San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers is off to one of the best starts of his career through four games in the 2013 season. If it weren’t for Peyton Manning accomplishing some incredible feats of his own, he’d be a shoe-in for AFC Offensive Player of the Month honors.
During Sunday’s win against the Dallas Cowboys, the Chargers had the odds stacked against them, with a high-powered offensive foe pitted against their young defense and a patchwork offensive line that was strewn together amid numerous injuries to key players.
Rivers understood the circumstances better than anyone and recognized his protection publicly.
“They were flat-out awesome,” Rivers told The Darren Smith Show on San Diego’s The Mighty 1090 AM.
King Dunlap, Jeromey Clary and Chad Rinehart were replaced by Mike Harris, Rich Ohrnberger and Johnnie Troutman, leaving D.J. Fluker and Nick Hardwick as the only usual starters. Combined, the group only allowed one sack, and were completely in synch with the offense during no-huddle sequences. They allowed Rivers time to put up the fifth 400-yard game of his career and second this season and continue his torrid pace into October.
One of the things lost on many onlookers is the fact that despite there being three major holes in the line, Fluker is just a rookie with just three NFL games to his credit. Considering how difficult it is for everyone to be in synch at the line of scrimmage even when players have had months together makes the feat against Dallas even more remarkable.
Head coach Mike McCoy was equally impressed and said as much afterward, especially considering the way his staff responded to the Week 3 road loss to the Tennessee Titans.
“[Chargers offensive line coaches Joe D’Alessandris and Andrew Dees] came in first thing Monday and said ‘Don’t worry about it, it’ll get done,'” said McCoy. “And that’s what they did.”
It’s a testament to the strength of the coaching, which for Chargers faithful who lamented the old regime of Norv Turner, is a welcome sight.
Photo Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports
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