There are some important stats from last night's Chargers - Broncos game that should be remembered. Of course, there's the obvious and relatively standard "52 points and that's all that matters because it was how many the Chargers scored in a win" thing. But more importantly, how about the 38.3 points per game that San Diego has averaged against Denver with Philip Rivers at quarterback? Or perhaps "9-0", which is Norv Turner's record as Chargers head coach in December? (I know, I'm shocked too.)
But I suppose you'll blame me for giving the Superchargers too much credit; Denver, after all, had three chances (against Oakland and Buffalo, no less) to close out the AFC West and get Turner fired. Instead, San Diego kept winning, Denver kept losing and all of sudden, flex sked in hand, there was a 60 minute slugfest scheduled for Sunday night, where the winner got the playoffs and the loser got mocked for being odd man out in a horrible division.
Except "slugfest" isn't a proper description of the game. "Beatdown" or "one sided blowout by the Chargers" would be a better way to describe it. Rivers was spectacular, LaDanian Tomlinson was revived, Darren Sproles was continually elusive and San Diego romped the Broncos.
Of course, the underlying theme of this whole game -- division title and rivalry aside -- was whether or not Ed Hochuli could be redeemed from an early season botch-job at the end of these two teams' first matchup. He was, which is nice, I suppose, but it still doesn't excuse him per se.
Also inexcusable is the whole "giving up 112 points in three games" thing, which is precisely what Denver's defense just did ... yet, Mike Shanahan is saying that his d-coordinator is going to return next year and that there aren't any changes in store for the Broncos coaches.
That's not to excuse Jay Cutler from any blame (or the offense in general, Tatum Bell inexplicably aside). He did, after all, look pretty miserable before landing his first touchdown after after halftime.
The Chargers might fall to the Colts (might being a strong possibility, although I for one tend to think they match up well) but the result of this game was still them winning a divisional championship. Of course, the other result was finding out that the AFC West is just slightly better than the NFC West -- at least in terms of their ability to go against any other out of division teams -- and that there's some serious work to do on the entire conference before it starts to challenge for a Super Bowl again.
San Diego 52, Denver 21: Hate on Philip Rivers All You Want But He Owns the Broncos originally appeared on NFL FanHouse on Mon, 29 Dec 2008 16:45:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.