San Diego: What a bad way to go into your bye week. The Chargers looked good for the first half of their game against the Broncos in Week 6, going up 24-0 at the half, only to completely collapse after halftime and lose 35-24.
Why the collapse? Look no further than Philip Rivers, who turned the ball over an incredible six times (four INTs, two fumbles) including a fumble return for a TD and a pick six INT.
Ouch. Now with two whole weeks to think about it, Rivers at least gets a non-terrible matchup in a road game against the Browns.
Of course, seeing what Rivers is capable of, I certainly wouldn’t put it past him to hand the game to the Browns on a powder blue platters.
Even though Rivers has problems, both Malcom Floyd and Antonio Gates remain good starts.
The latter is finally starting to find some of his groove, after appearing like he was sleep walking through molasses for the first part of the year. The Browns rank just 27th in total defense, so Rivers should be able to move the ball at will.
Key to that will be the performance of Ryan Mathews; if Mathews can keep the pressure off Rivers and allow for the outcome of the game to flow through the running attack, the Chargers will likely win this one handedly. I would expect Mathews to get lots of work here, and he makes an great start.
Good Start: QB Philip Rivers, RB Ryan Mathews, WR Malcom Floyd, TE Antonio Gates
Middle of the Road: None
Bad Start: WR Robert Meachem
Cleveland: The Browns certainly look very close to actually putting together a couple of wins in a row. In a visit to fellow rookie Andrew Luck and the Colts in Week 7, Brandon Weeden came one Josh Gordon dropped TD pass away from stealing his second win.
With Rivers’ propensity for allowing teams to hang around, Weeden has a real chance here to finally get that second win under his belt.
The key of course will be whether or not Trent Richardson can suit up, and if he’s actually effective. The Chargers rank a solid 2nd in rushing yards per game though so even if Richardson is a go, he’s not a very good start. However, his mere presence requires the Chargers' defense to pay attention to him, which will free up Weeden to do some of his better work.
If Josh Gordon hangs on to that dropped pass in the sunlight in Indianapolis, the Browns very well could have gone on to win that game. Gordon is still fairly raw, but his talent is really undeniable.
Also, there’s not a lot of other players on the Browns that can threaten a defense, so Weeden will be wise to continue bombing away at a guy who has three long TDs, one in each of the last three games.
Good Start: QB Brandon Weeden, WR Josh Gordon
Middle of the Road: RB Trent Richardson
Bad Start: WR Josh Cooper, TE Ben Watson