Source: USA Today
The Chargers, losers of three straight, are looking at their third game in 11 days.
Welcome to life in the NFL, one that hasn't been kind to the Chargers of late. First it was the Monday night Meltdown in the loss at Kansas City and then Sunday's thumping courtesy of the Green Bay Packers in this demanding stretch.
Just like that, it's Thursday with the Raiders visiting.
Sure the Chargers are sore about losing but they're also sore about playing so much in so little time.
But their rivals don't care, especially with the next one being the Raiders with a share of first place in the AFC West on the line.
"We have a lot of professionals on this team who know how to work and get their assignments down in a short amount of time," center Nick Hardwick said. "We will be ready to go."
The Chargers, at least, escaped Sunday's loss without any significant injuries. And there's a chance some of those not playing Sunday with injuries could go Thursday.
And about Sunday - the Chargers fell, 45-38, but just maybe they showed a spark 31-17 deficit.
Can that momentum carry over?
"Sure we can and we have to," Hardwick said. "We have to use this to propel us forward."
It's a short week, with a walk-through on Monday, a decent practice Tuesday and another light one on Wednesday.
Then here come the Raiders, and the end of one of the Chargers' most demanding parts of their schedule.
—An increasingly frustrated Chargers fan base is miffed with the Chargers losing their third straight. Any message to those paying customers, coach Norv Turner? "I get asked that and what message do you want me to say?" Turner said. "I know this: our guys are doing everything they can. They're doing their best. They are fighting."
—QB Philip Rivers wasn't surprised RB Mike Tolbert did well on a wet day, rushing for a game-high 83 yards and a score on 19 carries. With Ryan Mathews out, Tolbert was asked to carry the rushing load. "Tolbert is a good runner out in the street; he's a good runner anywhere," Rivers said. "You're asking a back to not really take any rests. There's a bunch of backs in this league that would like to hold up that hand and come out after every good run. He stood in there and played every play."
—ILB Takeo Spikes was brought in for his leadership almost as much for his production. He's preaching to his teammates that they need to stay strong during this three-game skid. "I'm proud of the guys and the character of this team," he said of Sunday's rally that fell short against the Raiders. "Adversity is what we are going through right now and we fought hard. There are no moral wins, but you have to take something from this game and we will."
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
—RB Ryan Mathews (groin) was able to get some work in Monday and the feeling his he may be able to go Thursday after missing Sunday's game.
—WR Malcom Floyd (hip) might be a game-time decision.
—OLB Shaun Phillips (foot) is likely down one more game. Indications are the team is aiming for the Bears game on Nov. 20 for Phillips coming back.
—LG Kris Dielman (concussion) is going to miss his third straight game as he's yet to take and pass tests which would allow him to return.
—CB Antoine Cason is regaining his starting job after rookie Marcus Gilchrist struggled in his two starts after replacing him.
REPORT CARD VS. PACKERS
PASSING OFFENSE: D - Tough to give just a low grade to a quarterback throwing four touchdowns but once again Philip Rivers' play helped cost the Chargers a game. Rivers' threw three interceptions, two were returned for touchdowns and the third iced the loss. Rivers did throw for 385 yards but completed just 26-of-46 passes. Antonio Gates had a game-high eight receptions; Vincent Jackson was solid with seven catches for 141 yards and three scores.
RUSHING OFFENSE: C - The Chargers were thin here because of injuries and had to lean on Mike Tolbert throughout the game. Tolbert responded with 83 yards on 19 rushes and a touchdown; run blocking was good.
PASS DEFENSE: D - The secondary continues to get picked on, especially CB Marcus Gilchrist who got burned for two touchdowns. The pass rush did get four sacks, but some of those were just Aaron Rodgers being smart and taking the hit. Rodgers was comfortable enough to complete 21-of-26 passes and four touchdowns. Safety Eric Weddle had but one solo tackle, two total.
RUSH DEFENSE: C - The Chargers continue to show leaks here, especially when needing a stop in key, short-yardage situations. The Packers rushed for 136 yards and averaged over five yards per carry. Tommie Harris, though, showed some production; Antonio Garay had six tackles and a sack.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B - With an onside kick recovered in the final minutes, the Chargers pulled to within a score of catching the Packers; Darrell Stuckey had the big recovery. Also a career-long, 52-yard field goal from and 60-yard punt by Mike Scifres.
COACHING: F - Norv Turner gets credit for keeping his players interested and it showed when they mounted a last-gasp rally that fell short. But he hasn't figured out how to get Rivers out of his slump, and until this quarterback guru can do that, the Chargers are in trouble. Plus it was eight more penalties, giving the Chargers 33 in their past three games. Greg Manusky, the defensive coordinator, threw just about everything at Rodgers but he was just good no matter what he did.