Just when you think you know something, the Chargers absolutely maul the Ravens defense.
Here’s what we learned during San Diego’s 34-14 win Sunday night:
1. The Chargers scored on their first five possessions. That’s the first time that’s ever happened to the Ravens defense. It would have been six straight possessions if Nick Novak didn’t miss a field goal.
2. There were a lot of reasons San Diego’s offense dominated. The top reason: Philip Rivers is getting protected again. The Ravens pass rush made little impact, which helped Rivers throw for more than eleven yards-per-attempt, with 270 yards and one touchdown.
His receivers are healthy again. Norv Turner called a brilliant game that kept Baltimore guessing.
3. Ryan Mathews has a fumbling problem, but otherwise he’s one of the best young running backs in football. He can run inside and out. He can catch the football. His 109 yards from scrimmage with two touchdowns weren’t flashy, but Mathews helped the Chargers stay on schedule and control the tempo.
4. The Chargers had seven sacks. The Ravens had none. Huh?
5. Baltimore just blew the inside track at the No. 1 seed and now they could be headed for the No. 5 seed. If Pittsburgh wins Monday night, the Steelers should win the division. Pittsburgh finishes the season with the Rams and Browns.
Even if Pittsburgh loses, Baltimore is now behind the Patriots in the AFC race.
6. The Ravens better hope the 49ers help them out because the Ravens are a lousy road team. They are 3-4 away from home, with ugly results in Jacksonville, Tennessee, Seattle, and now San Diego. Is that a team that can win twice on the road in the playoffs?
7. Joe Flacco missed a number of key throws Sunday. The Chargers forced him to take the check down pass all day. Anquan Boldin can’t beat man coverage. Torrey Smith is a one-trick player. This Ravens offense is up-and-down at best after Ray Rice.
8. The Chargers aren’t dead yet, but they still need help at 7-7. Basically, San Diego needs to win out and hope the Broncos lose in Week 17 to the Chiefs to have a chance.
The Chargers still have a chance because of this three-game winning streak. The way Rivers is playing, you can’t count the Chargers out just yet.