When things aren't going well, you need to try and mix it up. You know, go with something new.
After their 3-game losing streak, the Chargers did just that Thursday night against the Chiefs. But, it wasn't exactly intentional.
Starting wide receivers Robert Meachem and Eddie Royal were both injured and didn't play. Enter Danario Alexander and Seyi Ajirotutu.
The former has been with the team for about two weeks. The latter, for about four days (although, Tutu did play quite a bit with the Bolts in 2010).
Lo and behold, on the very first series of the game, there's Philip Rivers hitting Tutu on 3rd down, a great diving 28-yard catch to keep a drive alive. On another drive, another 3rd down, Alexander got in to the act with a 30-yard reception to prolong a drive that ended with points.
Combined these two had 4 catches for 89 yards in San Diego's 31-13 win. The Chiefs kind of had to be asking, "Who are these guys?" Interestingly, so were some of the Chargers.
"I was just talking to some of the defensive linemen," said linebacker Jarret Johnson, "I was like, all these receivers they brought in. First of all, I didn't know who they were. Second of all, I didn't know they were going to play. Not only did those guys play, but they played huge. They extended drives, they converted 3rd downs. Huge, man. I need to go over and introduce myself and find out who those dudes are. It's awesome having them."
Of the two, the impact of Ajirotutu was the least surprising. He got a game ball for his 100-yard, two touchdown performance against the Texans two years ago and remembered most of the offensive playbook.
"It was like a crash course in the last few days, so it was cool," said Ajirotutu. "I knew what to do, I'm just glad my team mates and my coaches could trust me enough to go out and make the play."
Alexander was cut at the end of training camp by the Rams, and just picked up in mid-October by the Chargers. He played against the Browns in Cleveland but didn't make a catch. But, the 6-foot, 5-inch wideout has plenty of physical tools and sees a promising future in San Diego.
"Yeah, of course, it is just the beginning," said Alexander. "I'm still getting used to the playbook and getting used to being on the same page with Philip."
As for Meachem and Royal, Norv Turner said Friday both have a chance to practice next Wednesday and play next Sunday in Tampa Bay. But, with the way their fill-ins played, I think the Chargers feel just fine with whomever they have on the field.