OK, the Chargers got jobbed on the fumble call. No argument there, but if they had won on that play, it would have been because of a fluky, untouched fumble. In other words, it would not have indicated any semblance of Chargers superiority. Instead of losing on a weird fluky play, they didn't lose on another weird fluky play. By the way, the Champ Bailey play in the 1st quarter was not as clear to me as it was to Randy Cross. I thought that was very close.
The sequence following the fumble was really compelling. The key play-call to securing the win was the draw to Selvin Young on 3rd and Goal from the 10. Watching it, I thought it was brilliant, because I'd rather have one shot to score on 4th down, and leave 24 seconds on the clock, than I would take 2 shots into the end zone from the 10, with a minute to go. I think the probabilities are better, given the abysmal defense seen from both teams today. The call on 4th down was very smart, but really, par for the course of the game.
As for going for two, that was a function of job security and aggressiveness. Mike Shanahan is not going to get fired if they miss on the conversion, and he knows it. The only other coaches in the NFL who could make that call are Bill Belichick and Tony Dungy, and Belichick is the only one who would consider actually doing it. These are decisions that win championships. In all likelihood, the Broncos won the AFC West today. At a minimum, they greatly enhanced their chances of doing so.
Some other assorted observations:
1. Our offensive line is outstanding in pass protection. Clady is obvious, but I'm extremely impressed with Ryan Harris on the right side. He is better than at least half the the LTs in the League, and he has the chance to be the best RT in the NFL in pass protection.
2. We have one of the elite offenses in the League. Also, we have the best young offensive talent in the League (Cutler, Young, Hall, Hillis, Marshall, Royal, Scheffler, Clady, Harris, Lichtensteiger.) That is an outstanding nucleus for the future.
3. I love the use of the spread-out shotgun look that we saw so much of today. It creates good matchups for our playmakers.
4. Speaking of playmakers, Brandon Marshall abused the Chargers secondary today, with the somewhat overrated Antonio Cromartie (great ball skills, mediocre coverage skills) getting the worst of it.
5. Further speaking of playmakers, I wonder if Jeremy Green would enjoy a nice cold glass of "Shut The *&^% Up." He's the one who seemingly continues to believe that we don't have any playmakers, and voted us 23rd in the ESPN Power Rankings, even after the destruction of the Raiders. I'm anxious to see where he has us this week. Probably 22nd.
6. I loved Selvin Young tonight. I generally slightly prefer him to Andre Hall, but he was outstanding tonight.
7. Michael Pittman has been a nice role player too. He made a great contribution.
8. Darren Sproles is a bad, bad man. He made plays that LDT couldn't make.
9. SD has an outstanding offense, but our defense obviously needs to be better. We have a good opportunity to start this week.
10. A win is a win. The end.