Upon Further Review: Chargers Week 16

December, 23, 2013
12/23/13
8:00
AM ET
SAN DIEGO -- An examination of four hot issues from the San Diego Chargers' 26-13 win over the Oakland Raiders.

Defense shows resiliency: San Diego defensive coordinator John Pagano’s unit held an offense to 20 points or less for a fourth straight game in helping to lead the Chargers to a scrappy win. During that stretch, San Diego has forced eight turnovers. Oakland had the ball three times in the red zone, but the Chargers held them to one touchdown. Eric Weddle corralled his second interception of the season on an acrobatic catch in the second quarter, leading to a 7-yard touchdown by Ryan Mathews. The play was Weddle’s 18th career interception.

Mathews
Woodhead
Mathews grinds out yards: Heading into Sunday’s contest, the Raiders were the No. 9 defense against the run, holding opponents to 104 yards per contest. Oakland limited San Diego to just 36 yards in the first game. But that didn’t matter, as San Diego offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt stuck with the running attack. Mathews finished with 99 yards on 25 carries, and Danny Woodhead added 52 rushing yards, as the Chargers controlled things on the ground. San Diego is 5-0 when Mathews carries the ball more than 20 times in a game. Mathews set a single-season career mark with 1,111 yards this season.

Scoreboard watchers: For a second straight week, San Diego players will be watching the scoreboard before their game against Kansas City on Sunday. In order to have a chance to make the playoffs, San Diego (8-7) needs Baltimore (8-7) to lose on the road against Cincinnati and Miami (8-7) to fall to the New York Jets at home to finish as the final wild-card team in the AFC. Both of those games take place at 1 p.m. ET, while San Diego’s game against Kansas City begins at 4:25.

Loud and proud? San Diego coach Mike McCoy made an impassioned plea for Chargers fans to show up in big numbers for the team’s final home game against the Chiefs. “We need our largest, loudest -- however you want to say it -- fan support this week,” McCoy said during opening remarks after his team’s win over Oakland. The Chargers were the first team to have a game blacked out locally on TV this season, and needed a 24-hour extension from the league to sell enough tickets so the Oakland game was not blacked out. Even then, a larger number of folks who have showed up for each home game have been fans of the opposing team. San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers remarked that on offense he had to go to a silent count at the end of the game because of the constant hum of the opposing team’s crowd. That’s not exactly a home-field advantage. “It’s not a complaint, but here at home there’s a little bit of a muffled noise all the time,” Rivers said. The Chargers are 4-3 at home this season.

Eric D. Williams

ESPN San Diego Chargers reporter

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