Upon Further Review: Chargers Week 4

September, 30, 2013
9/30/13
12:00
PM ET
SAN DIEGO -- A review of four hot issues from the San Diego Chargers30-21 win over the Dallas Cowboys:

[+] EnlargeEric Weddle
Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY SportsChargers safety Eric Weddle, a seven-year veteran, had a stellar game against Jason Witten and the Cowboys on Sunday.
Weddle shuts down Witten: San Diego safety Eric Weddle twice broke up throws in the middle of the field to tight end Jason Witten on critical third-down plays for the Cowboys. The Chargers held Witten to just five catches for 43 yards. Witten was targeted 10 times. At 5-foot-11 and 200 pounds, Weddle was dwarfed by the 6-6, 261-pound Witten. However, Weddle, a three-time All-Pro, reminded observers of something else after the game: He can still play. “I’m pretty good myself,” Weddle said, smiling. “Some people forget about that. But he’s one of the best guys in the league. For myself, I knew coming into this game that if I played well, and if I could nullify him in third-down situations, and any time I was matched up with him, then [we] would have a good chance to win.”

Rivers creating chunk plays: Philip Rivers finished with five pass completions of over 20 yards. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Rivers had plenty of success pushing the ball down the field, completing 9 of 11 passes for 230 yards and three touchdowns on throws traveling more than 10 yards downfield. Heading into Sunday’s contest, Rivers had completed 62 percent of such passes, second best among qualified quarterbacks. Per Stats & Info, much of Rivers’ success came after he threw an interception for a touchdown to Dallas linebacker Sean Lee in the second quarter. After that play, Rivers completed 20 of 24 passes for 249 yards and two touchdowns, leading the Chargers to 20 unanswered points and the victory.

Pass rush help needed: With the recent news that pass-rusher Dwight Freeney may have suffered a torn quad that likely will put him out for an extended period of time, San Diego could be scouring the market for pass rush help this week. Freeney, 33, signed a two-year, $8.75 deal with the Chargers in May, including $4.75 million in guaranteed money. Freeney has just a half a sack on the year. The seven-time Pro Bowler was injured in the second quarter against Dallas and did not return. Larry English picked up the slack with Freeney out, and the Chargers still managed to get pressure on Romo for the remainder of the game. However, San Diego will need to find a long-term replacement for Freeney if he has to be placed on injured reserve. Jarret Johnson has been the team’s most effective pass-rusher, with two sacks and 14 tackles on the year.

Woodhead provides a spark: Since the Chargers lost Darren Sproles to New Orleans in free agency in 2011, the team has been searching for a running back with a similar skill set. And San Diego appears to have found one in Danny Woodhead. Against the Cowboys, he enjoyed his first two-touchdown-reception game. Woodhead is second on the team in receptions with 22 for 162 yards. He’s gained another 90 yards on the ground. Specifically, Woodhead has been effective in the red zone, making defenses pay for trying to double cover tight end Antonio Gates inside. And he’s been a nice change-of-pace back to the bruising running style of Ryan Mathews.

Eric D. Williams

ESPN San Diego Chargers reporter

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