There is life in the San Diego Chargers, and Philip Rivers gave it to them on Monday night.
And don’t let Jacksonville’s lowly record fool you.
The Jaguars fell to 3-9 after Chargers throttled them 38-14 on Monday night—a win that the Chargers needed desperately, snapping the team’s longest losing streak in a decade (six losses).
But the 3-9 record is a damning one. How impressive is a win for the Chargers over Jacksonville if the team they just beat is not in last place in its division because of the winless Indianapolis Colts?
It’s impressive when you look at the numbers.
The Jaguars were the fourth-best defense in the NFL heading into Week 13. They allowed just 183.4 passing yards per game heading into Monday night. In the 11 games prior to its loss to San Diego, Jacksonville held opposing quarterbacks to under 200 yards passing seven times.
Ben Roethlisberger barely got to 200 yards passing against the Jaguars defense.
Yet, Philip Rivers looked like his old self against one of the stingiest pass defenses in the NFL this year.
Rivers led San Diego to what could be a season-saving win. And it looked like the Philip Rivers that led the NFL in passing yards and touchdowns last season.
Rivers was accurate, efficient and was aggressive in orchestrating the Chargers passing game. He went 22-for-28 for 294 yards and three touchdown passes as the usually potent San Diego passing game came back to life.
Rivers was an uber-efficient 6-for-7 in the second half, for 92 yards and a touchdown.
This was the old Philip Rivers. This was the old Chargers passing game.
What aided the Pro Bowl quarterback was that he had a full compliment of receivers for the first time since Week 8, and probably had his weapons at 100 percent for the first time all season.
Malcolm Floyd returned to the lineup. Antonio Gates looked healthy for the first time all year. Vincent Jackson was his old self again.
The trio combined for 14 catches for 250 yards and two scores. Floyd led all receivers with 108 yards receiving, including a 52-yard touchdown. Jackson himself had a 35-yard score.
Add in Vincent Brown, who scored on a 22-yard touchdown pass, the weapons that Rivers employs finally look sharp.
Now the question is, are the Chargers back on track? With four games to go and just two back of the division leading Broncos and Raiders, can San Diego do what it has be known to do—go a perfect December en route to a division title?
Rivers improved to 23-2 in the month of December as a starter. Head coach Norv Turner has been there for 18 of those games.
If San Diego keeps playing like this, who knows where the team will be in January.
This is what the Chargers are supposed to play like. This is what the offense is supposed to look like.
It was a nice reminder, but it may have come a little too late to save the season.
San Diego has one month to prove otherwise.
For more info: Visit our San Diego Chargers Examiner, Dave Thomas. For more on the NFL, visit our NFL Examiner Danny Cox. Follow me on Twitter. Like us on Facebook.