The Chargers started off this season going 4-1, and since then have fallen off the rails, going 0-4 with losses to the Chiefs in overtime, the Packers in a shootout, and the Raiders by giving up 489 yards, including 298 to Carson Palmer, which is the second most passing yards they've allowed this year.
So what's changed between that hot start and this dismal stretch? Let's ask Tom Ricketts: "Just injuries."
All joking aside, the Chargers have been fairly banged up, missing starting defensive end Luis Castillo and three-sack-contributor Shaun Phillips on a defensive front that's already struggling to get a decent pass rush. Of course, not to mention the three starting offensive linemen that are probably going to miss the game today. Add in the Chargers have been playing with fire in the turnover column all season, Antonio Gates hasn't been the same player as he's been during his stellar career, and Malcolm Floyd has been hit with an injury himself, and things start to look pretty bad for San Diego.
But then you think about the Chargers offense and how they've racked up 400 yards in six of their nine games this season, including two during their four game losing streak. It's an offense that's still been able to produce (only scored less than 20 points one time all season) and with a team like that, there's always a chance (well, unless you're the Colts...)
The Chargers offense is one predicated on the big play, which is something the Bears have been better at stopping since the first Detroit matchup. They don't predicate it so much on the turnover, which is something they happen to do rather well, and something the Bears have capitalized on this season.
Gameday-related links and such after the jump.
My Three Keys for each side of the ball: Offense and Defense.
In case you missed it yesterday, Kev made an appearance on Bolts From The Blue's High Boltage Radio and dropped some Bears knowledge. The link is to their Hour 1 podcast.
The Injury Report for both teams. And Dane's pick for Sleeper of the Week. It'll wake you up.
ESPNChicago's Nuts and Bolts preview.
The Sun-Times has their own matchups to keep an eye on.
As does the Score's Laurence Holmes.
And because I'm semi-masochist, apparently, SignOnSanDiego's breakdown.
Mike Tice is what we thought he was. At least according to Denny Green.
Chargers offense is comparable to the Packers' offense? How about "Chargers Offense Still Decent."
Matt Bowen discusses the "nickel smoke", a play that's worked well with DJ Moore this year and he hopes will work for Corey Graham.
Sean Jensen breaks down last week's charitable fundings - aka the fines. Also, Bennett's shoes a "game-time decision."
Forte's taking care of himself at a time when players start to break down during the season.
Kris Jenkins: "NFL is Hell."
Major League Baseball has agreed to HGH testing in its new CBA. The NFL's CBA allows for it, but at what point does it become forced for the players to participate?
It's hard to find a good Anchorman video part on YouTube, so if you guys find anything good, throw 'em in the comments.
Gameday procedures today, early games thread will hit at 1 ET/Noon CT, first quarter thread will hit at 4 ET/3 CT, with each quarter appearing as it comes. Recap will be up shortly after the game, Scribbles in the morning, and if we don't hit a snafu like we did last week, you'll have an SNF thread tonight too.
Now with the propers out of the way... Bear Down!
Chicago Bears Fight Song (via scifiradioguy)