To us fans, it looked simple. Naanee beat his man; Rivers hit him in stride. The play only took six seconds to complete, but an awful lot happened during that time. Here's how Naanee described it.
"It was basically four vertical routes, and they were in cover-2, so it put stress on the safety with the tight end going up the seam on the outside."
Um ... right. Can you please describe that so my wife would understand it?
"Basically, with a cover-2, you have to keep the spacing on the field," Naanee said. "The corner is trying to funnel you into the safety [in the middle of the field], and as long as you don't get hit by the corner and you get up the field, you're going to score."
All right, that makes more sense. What doesn't make sense is how darn good these guys are. For a wideout to diagnose the coverage, beat his man off the line, run full speed for 30 yards, catch a ball with two large men ready to unload on him, then keep two feet inbounds while tightrope walking down the sideline is amazing. To do all that in six seconds is freakish. For Legedu, it's easy. He sees the field from two different perspectives. Rivers explains it like this.
"One thing Legedu has always had is a great feel and understanding for the game. He went to college as a quarterback, so he has that feel in the passing game that you love to have in a wide receiver."
Naanee started all four years of his high school football career at quarterback. He went to Boise St. as a passer. Naanee didn't move to wideout full-time until his junior year. Now in his third year with the Chargers, he knows where his quarterback wants him, and he has the athletic ability to get there. If he and Rivers can keep the connection they showed in their Saturday night cameo against the Bears, Chargers fans won't miss Vincent Jackson for very long.