Will the Chargers continue the tradition of Norv-ember? Or will it be another case of one step…
Bolts Notebook: 11-6
While it's too early for scoreboard watching, the Chargers did not get the results they hoped for Sunday. The Denver Broncos delivered another fourth-quarter comeback to author a 31-23 road victory over the Cincinnati Bengals, maintaining a one-game lead in the AFC West.
Elsewhere, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Indianapolis Colts both earned victories over winning teams (the New York Giants and Miami Dolphins, respectively) to run their records to 5-3, one game better than the Chargers. If the playoffs started today, Norv Turner's team would be on the outside looking in for the third straight season.
Taking it to the Streets
Philip Rivers has missed Vincent Jackson, no doubt. But it's important to remember that Rivers' best season came in 2010, a year in which Jackson played in only five games due to an extended contract dispute. That year, Rivers shined playing with an unheralded group of pass catchers including Patrick Crayton, Kelley Washington, Legedu Naanee and Seyi Ajirotutu.
Fast forward to the present and Rivers' marquee receivers -- Robert Meachem and Eddie Royal -- are battling hamstring injuries and struggling to fit into the offense. So with Jackson on the opposite side of the field, Rivers again turns to some unheralded receivers --Danario Alexander and Ajirotutu, again! -- as he looks to spark a passing attack that ranks a disappointing No. 22.
Ready to Run
Tampa Bay rookie RB Doug Martin is garnering national attention. One week after he topped 200 yards from scrimmage and scored a pair of touchdowns against the Minnesota Vikings, he bust loose for 251 yards against the Oakland Raiders. He hopes to shred San Diego's No. 4 run defense in a similar manner.
Flying under the radar is Ryan Mathews, who has yet to crack the 100-yard barrier this season. He has averaged 4 yards per carry or better in five of six games and has at least one run of 11 yards or more in each of his last five outings. The Buccaneers have the league's top-ranked run defense, giving Mathews an opportunity to prove he is indeed an elite back. To paraphrase: to be among the best, he must shine against the best.
Can the Chargers slow RB Doug Martin? Talk about it inside the message boards.
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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