Entering Week 9, the Bolts continue to ride the hot right arm of Philip Rivers. Number 17 is coming off a historic game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. For the record, he completed his first 14 passes in the game (a team-record), became just the 37th QB in history to cross the 30,000-yard threshold for his career (the fifth-fastest in NFL history to do so) and he completed 84.6 percent of his passes (22 of 26) to become the first quarterback in team history with three games of 80 percent or higher in a single season. All together, Rivers has completed 184 of 249 (73.9%) for 2,132 yards, 15 touchdowns and just five interceptions. His completion percentage this season is nearly 10 percentage points higher than his career average (64.3) and his 111.1 passer rating (second in the NFL) is more than 15 points higher than his career rating of 95.6. Rivers has done a terrific job of spreading the wealth as the Chargers are one of only three teams in the league (Denver and Cincinnati) with five different receivers who have at least 22 catches and a touchdown.
On Offense for the Redskins
Sophomore sensation Robert Griffin III is the clear focal point of the Redskins offense. The second-year passer is coming off offseason knee surgery, and while some say he looked rusty to start the year, he’s found his groove. RGIII has completed 158 of 268 passes (59.0%) for 1,878 yards, nine touchdowns and eight interceptions. He is second on the team in rushing with 240 yards, averaging 5.6 yards per carry. Washington’s leading runner is Alfred Morris. He’s toted the ball 108 times for 565 yards (5.2 ypc) and has four touchdowns. In regards to receivers, Pierre Garson leads the team with 47 catches for 512 yards and two touchdowns.
On Defense for the Chargers
The San Diego defense is in the midst of one of its most impressive streaks in franchise history. The unit enters the game with a franchise-record-tying streak of 11 straight quarters without surrendering an offensive touchdown. That hasn’t happened since 1977. Over the last five weeks the defense is giving up only 309.5 yards per game (sixth-fewest in the NFL) and 15.8 points (fourth-fewest). Overall, the Chargers are seventh in the NFL in red zone defense, 12th in 3rd down defense and their 20.6 points per game allowed is ninth fewest in the entire NFL.
On Defense for the Redskins
The Redskins on defense are led by the ageless wonder, 38-year old London Fletcher. In his 16th NFL season, Fletcher is second on the team in tackles with 52, just 10 behind leader Perry Riley. Meanwhile, Ryan Kerrigan is another disruptive force. He paces the squad with 6.5 sacks as well as three fumbles forced. Washington will also have Brandon Meriweather back after the safety served a one-game suspension.
The Chargers and Redskins have only met nine times in the regular season. The Redskins won the first six meetings in the series between 1973-98, but the Chargers have won the last three, including victories in San Diego in 2001 (30-3) and 2009 (23-20). Sandwiched in between was a 23-17 overtime win in Washington in 2005. The Chargers’ all-time record in Washington is 1-4.
By the Numbers
For the year, the Chargers rank fourth in total offense (402.9 yards per game), sixth in passing (294.1 ypg), 15th in rushing (108.7 ypg) and 13th in points (24.0). The Redskins rank seventh in total offense (394.4 ypg), 10th in passing (257.1 ypg), sixth in rushing (137.3 ypg) and 10th in points (24.7)
Defensively, the Bolts rank 23rd in total defense (378.6 ypg), 26th in passing (273.1 ypg), 16th in rushing (105.4 ypg) and sixth in points allowed (20.6). Washington ranks 29th in total defense (397.1 ypg), 27th in passing (273.7 ypg), 30th in rushing (123.4 ypg) and 31st in points allowed (32.7).
Milestones on the Horizon
Philip Rivers has three games this season in which he’s completed at least 20 passes and 80 percent of his pass attempts. Brett Favre (2009) and Drew Brees (2011) are the only other quarterbacks in NFL history to do so three times in a season. If Rivers does it again in 2013, it will set a new NFL single-season record.
Antonio Gates has 21-career 100-yard games (sixth in team history). He needs one more to tie Wes Chandler for fifth. He needs five more to tie Kellen Winslow’s mark (26) for most in team history by a tight end.
Ryan Mathews (2,922 career rushing yards) is currently sixth on the team’s all-time rushing list. He needs 388 yards to move past the late Chuck Muncie (3,309) for fifth.
Mathews scored his 15th career rushing touchdown on Oct. 20 in Jacksonville. He needs two more to break into the team’s Top 10 for career rushing touchdowns. Hank Bauer, Rod Bernstine, Dick Post and Clarence Williams all scored 17 rushing touchdowns during their Chargers careers.
Eric Weddle will play in his 100th career game Sunday in Washington.
Nick Novak has 269 career points and needs seven to move into the team’s Top-10 for career scoring. Currently, running back Paul Lowe is 10th with 276 career points.
Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt played tight end and H-back for the Redskins for two seasons (1989-90).
Defensive quality control coach Chad Grimm’s father, Russ Grimm, is a former Washington Redskins Hall of Fame offensive lineman. The elder Grimm also coached in Washington after his playing days were over. Chad attended Oakton High School in Vienna, Virginia and Virginia Tech.
Crezdon Butler played in two games for the Redskins during the 2012 season.
Nick Novak kicked in 11 games for the Redskins over the 2005 and ’06 seasons.
Guard Chad Rinehart was a third-round pick of the Redskins in 2008 and he spent the 2008-09 seasons in D.C., playing in four games.
Kwame Geathers’ uncle, James “Jumpy” Geathers, played for the Redskins from 1990-92.
Redskins long snapper Kyle Nelson played in six games for the Chargers in 2012.