GOOD: Michael Bush. He showed why he can't be considered a #2 back....only a #1A. Powerful legs that never stop churning and a heart as big as a watermelon go along with a surprising burst. Chris Mortensen tweeted last night during the game that a lot of people overlook the fact that Bush was a leading Heisman contender before he busted his leg up. Honorable mention to Darren McFadden with 93 yards of offense on 19 touches.
GOOD: Mario Henderson. Did the right side of the Chargers defense ever rush the passer at any point? You wouldn't know because they got HANDLED by our big, bad #75. Henderson's evolution continues and we may be looking at the emergence of a franchise left tackle to anchor the offensive line for another 10 or 12 years. Here's hoping his development continues. Big tests on the horizon with Mario Williams in Week 4 and Osi Umenyiora in Week 5....can't look past the Chiefs and Broncos, though!
GOOD: Louis Murphy. First NFL touchdown that should've been his second automatically warrants this. He did have that poorly run route that lead to a drive killing interception, though. Still, much, MUCH more positive than negative.
GOOD: Zach Miller. He showed why people will be mentioning him in the same breath as Antonio Gates and Tony Gonzales by the end of the year.
GOOD: Mike Mitchell. Mitchell gets it because of his first hellacious NFL hit on kick coverage that's hopefully a sign of many more to come and because I wanted to at least get one special teamer in here.
GOOD: JaMarcus Russell. That beautiful, arching spiral that landed perfectly in Louis Murphy's hands is what we've all been dreaming of. His insistence on going back out to the field ASAP after tweaking his knee and not waiting for the next drive showed heart. His pocket awareness was much better than I anticipated it would be. Gotta love his run blocking too.
GOOD: Richard Seymour. Good doesn't even begin to do this performance justice. He played all four positions along the D-Line by the end of the night, fought through repeated double teams and generally played like a badass of the highest order from first to last. By the way....do you think all that nonsense about "Seymour is over the hill" that all the haters spewed might've motivated the man a bit? Just a thought. Thanks to all those who did! I also notice the number of people criticizing the trade started to drop dramatically beginning in the first quarter and they had all disappeared by the end of the game. Jokes.
GOOD: Thomas Howard. He was absolutely everywhere last night and playing like a man possessed.
GOOD: Tyvon Branch. Played with serious intensity, contained Antonio Gates about as well as anyone can and his tackle of Manumaleuna was a thing of beauty.
GOOD: Chris Johnson. Put on a clinic of how to play man coverage last night.
Let's go over the break to see the bad and ugly.
BAD: JaMarcus Russell. This bad was REALLY bad. What the hell happened to the improved accuracy we saw during the preseason on throws in the 10-20 yard distance? I'm not sure he could've hit an elephant out there at times last night. And this after starting out very efficiently. For now I'll just chalk this up to being a week 1 aberration and forget about it, but if this keeps up in the next couple weeks, I'll start to worry.
BAD: Darrius Heyward-Bey. A couple of drops made us all groan and he was non-existent the rest of the night. I'm just gonna write it off to "First NFL game Monday Night Nerves" and hope he settles down starting on Sunday.
BAD: Gerard Warren. Fell victim to his worst fault last night: too many plays with only half-hearted effort. The contrast to the consistent effort put forth by Seymour was striking.
BAD: Kirk Morrison. Two tackles? You're better than that, Kirk. WAY better.
BAD: Nnamdi Asomugha. I hate to say this, but he got flat beat by Vincent Jackson on that touchdown catch. They told me it would happen over on Bolts From The Blue and I didn't believe them. It's a shame too because Nnamdi had his usual outstanding overall performance. It's also worth mentioning that Stanford Routt was in the area and should have been helping but, as usual, arrived too late. So let's throw him in here with the "bad."
UGLY: Started out 5 for 5 on 3rd down conversions. Went 2 for 9 after that.
UGLY: Playing a soft prevent style defense when the other team is attempting to engineer a desperate last minute comeback....especially when playing tight man coverage and aggressively rushing all four lineman had been working like a charm the rest of the night. Prevent is what you play when it's a two score game with a minute left, not one.
UGLY: Wide receiver play in general. Sloppy routes and dropped passes. Hurry back Chaz.
UGLY: Special teams play. Sproles big returns may have been the things that ultimately led to the game being lost. Big field position advantages and momentum shifters.
UGLY: San Diego fans. Heeyyyyyyyooooooo
Just kidding, guys.