Insider's Take: Bolts vs. Jaguars

San Diego's first six contests were decided by 10 points or less. Then came the Jaguars and an 18-point pummeling. So life is all good in Boltsville, right? Well, not entirely. We examine the good, the bad and everything in between in this week's Insider's Perspective.

What Worked

--Mike McCoy said during the offseason that Philip Rivers could complete 70 percent of his passes in this offense. That goal, which seemed unrealistically lofty at the time, may turn out to be too conservative. Rivers has completed 73.9 percent of his passes, the best mark in the NFL (more than two percent better than the next closest QB, Peyton Manning). The record for highest completion percentage in a season is held by the man Rivers once replaced in San Diego, Drew Brees, who completed 71.23 percent of his passes for the New Orleans Saints in 2011.

--Ryan Mathews became the first player this season to top the 100-yard barrier in consecutive weeks, running for 110 yards on 21 carries (5.2 ypc). It was the first time he has gone over 100 yards while averaging better than 5.0 yards per carry since Dec. 11, 2011 against the Buffalo Bills. The Chargers are 4-0 when Mathews runs for at least 60 yards and 0-3 when he is held under that mark.

--San Diego's pass rush finally hit home. After recording just 14 sacks in the first six games (2.33 per game), the Chargers got six sacks in Jacksonville. Three sacks came from outside linebackers -- two from Thomas Keiser, one from Larry English -- after OLBs accounted for just five sacks through six games. Rookie Jahleel Addae also got in the action with his first career sack, just one play after Corey Liuget recorded his second sack of the season.

What Didn't

--This first one is too easy: the drive at the end of the first half was a disaster. The Chargers ran five plays from inside the Jaguars' 5-yard line and failed to score a point. While McCoy is to be commended for his aggressiveness, there were two key problems with this sequence: 1) Rivers has to throw the ball into the end zone on that final play, no matter what; and 2) against the offensively challenged Jaguars, McCoy should have understood points were at a premium and called plays accordingly.

--The play of the offensive line was remarkable, but so were the injuries endured. King Dunlap suffered his second concussion of the season. His replacement, the recently signed Mike Remmers, was knocked out of the game with an ankle injury just four plays after checking in. The strong play of the offensive line is one of the stories of the season, and coach Joe D'alessandris deserves a ton of credit, but this is still a talent-driven league. The Chargers can only hope their big uglies get plenty of beauty rest over the bye week.

--The bye week comes at a great time from a health perspective, but it could also kill some of the momentum the Chargers have built up after winning consecutive games for the first time this season. Bolts Backers can only hope that is not the case, because the schedule is about to get brutal. Three of San Diego's next four games are on the road, with the only home contest coming against the 6-1 Denver Broncos. The Bolts must split those four games -- at the worst -- to keep their playoff hopes alive.

What's Next?

After the bye, the Chargers go to the nation's capitol to face Robert Griffin III and the Redskins. RGIII is slowly returning to the explosive form he showed as a rookie, which could be bad news for San Diego's porous secondary. On the flip side, Washington is 2-4 with both wins coming over backup QBs (Matt Flynn of the Oakland Raiders and Josh McCown of the Chicago Bears). Rivers, as cited above, is the farthest thing from a backup the NFL has to offer.



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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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