SD 12 MN 10
The Chargers have won their third straight preseason game vs the Minnesota Vikings. Pulling off a last minute drive to kick the game winning field goal. Though they are winning games, the team has a long way to go before week one against the Raiders.
Let's start with the good.The Chargers defense was incredible. They forced turnovers, were generally making solid tackles, and were swarming to the ball wherever it was. They had stopped the Vikings from driving and were flushing Ponder out of the pocket. We are seeing more and more of this as the season continues and the more the coaches mix up the play calls. Chargers fans can be really excited about a defense like this. Especially with how well they faired on third down. Since the Chargers were last in the league in 2011 they have made it a point to improve, and they have immensely. Forcing several three and outs.
The defense did lose Melvin Ingram to a thigh bruise, but is expected to return very shortly. In addition, the team is very deep.
Larry English was putting great pressure on the QB, Recording two sacks at MN.
The offense had a lot of missed opportunities. Especially with dropped, catchable balls. Meachem's dropped ball immediately comes to mind. He cannot miss big play opportunities like that in a regular season game. That being said, they are at least setting up good plays and getting open. Also, Meachem has more chemistry with starter Philip Rivers, not an excuse to drop balls, but hiccups like that do happen.
The Bolts are trouble if they can't get back Center Nick Hardwick and Left Tackle Jared Gaither. Rookie Mike Harris let pro-bowl DE Jared Allen in nearly every play. Same with the middle, there were many times where the linebacker was able to rush in through the middle nearly untouched. Charger fans shouldn't be worried yet, the team is remaining hopeful on their return for week one.
The replacement referees made their presence felt in the game Friday. Some of the calls, on either side of the ball, were just ridiculous. Norv Turner quickly challenged them and won. It will be a big concern, for all fans, if they continue to officiate the games. Some crews are better than others, but the old crew needs to come back for the sake of fans sanity and football as a professional sport.
Chargers will head into the last preseason game with the return of WR Eddie Royal. He missed much of training camp and three preseason games with a groin injury. The team will be thrilled to have him back to make them a little more potent on offense.
The Chargers will travel to San Francisco to face the 49ers in the last week of preseason.
Be sure to check out other great articles at Sports Media 101.