The Chargers found their ‘beast.’ The Giants only found more problems.
With so much amiss all season for both, the ebb and flow of the entire four quarters was an exercise in which team would blow it and which team’s top players would rise and win it.
That latter would be the Chargers and quarterback Phillip Rivers and running back Melvin Gordon and defensive end Melvin Ingram. Put the Giants and quarterback Eli Manning and receiver Odell Beckham, Jr., and defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul in the other box.
The Chargers won it, 27-22, proving the difference between a 1-4 record and 0-5 is a wide divide in happiness, hope, and relief.
It was linebacker Anthony Barr who dispensed the hit, an ominous blow as Rodgers was running right and released a throw. Barr is a fourth-year player who was a Vikings 2014 first-round draft pick. I saw him in a game at Atlanta in 2015 where he wrecked the Falcons with eight tackles, a sack, two fumble recoveries and on that day looked every bit of Hall of Famers Lawrence Taylor combined with Ray Lewis. He was that ferocious.
But the knock on Barr has been that he is not consistently tough enough or physical enough.
As a reward for his service, San Francisco acquiesced and released the linebacker. The 49ers had also spoken with the Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns and Carolina Panthers about a trade.
Bowman said he was looking forward to the fresh start.
It’s a refresher for me, he said. It’s a new picture, new scenery. Guys are a special group of guys. You can see the talent they have on the offensive side of the ball. I’m excited. I’m excited to play for an offense that’s eager to score points and I look forward to it.