Eric Weddle will be active near the line of scrimmage. Big games are also needed from Corey Liuget and Donald Butler.

A great matchup between two young studs will take place on the left side of the Chargers' defense. Kendall Reyes will lock horns with rookie Lane Johnson, who would have been San Diego's first-round pick this year had he still been on the board at No. 11.

When the Eagles Pass

It is almost unbelievable that the Chargers are still preparing to face Michael Vick more than 12 years after they passed on the chance to take him with the first overall pick in 2001. Vick shined in his first game under Coach Kelly (203 passing yards, 54 rushing yards, three total TDs), but he still has an unshakable reputation for making bad decisions under duress. It is up to San Diego's defense to make sure he never gets comfortable.

Dwight Freeney was extremely active last week but he needs more help. If Larry English can finally emerge as a legitimate secondary pass rusher, it will make life easier on everybody. In the interim, John Pagano needs to do a better job of rotating his defensive linemen so that Liuget and Reyes are fresher in the fourth quarter.

The secondary needs to tighten things up, especially in third-and-long situations. That problem is no easy fix against DeSean Jackson and the Eagles, but that is why the Chargers went out and got Derek Cox this offseason -- he must play like the No. 1 cornerback he is paid to be.

Just for Kicks

Fozzy Whittaker gained 42 yards on his only kickoff return last week. Coach Mike McCoy hopes he found something in Whittaker, as the Chargers need to win the third phase to win this game.

Mike Scifres must be very careful punting to Jackson. He will rely on directional punting and do his best to prevent Jackson from having room to run.

Nick Novak did not attempt a field goal in Week 1. His counterpart, Philadelphia's Alex Henery, was good from 48 yards, so distance is not an issue for him.



What do you expect from the Chargers-Eagles game? Talk in the message boards.



Michael Lombardo is a long-time contributor to the Scout.com network. His analysis has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports. He has followed the Chargers for more than 16 years and covered the team since 2003. You can see more of his updates by following him on twitter.


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