San Diego Chargers

AFC West

2014 Schedule

  • Week 1

    SD @ ARI


    10:15 pm

  • Week 2

    SEA @ SD


    4:00 pm

  • Week 3

    SD @ BUF


    1:00 pm

  • Week 4

    JAC @ SD


    4:00 pm

  • Week 5

    NYJ @ SD


    4:30 pm

  • Week 6

    SD @ OAK


    4:00 pm

  • Week 7

    KC @ SD


    4:00 pm

  • Week 8

    SD @ DEN


    8:30 pm

  • Week 9

    SD @ MIA


    1:00 pm

  • Week 10


  • Week 11

    OAK @ SD


    4:00 pm

  • Week 12

    STL @ SD


    4:00 pm

  • Week 13

    SD @ BAL


    1:00 pm

  • Week 14

    NE @ SD


    8:30 pm

  • Week 15

    DEN @ SD


    4:00 pm

  • Week 16

    SD @ SF


    8:30 pm

  • Week 17

    SD @ KC


    1:00 pm

PYRO Fantasy Depth Chart

The PYRO Fantasy Football Depth Chart is a rundown of where Team PYRO projects the fantasy production for each team at each position. It is NOT an attempt to inform you of the current starters for each team. For example, we are well aware that Brandon Manumaleuna is currently the starting TE for the Chicago Bears, but if you look at the Bears Team Page, we have Greg Olsen listed at TE. Why? We’re projecting that Greg Olsen will be the most Fantasy Football relevant TE for the Bears this season. Since Olsen will be the Bears leading FF point scorer at TE, it’s his name at the top of the TE column on our PYRO Fantasy Depth Chart.

The Seven Bandits

The NFL has seen dominant defenses throughout its glorious history, but one of the most dominant defenses to ever play was one that you most likely have not heard of. In 1961 the NFL was spilt between the NFL and the AFL, six years before the first Super Bowl, and the Chargers defense was the class of the AFL. Their front four was the first Fearsome Foursome, predating the Rams, and the linebackers and defensive backs were known as The Seven Bandits. The Bandits still hold the single season interception record with 49 as a team, a record that will never be broken.

The Chargers Fearsome Foursome of Ron Nery, Ernie Ladd, Bill Hudson and Earl Faison were a constant source of pressure, which forced opposing quarterbacks to make poor decisions that usually ended up in the hands of one of the Bandits. This dominating defense led the Chargers to the AFL Championship game where they lost to the Houston Oilers 12-3, but it was no fault of the Bandits. The Bandits forced seven turnovers in the game, with six interceptions!!! The only problem was that the Chargers offense returned the favor with six turnovers of their own.

In 1961 teams only played 14 games on the season, which makes this interception mark so impressive. The Seven Bandits were responsible for 42 of the teams 49 interceptions of the season: Charlie McNeil – 9, Bob Zeman – 8, Dick Harris – 7, Claude Gibson – 5, Chuck Allen – 5, Bob Laraba – 5 and Emil Karas – 3. The sheer amount of interceptions is impressive enough, but the Bandits also took nine of them back for touchdowns.

The defense was so impressive, they forced five or more turnovers in eight games with their worst performance coming in week four against Buffalo only forcing two turnovers. The Chargers broke the previous record of 42 interceptions, set by the 1943 Green Bay Packers. This record will never come close to being broken.

The NFL is now considered a passing league, and with the fact that teams play 16 games you might think I am wrong, but let’s check the recent defensive challengers. Going back to 2002 thru 2013 there have only been five defenses that had 30 or more interceptions, with 31 interceptions being the highest season total. That is still 18 behind this ridiculous record. The Chargers averaged 3.5 interceptions per game!!! No team in recent vintage has been able to average more than 2 interceptions per game, and in order to break the Chargers record a team would have to average 3.13 picks per game.

The 1961 Chargers defense is the best defense you have never heard of, and the Seven Bandits with their remarkable record deserve more credit in the annals of the NFL. To think they had six players with at least five interceptions is just incredible. I tip my cap to the greatest bunch of thieves this great game has ever seen, and a season for the ages.



By Houdini

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Marty Schottenheimer

When Marty Schottenheimer was fired in February of 2007, he had just finished a year where he led the San Diego Chargers to a 14-2 record, an automatic bid into the divisional playoff round, and had many predicting a Super Bowl Championship. Unfortunately, the Chargers lost in the divisional round to the Patriots, and Schottenheimer was fired a month later. Team president Dean Spanos cited that the termination was based on a "dysfunctional situation" between Marty and general manager A.J. Smith.

Upon Marty Schottenheimer being fired, it became the second NFL termination after a coach had gone 14-2 in a season.  You have to go back 80 years to find the only head coach in NFL history to win 14 (or more) games in a season and not return to that team the next year. Hall of Famer Guy Chamberlin led the 1926 Frankford Yellow Jackets to a 14-1-2 record as a player-coach, then moved on to coach and play in 1927 for the Chicago Cardinals. When the news reached the public, about Schottenheimer being fired, many probably speculated that the reason was Schottenheimer's record in the playoffs.

There is no doubt that he has had little success when the post-season hits. For comparison, his win rate as a coach is 63% (200-126-1), but his playoff percentage is much lower 38% (5-13). His 5-13 playoff record has taken on a life of its own. The 2006 loss to the Patriots was his sixth straight in the postseason dating to 1993, and the ninth time a Schottenheimer-coached team lost its opening playoff game. His teams have failed four times to capitalize on the home-field advantage, and has been on the losing end on several "Historic playoff games."
John Elway's "The Drive" and Ernest Byner's "The Fumble" were all under Schottenheimer. He took the Browns into the playoffs in the 1985-86 season, and had a 21-3 lead over the Miami Dolphins part way through the third quarter, but Dan Marino led Miami back for a 24-21 victory. In 1986-87 season, featured "The Drive" and the 1987-88 season was Byner's fumble. The 1998-99 post-season, Marty Schottenheimer's Browns, lost in the opening round to the Houston Oilers, mostly due to the fact, that Mike Pagel, the third-string quarterback was in, after Bernie Kosar was ruled out prior to the game, and back-up Don Strock was injured early in the first quarter.

After the loss, Schottenheimer moved on to the Kansas City Chiefs, and after missing the playoffs in his first year there, he led them to a 11-5 record only to lose in the opening round. This time, the Chiefs were winning 16-3 going into the fourth quarter against Miami, and again Dan Marino brought them back to win 17-16. In 1993, The Chiefs got to the AFC Championship game, but loss in a blow-out to the Buffalo Bills. After losing in the first round of the 1994 season, the Chiefs returned back to the playoffs for the 1995 season, this time with the number one seed. Not only were they the number one seed, but also held the best record in football (13-3). Unfortunately, they ran into the fifth seeded Colts, in the divisional match-up, and lost 10-7. Lin Elliot's three-missed field goals, contributed heavily to the loss. After missing the playoffs in 1996, the Chiefs returned in 1997, with again a 13-3 record, and the number one seed in the AFC, but again lost in divisional round, this time to the Denver Broncos, in which they had the lead, going into the fourth quarter. Marty then took some time away from the NFL and returned in 2001 with the Washington Redskins. He was fired after only one season and a 8-8 record.

In 2002, he was hired by San Diego.  It wasn't an easy beginning as Schottenheimer compiled a 12-20 record in his first two seasons there. However, in 2004, the Chargers went 12-4 and made the playoffs, but lost in the wild card round to the New York Jets in overtime 20-17. San Diego missed the 2005 playoffs, but in 2006, the Chargers went 14-2, but lost to New England. Again, it was an ugly loss for Schottenheimer and San Diego. The Chargers had a 21-13 lead late into the fourth quarter, when Marlon McCree intercepted a Tom Brady pass, which would have sealed the victory, instead, McCree fumbled and the ball was recovered by wide receiver Reche Caldwell. Brady, then threw a touchdown pass to Caldwell four plays later. New England then converted a two-point conversion to tie the game. The Patriots then forced the Chargers to punt, and with 1:10 left, Gostkowski connected for the game winning margin. Three days after the 24-21 playoff loss to New England, Schottenheimer declined the team's offer of a $4.5 million, one-year extension through 2008, which came with a club-option $1 million buyout. Spanos and Smith seemed visibly angry that the coach turned them down. A month later, Marty was fired.

"This decision was so hard because Marty has been both a friend and valued coach of our team," Spanos said in a statement. "But my first obligation is always to do what is in the best interest of our fans and the entire Charger organization. I must take whatever steps are necessary to deliver a Super Bowl trophy to San Diego. Events of the last month have now convinced me that it is not possible for our organization to function at a championship level under the current structure. On the contrary, and in the plainest possible language, we have a dysfunctional situation here. Today I am resolving that situation once and for all." For Schottenheimer's relationship with Smith, Schottenheimer said: "I don't know why it was so bad. Every time I tried to get an explanation of why there was such a bad reaction, he always had the same rebuttal ... he didn't want to talk about it."

By Vaaal-Verde

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Kellen Winslow

In what could easily be the greatest NFL game ever played, the Chargers outlasted the Miami Dolphins 41-38 in a humid early January post-season game. The Dolphins were the AFC East division winner with a 11-4-1 record, while the Chargers finished with a 10-6 record and winners of the AFC West. It was meant to be an offense versus defense style of game, where the Chargers offense was explosive, and the Dolphins were rated fifth on the defense side of the ball.

It started ugly for Miami, as the Chargers showed every bit of their offense capability, scoring 24 points in the first quarter, while Miami couldn't get anything going, putting up a goose-egg. In the second quarter the game became quite the reverse. Miami scored 17 points, and held the Chargers to a goose-egg of their own. The Dolphins biggest score came on a hook-and-lateral play. Don Strock hit wide receiver Duriel Harris at the 20 yard line, and Harris pitched the ball to Tony Nathan who was trailing on the play. Nathan took the ball 25 yards for the score with no time remaining in the half. In the third quarter, Strock hit Joe Rose with a 15 yard touchdown pass to tie the score at 24. This time, Dan Fouts drove the Chargers down-field and connected with Kellen Winslow for a 25 yard touchdown. Strock returned the favor and hit Bruce Hardy for 50 yards to tie the score at 31. Miami then scored again to take their first lead in the game, but San Diego fired back quickly, and a pass attended for Kellen Winslow, the ball was overthrown but caught by James Brooks in the back of the end zone. At the end of the fourth quarter, Von Schamann attempted to kick the game winning field goal, however, with a 6'5 frame, Kellen Winslow blocked the game winning kick.

When overtime started both teams were entirely dehydrated, and it didn't take long for the Chargers to drive down to the 10 yard line and attempt a game winning field goal, but Rolf Benirschke had his kick go wide left. Miami then took the ball down the field for Von Schamann and his winning kick was again blocked, this time by Leroy Jones. Fouts then took San Diego 74 yards down field, and this time the Benirschke kick was good.

Both teams had great performances by great players, but the MVP most likely belonged to Kellen Winslow. In addition to his blocked field goal, he recorded an NFL playoff record 13 receptions for 166 yards and a touchdown, despite suffering numerous injuries. During the contest, he was treated for a pinched nerve in his shoulder, dehydration, severe cramps, and a gash in his lower lip that required three stitches. A picture of an exhausted Winslow being helped off the field by two teammates after the game is an enduring image in NFL lore and has been replayed constantly ever since.


Kellen Winslow career stats


By Vaaal-Verde

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Ryan Mathews was carted off the field this afternoon. Mathews was injured while recovering his own fumble, teammate Eddie Royal landing on his extended leg.

Pyro's take: Not much is known at the time, but the Chargers brought in Donald Brown in emergency situations, and this one. If Brown is available, grab the former first rounder for security of Mathews.

09/14/14, 06:10 PM CDT by Vaaal-verde

Not avoiding Sherminator

After the week one game, where the Packers didn't even look to Richard Sherman's side, not even once, Philip Rivers plans to do no such thing. How they will game plan this risky maneuver, is one thing Rivers must handle, he goes to say:"We're not going with the approach that we're not going to throw to (Sherman's) side," Rivers said. "At the same time, I'm not going to be careless. It would be silly to say, 'We're going to go after him.' You've got to be smart. You respect the defense as a whole. You don't try to get cute with their best players.

"But I think while you respect Richard Sherman, you understand, too, that Maxwell on the other side is no slouch. I mean, he's a heck of a corner. He just gets more opportunities, so you're bound to complete something at some point. We're not going to say, 'Never throw to that side,' but we'll be smart when we do."

Pyro's take: Richard Sherman can be beat. Andrew Luck hit TY Hilton, and Hilton blew past him for a long touchdown in last season's match-up, and the Chargers have the personnel to do so as well. The oddity is that Aaron Rodgers didn't even try.

Philip Rivers will take his chances there, will he be successful, probably not, but they wont shy away. Either case, Rivers is not in for a big day passing, as they will try to win the ground game. so bench him for now.

09/13/14, 10:41 PM CDT by Vaaal-verde

Rivers looking good

Philip Rivers never looks too much into preseason success or lack of it, though he certainly appreciates finding a nice August rhythm to carry into the regular season.

San Diego’s quarterback appears to have found that, completing his first five passes and 9 of 10 overall in the Chargers’ 21-7 loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.

“We got first downs, finished with a touchdown and you like to get in that flow,” he said. “The other two games we only got one series, so getting to go through series, going back out there over and over is how you get into that flow, which is important this close to the opener.”

An illegal block nullified Rivers’ 25-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Mathews in the final minute of the first quarter, but Rivers connected on a 10-yard TD pass to Antonio Gates on the next play.

Pyro's take: Rivers is still being drafted late in fantasy drafts, as many believe last season was a fluke, but he continues to look sharp in the preseason. Keenan Allen continues to show development, and he and Rivers have displayed a nice chemistry on the field. Rivers is a savvy veteran who is a nice fantasy backup for your team.

08/26/14, 08:32 PM CDT by Houdini

Mathews fumbles could cost him

Mathews talked about his fumble at the goal line in San Diego’s exhibition opener against the Dallas Cowboys.

“The guy made a good play. He put his helmet right on the ball and it popped out,” Mathews said. “I’ve done what I’ve had to do to help myself in the long run of taking care of the ball. And like I said, it’s like another practice game in breaking off all of the rust.

“You go back and you watch film, and you see little cuts where last year I was making cuts and the ball wasn’t away from my body. And then coming into this preseason game where you’re making cuts and the ball is away from my body. So you see stuff like that, you start to prepare yourself for the games that really count, and all you have to do is fix it.”

Pyro's take: Mathews is saying all the right things about getting better with his ball security, although talk is cheap. Fumbling has been an issue for Mathews since he entered the league. In his first two seasons Ryan fumbled 10 times, five each season. He only had two fumbles each of the last two seasons, but the fact he is still having to remind himself is an issue.

Mathews is being drafted high once again in fantasy, but it could be another high draft disappointment. The Chargers have a crowded backfield with Danny Woodhead and Donald Brown. If #24 reverts to his old ways and starts to fumble he will lose his starting job. The other risk for Mathews, as always is injury. Last season was the first in his career that he was able to play all 16 games.

08/17/14, 05:58 PM CDT by Houdini

The three-headed monster

In an interview with Rick Henne for, Donald Brown spoke about how the Chargers are going to be a three-headed monster. “We’re going to be a three-headed monster,” he said proudly. “That’s what we’re going to be. They are great backs and I respect the heck out of both of them. I’m excited to work with them and complement them the best that I can.”

Brown then proceeded to break-down both of his new teammates in Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead. “Ryan is a very, very powerful runner,” he said. “He runs with a great head of steam and is a very physical runner. Danny, I was having this conversation with my old running backs coach, and I said he’s probably one of the most underrated running backs in the game. I think he’s one of the best all-around backs running the ball and catching the ball. I’m happy to be in a great room (with them) because it’s going to help elevate my game and in part help this team.”

Pyro's take: The trend of RBBC continues, and in San Diego it looks more like a RBBBC. To find value in this mess, look for Ryan Mathews to be more the main ball carrier, Danny Woodhead the three-down back, and Donald Brown to be the change-of-pace goal line runner. The Chargers are going to take a long look at Brown, he is a former first round pick, and had his best season last year.

I would break it down this way. In PPR, draft Ryan Mathews-handcuff-Woodhead, and in standard leagues, grab Mathews-handcuff-Donald Brown.

08/04/14, 10:22 AM CDT by Vaaal-verde

Allen "I'm a deep threat now"

Allen will look to continue his dominance and avoid the dreaded “sophomore slump,” and it already looks like he turned what might be his only weakness into a strength.

Wright recently shadowed Allen on a go route. Allen, whose quickness off the line is among his strengths, earned initial separation. That was fine; Wright had seen it from the wide receiver before. The cornerback applied his countermeasure, superior top-end speed, only to learn what others at Chargers Park have about the second-year NFL pro. He is moving at a different speed – Michael Gehlken of UT San Diego, on Allen’s training camp progression

More brownie points for Allen. Increasing his speed gives him the ability to add another dimension to his game, opening up the playbook for bigger–and better–things.

“I’m a deep threat now,” a smiling Allen said to Gehlken.

Pyro's take: Allen had an amazing rookie season, and will be targeted by defenses in 2014. Keenan is preparing for this by adding more speed to his repertoire. His longest catch last season was a 43-yard touchdown catch. Since he is not seen as a deep threat receiver, he may be able to take advantage of cheating safeties early in the season. Watch out for #13 this season, he will be the most valuable Bolt to have.

08/02/14, 10:46 PM CDT by Houdini

Green learning from Gates all the time

Tight end Ladarius Green is looking to capitalize on his sophomore season with the Bolts.

Within the first few days of training camp, Green has shown why he’s quickly become a fan favorite in San Diego. With superior hands, he’s made some tremendous catches in 7-on-7 drills, yet trying to become more versatile, the tight end mentioned he’s been working on his blocking.

“It’s always good to have Gates back on the field and back in the locker room as well. He’s a great person in the locker room and on the field he’s a great player. He always comes and coaches me up, teaches me stuff I don’t know so it’s always good to have him back.”

“I had to work on route running, getting in and out of routes and trying to perfect that as much as I can, but I’ve got Gates in front of me so (it’s easy to) watch him and try to compare myself to him.”

Pyro's take: Green is an explosive talent, but he is also a very team oriented player. He just wants to help the Chargers win, and he works hard in practice, and his relationship with Antonio Gates is only going to help his growth.

Gates is one of the best tight ends of the past decade, and if Green is able to absorb any of that wisdom, with his amazing talent he will be a force this season. Last season he only had 17 catches, but they went for 376 yards and three touchdowns. He has big play written all over him, averaging 22.1 YPC last season. Ladarius is being drafted as a backup, but his one of the backups that has a very high ceiling, which is the kind of backup I like.

07/27/14, 10:54 PM CDT by Houdini

Floyd Cleared

Chargers coach Mike McCoy has stated that Malcom Floyd looked like his usual self in OTA's. Floyd has also been cleared medically by doctors to resume contact.

Pyro's take: Floyd has shown some fantasy brilliance when healthy, but thats the thing... staying healthy. He has been in the league now nine seasons and is 32 years old. Malcom has only played in 90 games in a possible 144(63%). With the seasons that he has played in, he has done wonders. For instance,in 2010-2012 he scored 16 touchdowns with 136 receptions and 2,387 yards in 37 games. In the two games he played last year, he had 6 receptions for 149 yards. Unfortunately, with Keenan Allen and Vincent Brown in the mix, Floyd will probably be regulated to third on the depth chart, but thats just means he has tremendous value late in your draft.

05/29/14, 02:18 PM CDT by Vaaal-verde

Floyd will return in 2014

Malcom Floyd will play again this coming season, per Michael Gehlken.

Great news for the Chargers and for the offense. Floyd was on pace to have an excellent season before he went down with the scary injury. He will have to make that same type of impact again this season.

There were questions on if Floyd would be at more of a risk after that injury, but the doctors have cleared him of any risk and said that he has the same risk of injury as anyone else at the position:

“The doc said … I’m at risk just like anybody else,” Floyd said Monday. “There’s not really a worry. … I’m feeling good. I think I feel like my old self.”

Pyro's take: Not only is this good news for Floyd, as it looked as though his career might have been over, but it also great news for Keenan Allen. Allen had a fantastic rookie season, and did most of his damage without the benefit of someone opposite him to draw away coverage. With Floyd back, it should give Allen the chance to be more productive in his second season and avoid the sophomore slump.

05/20/14, 10:17 PM CDT by Houdini

Green nearly outscored Gates from week 6 on

Ladarius Green might not be the hottest commodity at the tight end position right now, but come draft day I will be taking a shot at his skill set. In fact, starting in week 6 of last season Green nearly outscored Antonio Gates. Gates collected 53.4 standard fantasy points over the final 11 weeks of the season compared to Green's 50.8.

The former fourth round pick could be this season's Julius Thomas and well worth the late round flier you'd have to spend on him.

Pyro's take: What's not to like about Ladarius Green for next season? He is big (240 pounds and growing), tall (6'6"), and fast (Rivers called him the fastest player on the team last season). He also put up an insane 22.1 yards per catch in limited work last season. All he needs is a steady diet of targets and this guy will be a fantasy superstar. For a three week stretch during last season when he received 16 targets the guy was able to turn in 9 catches for 206 yards and 2 touchdowns.

The talent is there now he just needs the opportunity, look out for Green come draft time and he could pay major dividends for your fantasy squad.

04/02/14, 11:09 AM CDT by Stagg Party

Donald Brown bolts for the Bolts

The San Diego Chargers have agreed to terms with former Indianapolis Colts running back, Donald Brown, on a three-year, $10.5 million contact including $4 million in guaranteed money.

Pyro's take: There are two things I can see that are seriously wrong with this signing.

First, how in the world does a former first-round pick that seemed to turn the corner a bit last season end up signing the exact same deal as Toby Gerhart did with the Jaguars earlier in the day, yet with less guaranteed money?

And second, why in the world would the Chargers go out and sign "G-d Damnit Donald!" when they already have Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead - two guys who do what Brown does, only better - on their squad?

Unless they know something I don't know or are still worried about Mathews' injury-prone ways, then I just don't understand this move.

As for it's impact on the fantasy world, the only one of the four players mentioned above whose stock rose with this signing is Toby Gerhart... and he had nothing to do with it.

03/11/14, 10:49 PM CDT by Dawgmaticå

Royal restructures contract

The veteran wide receiver has agreed to a contract restructure, sources said Monday, ensuring his place on the 2014 roster. Royal was previously set to earn $4.5 million in base salary with a $6 million cap number. Both numbers have been lowered. The salary was reduced to a fully guaranteed total, and performance incentives were added to help make up the difference.

Last season was the second in Royal's three-year deal.

The Chargers never wanted it to be his last.

He showed toughness, for months not practicing because of turf toe. While the brunt of his season was spent in a protective boot, he missed only one game all year. Royal caught 47 passes for 631 yards and a career-high eight touchdowns.

Pyro's take: Royal will retain his role in the offense in 2014 thanks to his restructure. It is obvious that he feels he can improve on his numbers from last season by going to an incentive laden contract.

Eddie will be healthy for the start of the season, and since he was able to post last season's numbers while spending his weeks in a protective boot I like his chances. Royal is not a starting receiver in fantasy, but he is worth a late round flier in 2014.

03/09/14, 01:56 PM CDT by Houdini

Brown will test free agent waters

Indianapolis Colts running back Donald Brown will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason.

Brown led the team in rushing with 537 yards (5.3 per carry) and finished with eight total touchdowns.

A first round pick out of UConn in 2009, Brown had an up and down five years in Indianapolis.

The Colts bring back Vick Ballard and Trent Richardson on next year's roster. As far as Brown is concerned, it doesn't look likely that he'll back with the Colts.

On his Twitter account

Was an honor and privilege to play for the Colts. An organization made up of phenomenal people. Will always be indebted to the horseshoe.

Pyro's take: Brown had a nice season filling in for the injured Colts, Bradshaw and Ballard, and outperformed Trent Richardson. That being said if he were to resign with the Colts it would be as their third back. So Donald is off to greener pastures.

Where #31 ends up is still a mystery, but he has definitely earned himself a change of pace role with some team. He will look to be the Danny Woodhead for some team. There are plenty of teams out there that need help at running back like Oakland, Jacksonville, Giants, and the Browns to name a few. Brown should be able to sign where he will see carries next season.

02/18/14, 10:20 PM CST by Houdini

Ryan Mathews will be an interesting back in 2014

Mathews’ 1,255 yards rushing in the season was the most by a Charger since LaDainian Tomlinson’s 1,474 in 2007.

It wasn’t a breakout season, however. As an NFL sophomore in 2011, he topped 1,000 yards rushing while averaging 4.9 yards per carry. Also then, he caught 50 passes.

But he was never so dependable as he was this season, his fourth since the Chargers selected him 12th overall. He played all 18 games. From 2010-12, he missed 4, 2 and 4 games. He had 285 rushes in the regular season. Not only was the total fourth-most in the NFL, it exceeded his career-high by 63 attempts. His catch rate was 90.3 percent, beating his 2010-12 marks of 84.6, 86.2 and 75.

Pyro's take: Mathews surprised all of us with his stellar 2013 campaign. The most impressive part was the fact that he was a workhorse back with 20+ carries in six games, including the final four of the season.

In those final four games Mathews had 107 carries for 473 yards and three touchdowns. He also added nine catches for another 64 yards. Mathews was about as dependable as you could get for your fantasy playoffs, and he will be an interesting target in 2014. He still carries with him the risk of injury, which means that there should still be a lot of skepticism about what he will do. If that is the case he could still be a potential value in 2014.

02/17/14, 10:31 PM CST by Houdini

Keenan Allen named Pepsi Next Rookie of the Year

Chargers 2013 third round pick Keenan Allen was voted the Pepsi Next Rookie of the Year by fans nationwide. The dynamic 21-year old set team rookie records with 1,046 yards and 71 catches while leading all NFL rookies in receptions, yards and touchdown catches (eight). Allen became the first rookie to top the 1,000-yard plateau since 2011 and was only the fifth since 2000 to reach that mark. He was recognized repeatedly for his outstanding efforts and was voted the Pepsi Next Rookie of the Week four times. In two postseason games, Allen notched eight catches for 163 yards and two touchdowns.

Pyro's take: Keenan had a great rookie season, and there is reason to believe he can bust out even more in his second year. Allen demonstrated precise chemistry with Philip Rivers, and he showed the ability to make the tough catch. The rookie was also the Chargers best receiver in the redzone with his eight touchdowns.

The game will slow down even more for #13 next season, and with another year in Mike McCoys offense he should be primed for another outstanding season. The Chargers should look to add some more help at receiver and with the development of Ladarius Green, Keenan will have more weapons around him, leading to more one on one coverages. The arrow points up for #13.

02/16/14, 04:29 PM CST by Houdini

Allen is playing like a seasoned vet

It seems after each game this year, there has been reason to sing the praises of Keenan Allen.
Sunday against the Giants was no different.The third-round pick out of Cal notched his 59th, 60th and 61stcatches of the season, setting a new Chargers record for a rookie, besting LaDainian Tomlinson’s mark of 59 set in 2001.

"Keenan was great again,” said Philip Rivers. "That's pretty impressive. (61) catches, that’s awesome when you think about all the receivers that have been through here."

Allen believes he can make any play out there in part due to the confidence his teammates have given him.

“It’s just the confidence I have and that the guys and coaches give me throughout practice,” he said. “You make those plays in practice and then you make them in the game and it’s just like practice.”

Allen broke the rookie record with a third down catch at the end of the first quarter in which he injured his shoulder. He went into the locker room for further evaluations, and when he came back out of the tunnel later in the second quarter, he did so to a raucous ovation from the crowd.

How did he respond to that show of support?

By catching his second touchdown of the game, this one in the back left corner of the end zone to make it 17-0.

Pyro's take: Allen has been on a steady maturation process since he was drafted by the Chargers. In training camp this season he fell behind early and was making a lot of mistakes. If it were not for injuries to Malcom Floyd and Danario Alexander we may have missed out on this rookie's development.

Allen has established himself as the Chargers, and Rivers, number one option at receiver. He has shown a pension for making the big touchdown catch, but he also makes the important third down conversion catch.

Allen found the endzone twice on Sunday, and that was on the heels of back-to-back 100-yard receiving games. The rookie is not playing like one, and he should have some nice opportunities against the Broncos on Thursday.

12/09/13, 05:26 PM CST by Houdini

Keenan Allen blogged on the Chargers website this week

Being on a three game losing streak is tough, but me personally, I’m always going to come out and try to get better. I’ll never be satisfied, and I think that’s the mindset of the team as well. We’re going to keep on trying to build our bond and come through this losing streak. We still believe in ourselves, so we’re going to come out, play our best and hopefully we can go on a run.

I get a lot of questions about what my rookie year is like, and it’s been good. I think my knowledge of the game has gotten better and the speed of the game has slowed down. But I’m trying to get better with all aspects, and again I’ll never be satisfied. One thing I’m working on is to improve my technique in my route running. I learned a lot about technique from Danario Alexander. He was one of the best route runners in all of training camp, and Malcom Floyd helped me with being a go-getter.

Oh and one more thing, a lot of fans want to know why I wear number 13. I used to wear it in middle school and I liked it then, and I didn’t want a number in the 80’s so I went with 13.

Pyro's take: Allen has been impressive as a rookie this season. During a stretch of 4 games Allen had three 100-yard receiving games with 3 touchdowns. The rookie has been held under 50 yards and without a touchdown over the past two weeks.

#13 has a tough match-up ahead of him this week. The Chiefs are coming off their first loss of the season, and the Chargers will have their hands full in Arrowhead. Allen should see a lot of Brandon Flowers, which is bad news for fantasy point potential.

11/20/13, 08:17 PM CST by Houdini

One step forward and two steps back

A poor decision didn't cost the Chargers this time.

It could, coach Mike McCoy said Tuesday, the next.

Running back Ryan Mathews overall had a gritty, physical night Monday, his first 100-yard rushing game since December 2011. But just as positives can be taken from a loss, McCoy took issue with a negative in the fourth quarter of a 19-9 win over the Colts.

"I can't repeat what I said on the sideline yesterday," McCoy said. "It comes down to, that could have cost us the game."

The Chargers were in their four-minute offense, the goal to milk the clock and build on a 16-9 lead. The Colts had all three timeouts, and Mathews bounced a short run to the outside and out of bounds for a 4-yard gain.

That stopped the clock at 2:34.

Instead of Indianapolis using its first timeout, San Diego did. The drive ended with a 50-yard Nick Novak field goal.

Pyro's take: This type of mistake by Mathews is one that could cost him playing time in crucial situations. Mathews currently does not get redzone carries, and if he makes another mistake like this one, he will not be carrying the ball late in the game either.

It was nice to see him run effectively in this game, but Mathews continues to struggle to break the big run and really be a game changing back in the NFL or fantasy.

10/17/13, 07:39 PM CDT by Houdini

Keenan Allen arrives late Sunday/Early Monday

It was a big day for the rookie.

Not that he’ll admit to patting himself on the back.

“I’m just out here trying to get a win,” Allen said.

Allen caught six passes for 115 yards (and a touchdown) in just his fifth NFL game.

Early in the third quarter, the rookie appeared to have caught a TD pass that would have cut the Raiders’ lead to 17-7. However, upon review, the officials reversed the call as it looked as though Allen never got his left foot down.

Allen would eventually find the end zone when he scored on a 7-yard pass from Rivers, which came just two plays after Brown’s touchdown was nullified.

Pyro's take: I am not sure how many of you actually stayed up to watch the Raiders versus the Chargers, but I did and I liked what I saw from the rookie. Allen was making full extension catches and displayed nice hands. He was also able to come back and score a touchdown after having one taken away as he just missed staying in bounds. The Chargers also lost Ryan Mathews to a concussion and he may not be back this week, which would mean Rivers will be looking to air it out against the Colts on Monday Night next week. Allen is a nice pickup, but you better do it before he does it on a Monday Night with everyone watching as opposed to the Monday morning game it was this week.

10/07/13, 10:25 PM CDT by Houdini

Vincent Brown putting it all together

After San Diego's 27-17 loss to the Raiders, not too many people were talking about the fact that Brown had eight receptions for 117 yards

I'm just trying to take advantage of opportunities, that's how I look at every week," said Brown, the Chargers third-round pick in 2011 who sat out last year following a broken ankle. "Unfortunately, we didn't get the win. I was trying to make plays, that's all."

Brown caught a 51-yard pass from Philip Rivers in the third quarter to help spark a scoring drive that brought the Chargers to within 14 points. It looked as though he scored a touchdown via a 30-yard pass in the fourth quarter, but that play was nullified due to an illegal-formation penalty against the Chargers.

Pyro's take: Vincent Brown was a guy we had talked about before the start of the season, and now he is playing like we thought he would. Brown has earned his spot and the Chargers may have finally found the weapons in the receiving game for Philip Rivers with Brown and rookie Keenan Allen.

10/07/13, 10:16 PM CDT by Houdini


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