There is a very loud vocal part of this community that does not appreciate my posts. I'm called a Dalton hater, pessimistic and according to some, I've driven away valuable members of the community. As such, to keep away from the people who don't want to engage with me, I'll make my own thread. I like this community too much and even though emeybee almost drove me to leave last night, I don't really want to go. And honestly, given the number of recs on my posts last night, others don't either despite what emeybee says. So this is my compromise. I will have my own thread with my own thoughts where people can come and post what they want. The people who don't, who think that I just clutter up the threads will have every other thread to discuss things. They do not have to read my posts or deal with my "negativity". The name of the thread signals the intent and they have every right in the world to avoid it.
I will ask for two favors. One, rec if you enjoy the thread so that we can keep it at the top of the fanposts and I don't have to continually find it to post. Two, please leave the name calling out of it. People aren't Dalton haters or apologists. They're people with a different opinion who enjoy debating said opinion. I don't want this to devolve into what the post-game thread did last night where it's an us or them mentality. I don't believe that. I don't think people who criticize Dalton are haters. I don't think people who defend Dalton are apologists. I think they see things a different way and as long as we both bring reasoning to our posts, they're perfectly valid. I enjoy debating the merits of Dalton with my fellow posters. I do not enjoy having that debate turn into an attack on the person. So lets please leave that out of here.
That being said, lets get to my thoughts...
Last night was a good team win. Dalton, as I said in the game thread, was not good, especially in the first half. He almost got AJ Green killed with a really badly thrown ball over the middle, threw one of the worst interceptions I've seen, reacted poorly to pressure resulting in one of the more ridiculous intentional grounding penalties when he had Eifert coming open for a big game and generally looked like he did the last four weeks...lost. However, he did make some big time plays and once the running game started purring, especially in the 2nd half, he completed some big time throws. The pass to Hawkins in stride was great and reminiscent of Washington last year. If he did the same thing to Marvin Jones earlier in the game, he would have had a big gain on the slant. Finding AJ Green on a perfect play call and making an accurate throw was good and it's what an average QB should do. And putting that ball into Green's breadbasket 20 yards down field on that first down throw was great. Both those Green throws were to wide open receivers but he had to hit them and he did. So credit where credit is due.
But the real story of last night was the running game and a defense that continually refuses to break. When Boling went down and Whitworth moved to guard, everything changed. I've been one of the more vocal people against the move thinking it made no sense to move a Pro Bowl tackle inside but holy shit did it work. Whitworth looked great as a pulling guard and that's something we just don't do very often. If you want to be a power running team and take pressure off Dalton, you need a left guard who you can trust to pull. And with Collins beasting up LT, this just might actually work. With a running game, Dalton is relied on less and that makes us much more dangerous.
As for the defense, what can I say. They bent but they did not break. When the Chargers got to the 40 yard line of Cinci, they got their crap together and forced some big time plays. The turnovers were huge. Some called the defense pathetic, I disagree. I think the Chargers offense, one of the best in the league with a QB who has thrown over 390 yards 3 times this season did what it had to do. They limited a good team to 10 points, forced three big time turnovers and continually gave the Bengals offense an opportunity to finish the game. Burfict, as everyone knows, is a warrior and increasingly becoming one of my favorite players. I don't know how he played through that much pain but it reminds me of Lewis playing all season with a torn triceps. There are just some people who are born football players and he's it. I'd like to see Ghee get on the field some more as I think he's our best cornerback currently but it's unlikely to happen with Crocker back, who did make some plays.
And finally, player of the game has to be Huber. A 75 yard punt? I've never seen that. The number of times he flipped field position in the first half was instrumental in the defense keeping the Chargers offense from scoring. He is so important to this team, sort of like Andy Lee to the 49ers last year. Very impressive.
People like to call me negative but I'm not. I'm 100% behind this team. I think the defense is championship quality, even without Hall and Atkins and I think if the running game gets going, it'll give enough to cover Dalton. I still expect to win the remainder of our games and I do expect us to win in the playoffs. I just don't believe in our QB and while a lot of people are perfectly fine watching a performance like the first half last night then defend him, I'm not. Dalton is our most important player on this team and we will only go so far as he takes us. That means he needs to up his game. He needs to be average to above average and a 21 QB rating in the first half is not average. This is the most important time of the year and I would prefer him not having 4 straight average to mediocre games. As people point out, if Dalton becomes October Andy, then we have a great chance at a SB. I agree. However, I need to see that. Wishing for something over and over and hoping it'll be true when the signs aren't there is not in me. I'm realistic and optimistic but about the positives I can see. Dalton, right now anyway, is not one of them and I wish to god he'll prove me wrong.
Anyway, enough from me for now. Feel free to post here, respond to me, debate me. Most of you know my style. I'll debate but I'll never attack you personally. Hopefully this takes off and we can have some good discussion but if it doesn't, I'll still post my thoughts here. If it doesn't get recced to the top, just scroll down until you find it.