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Branden Oliver Shines against Dallas

Stephen Dunn

Last Week the Chargers site Bolts from the Blue predicted that Branden Oliver would be the player that Sand Diego fans would "Irrationally fall in love with". Well, they were half right.

BFTB noted that Oliver made the biggest impression on San Diego fans, which says a lot considering the general success that the Chanrges backfield had.

Chargers-Cowboys final score:San Diego dominates Dallas 27-7 - Bolts From The Blue
The rushing offense was mostly unstoppable. While the longest run was 27 yards, whomever was carrying the ball consistently picked up four or more yards every time their number was called. Marion Grice finished the game with the most carries, but it was Branden Oliver that made the most noise. Oliver finished with 64 yards and a touchdown on just seven carries, and was the talk of Twitter for most of the night.

B. Oliver 7 64 9.1 1 27
M. Grice 14 35 2.5 0 18
D. Brown 3 22 7.3 0 8
R. Mathews 5 19 3.8 0 7
D. Woodhead 2 10 5.0 0 6
K. Williams 6 10 1.7 1 6
K. Clemens 2 -3 -1.5 0 0
B. Sorensen 3 -5 -1.7 0 -1
Team 42 152 3.6 2 27

Oliver came in mid way through the second quarter, when much of the second units for each team were still on the field. He rolled off run of 14,4,2, and 16 yards in his first series, scoring a touchdown. THe next series out Oliver ran the ball three times for 31 yards to finish his day.

For an undrafted rookie free agent you could not have a better outing. He was being compared to Darren Sproles by the broadcast crew.

On his touchdown run Oliver got to show both his elusiveness by carving up the middle of the Dallas defense for ten yards and then took the ball nearly six more yards after contact for the score.

BO pretty much dragged rookie corner back back Terrance Mitchell in for the score.

Despite one very good game Oliver may still have a lot to prove if he wants to make the final 54 man roster. The Chargers have a boat load of  competent NFL running backs on the roster. Several weeks ago we thought BO would have done well to make the practice squad with such a contingent.

Branden Oliver Vs. The Chargers' Depth Chart - Bull Run
BO has the opportunity to make the practice squad on this team. If he displays good hands, he could be the next Woodhead in 2015 and his running style is very similar to Donald Brown's, so BO could contend to be Ryan Matthew's backup in 2015. As Woodhead is in his final year and Brown's money is guaranteed, the best BO could do this year is #4, if San Diego keeps 4 running backs on their 53 man roster. That said, Matthews has had injury problems in his career, and neither Brown nor Woodhead has been called upon to run the ball 20+ times a game. If an injury occurs, to Matthews or Brown, BO is the next best option at running back to grind out 10-20 carries.

After last night however maybe it's time to start BO-lieving.