(Philip Rivers photos courtesy of San Diego Chargers)
By Clark Judge
Talk of Fame Network
There is no underselling the importance of what happened with San Diego Sunday. Reason: The Bolts may have done more than score an improbable come-from-behind victory.
They may have saved their season.
I know, that's a leap -- especially considering this franchise's recent history -- but look what happened in Atlanta. The Chargers broke out of character and didn’t blow a game down the stretch. Honest. In fact, they did just the opposite -- making all the right moves in the fourth quarter to overcome what had been a 17-point deficit and send the game into overtime.
But it didn’t stop there. They made two critical stops in OT, too, when Atlanta had one yard to gain and scored a second straight victory for the first time since November, 2014.
So, maybe, just maybe, the Bolts have learned how to win. More important, maybe, just maybe, they learned how to win on the road. Prior to Sunday, they were 1-11 in their last 12 road games. .... and keep that in mind because the litmus test is next week in Denver.
But then there's the team they beat: Atlanta. That’s the second straight loss for the Falcons, and the second straight week they squandered a fourth-quarter lead. Plus, the defeat not only tightens the NFC South, but it brings back memories of last year when Atlanta started 5-0, then lost eight of its last 11.
Yep, the Falcons are a quality team. But they fell apart before. They could do it again.
(Matt Stafford photo courtesy of Detroit Lions)
- Beware Detroit. That was the Lions' fourth straight come-from-behind win in a season where all their games have been decided by seven or fewer points -- including the past four where 10 points separated winner from loser. Good teams find ways to win the close ones, and the Lions are beginning to do that.
- It's not just that 4-0 road record that's so impressive about Oakland. It's where those victories occurred: The last two were in the Eastern Time Zone, and the other two were in the Central.
- Remind me again what Ben McAdoo was going to do for Eli Manning and the Giants' offense.
- Don’t blame Kirk Cousins for that Washington loss. The Redskins' defense self-destructed down the stretch … without Josh Norman. And that's no coincidence.
- That’s 418 yards rushing for Jay Ajayi the last weeks – or 114 more than he had his entire career.
- When does a tie feel like a loss? When you're the Arizona Cardinals. No way they should have let that victory get away.
- Someone tell Jeff Fisher he has Todd Gurley on his team.
- Yes, the Giants rediscovered a running game. Unfortunately, it's safety Landon Collins doing the best running.
- I don’t care how many times the NFL tries to explain away the Josh Brown situation, it blew it. It spent millions on a flimsy Deflategate case but didn’t care enough to make more than a few phone calls into what happened with Brown? Pathetic.
- Chip Kelly is 9-18 over his last 27 starts, including 1-6 this year. Nevertheless, linebacker Aaron Lynch insists the 49ers are "possibly one of the best teams in the league." That's his opinion. Here's mine: They're possibly one of the worst.
- Can't wait to see the ratings for that Jacksonville-Tennessee Thursday night game. Two teams going nowhere … unless, of course, they're going to London.
- Tackles that can pass protect without holding are urged to contact Pete Carroll in Seattle ASAP.
- Now we know where Minnesota is vulnerable. Will the offensive line please report to the principal's office?
- Well, at least Geno Smith's last start for the Jets was a victory.
- This is where we find out about Buffalo. The Bills lost a bad one Sunday. Now, New England is up next. Uh-oh.
- Bad news for Minnesota fans: The last 13 years the last undefeated team during the season did not win the Super Bowl.
- Maybe Marc Trestman wasn’t the problem in Baltimore. The Ravens are 0-2 since he left, with quarterback Joe Flacco circling the drain. He has no touchdowns and two interceptions.
- Since winning the Super Bowl, Flacco is 24-25. Just sayin.'
- Blake Bortles just makes too many mistakes for Jacksonville to survive. He's had only seven games in his career where he hasn’t committed a turnover, and the Jags are 5-2 there. In all others, they're 5-23. NBC's Rodney Harrison is right. It's time to stop making excuses for Jacksonville.
- Next time someone asks you why NFL ratings are down rewind the videotape of the Rams-Giants game.
WHAT WE LEARNED SUNDAY …
(Alex Smith photo courtesy of Kansas City Chiefs)
The Browns are cursed.
There's something the Rams aren’t telling us about Jared Goff. That can be the only explanation why Jeff Fisher wont make a change at quarterback.
Alex Smith is not Capt. Checkdown.
Never fall asleep on Detroit and Matt Stafford.
Russell Wilson is not OK. I can't remember the last time he ran once ... and for minus-2 yards.
The 49ers' run defense has more holes than the Nimitz Freeway.
Hue Jackson never should have left Cincinnati.
Joey Bosa was worth the wait.
Pittsburgh should not try field goals of 50 yards or more with Chris Boswell.
… AND WHAT WE DIDN’T
(Joe Flacco photo courtesy of Baltimore Ravens)
Why the Rams didn’t leave Case Keenum in England.
Where Arizona would be with a reliable field-goal unit.
What's wrong with Baltimore and Joe Flacco. He said his sore shoulder is not the issue. So what is?
Why Steven Hauschka cant kick in Arizona.
Why the Jets don't feature Matt Forte more.
What's going on with Stephen Gostkowski. Once upon a time, he was automatic. Not anymore.
When Tampa Bay admits Roberto Aguayo was a wasted draft choice.
SUNDAYS HALL OF FAMER
Adam Vinatieri. The Hall of Fame's board of selectors could save a lot people a lot of time and energy and by putting him in Canton now. I mean, the guy makes all the kicks – long ones, short ones, important ones, you name it – and now, at 43, he's set an NFL record with 43 consecutive field goals without a miss. There's only one pure kicker in the Hall (Jan Stenerud), but that should change with all-time scorer Morten Andersen and Vinatieri.
(Adam Vinatieri photo courtesy of Indianapolis Colts)
SUNDAYS HALL OF SHAMER
Rams QB Case Keenum. Enough already. Let's see Jared Goff. I know what Jeff Fisher said. So let's spill it. If Goff is not ready, why isn't he? We know what the Rams have in Keenum, and so do they. It's why they traded away the draft for Goff. Somebody must have had a conviction in the guy. So now, with the Rams in a three-game tailspin, why not make the change? The Rams are going nowhere with Keenum, and you got a glimpse why Sunday. Pure and simple, he stunk.