…to Week 1 last season when Carolina did the same exact thing…except that time it counted. Not to say that the Chargers didn’t, overall, look pretty darn good. The starting offense was spectacular. Philip Rivers looked just as great as he did last season when he led the league in passer rating. Vincent Jackson had a pair of extraordinary catches (which makes me very happy that I drafted him in one of my fantasy leagues) and Darren Sproles’ (another draft pick o’mine) TD was reminiscent of the Colts/Chargers playoff game last year. Michael Bennett looked fabulous as well with his 48-yd screen pass TD. And rookie Gartrell Johnson (wearing Michael Turner’s old number 33) had another fine second-half performance. I really like this kid. I was also glad to see them utilize Jacob Hester in both tailback and fullback duties as he is another exceptional talent on the team. This also enables Mike Tolbert to get in some playing time. Malcom Floyd deserves mention as well for his knee-down-yet-the-ball-broke-the-plane TD,
Defensively, there were several issues. Quentin Jammer nearly intercepted two passes and Steve Gregory had a sure pick but dropped it. I was also not pleased with the virtual lack of defense until Atlanta was in the red zone (except, of course, for the end of the game, but those weren’t the starters…and, as usual, I digress.) As would be expected, Ron Rivera did NOT look pleased; however, he didn’t resort to Mike Ditka, Bill Cowher, or Jon Gruden-like behavior.
LaDainian Tomlinson and Antonio Gates did not play. Gates has a foot injury which I hope is not serious, but better safe than sorry particularly with the needless injuries to several starters around the league (am I right Tom Brady?!?)
The Chargers finish the preseason at home against San Francisco on Sept. 4th (why do they ALWAYS play SF in the preseason?? Is this some sick and unending 1994-season Super Bowl joke?)