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Chargers Team Report - 11/30/10

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by ChargerRay, Nov 30, 2010.

  1. ChargerRay

    ChargerRay Producer/Host of BoltTalk Staff Member Super Moderator Podcaster

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    Source: USA Today

    The Chargers are saying, "Bring on the Raiders," and they are saying it with conviction.
    Fresh from 36-14 thrashing the Colts on Sunday night, the Chargers settle in for a three-game homestand, accompanied by a four-game winning streak.

    With five games remaining, the team that was once 2-5 is a game out of first place in the AFC West behind the Chiefs, a team which will visit San Diego on Dec. 12. But first comes Oakland this weekend, as the Chargers look to avenge an earlier loss and keep the pressure on Kansas City.

    But before being engulfed in Raiders Week, the Chargers looked back on Sunday night, when they turned in their most complete win of the season.

    Long gone are the bonehead plays and special teams miscues that nearly derailed the season back in September and October.

    "We're a great team that has shot ourselves in the foot several times," safety Eric Weddle said. "During this win streak, we haven't really done that. This win was obviously huge for us, but we feel we have to win the rest of them. We believe each game is our Super Bowl, a contest we have to win.

    "Because of where we were at 2-5, there's a sense of urgency that never leaves us. We're playing well, but we know that momentum can be gone in an instant. That's why we never let our guard down and we never stop working."

    The Chargers gave the Colts all they could handle and more in defeating the AFC power for the fifth time in six games. Peyton Manning was intercepted four times as the Chargers bottled up the running game and sent a strong enough pass rush at Manning that he never looked at ease.

    But the Chargers can't ease off the pedal. They squandered a big opportunity earlier in the season when playing a string of cupcakes. Next up are the Raiders, Chiefs and 49ers at home, teams which will be underdogs against the streaking Chargers.

    "Everything we've accomplished can be undone with poor play over the next two weeks," Weddle said. "We understand that we haven't accomplished anything yet."

    The Chargers are above .500 for the first time this season after a game in which they showed brawn and brains.

    "It was a complete win for us," coach Norv Turner said. "I thought our guys played in a very, very physical manner. Obviously when you're scoring on defense and getting takeaways, it's a good feeling."

    The good times are back at Chargers Park as San Diego solidifies its reputation for making a late-season run. The team that ended last year with 11 straight wins is hoping to end this one with a nine-game run.

    "It doesn't matter what month it is or how cold it is outside," inside linebacker Stephen Cooper said. "We're rolling because we're playing well in all three phases."

    NOTES, QUOTES

    —The anticipated return of Pro Bowl receiver Vincent Jackson didn't last very long — three plays. "Unfortunately it's what happens when you haven't been (playing games for a long period)," coach Norv Turner said. "He's got a strain in his calf, and he was pretty sore. Hopefully it's not a long-term deal and we can get him back."

    Jackson has looked good in practice as he served his team-mandated three-game suspension. That came after he sat out the first seven games in a contract dispute.

    "I'll be all right," Jackson said. "Talk to (trainer James Collins) and Norv about it. They've got a report, that's what they do. I'm not going to talk about it."

    —With Jackson going down early in the game and Malcom Floyd aggravating his hamstring injury, tight end Antonio Gates stayed in despite a sore toe and foot. Gates didn't play much, but he led the team with four receptions for 46 yards.

    "I was in pain the whole game, but I gave them everything I could," Gates said. "It was important for me to give it a go because of the situation. We were playing on the road, against the Colts. I felt like I had to try and play. While I'm in a ton of pain, I'm glad I was able to contribute."

    —With the Chargers on a roll, the close-but-no-call of a penalty on Eric Weddle is typical. If the Chargers were in their early-season funk, maybe a flag comes out when Weddle brushed against Reggie Wayne in intercepting a Peyton Manning pass and returning it 41 yards for a touchdown. Every time the play was shown on the Lucas Oil Stadium scoreboard, a cascade of boos followed.

    "He came underneath, swiped at my hand and I undercut it," Weddle said. "He acted a little bit and I grabbed him a little bit, and the flag wasn't thrown. You have to take advantage of that situation, make the pick and get in the end zone. I was able to do that, and it swung momentum to our side."

    STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

    PLAYER NOTES

    —WR Vincent Jackson (calf) could be out this week, as he was undergoing an MRI on Monday.

    —WR Malcom Floyd's return to the lineup didn't go as planned, as he tweaked his mending hamstring. Playing in Sunday night's game might have cost him the chance to play this week against the Raiders.

    —WR Legedu Naanee hadn't played in five games because of a hamstring strain, but he responded with three catches for 38 yards Sunday and seemed to hold up all right. His play was critical with WRs Vincent Jackson and Malcom Floyd not being up to par.

    —RG Tyronne Green graded well in replacing starter Louis Vasquez (neck).

    —WR Patrick Crayton, who underwent wrist surgery last week, is expected to be out for a significant length of time.

    REPORT CARD VS. COLTS

    PASSING OFFENSE: B — No gaudy numbers for the second week in a row, and that is fine with Philip Rivers. He didn't throw for a touchdown Sunday night, ending his team-record streak of recording one touchdown pass in 23 straight games. But Rivers is about winning, not numbers, and he will take 185 passing yards with no touchdowns — and no interceptions — any time when it results in a victory. Antonio Gates continues to stiff-arm pain and produce; Legedu Naanee looked good in his return after five games out with a hamstring injuries. Rivers was sacked twice.

    RUSHING OFFENSE: A — Mike Tolbert continues to prove this team can win without its first-round pick, Ryan Mathews. As Mathews nurses a sore ankle, Tolbert cranked out his second straight 100-yard rushing game and added the team's only offensive touchdown. Tolbert, with his bruising style, does a lot of the work on his own, but give credit to the front line, as there were significant holes for Tolbert to run through.

    PASS DEFENSE: A — Making four interceptions was the key, as Peyton Manning never did get comfortable in the pocket. Kudos to Dante Hughes, as he did well in the nickel role with Donald Strickland not able to go. Kevin Burnett and Eric Weddle both returned interceptions for touchdowns; Stephen Cooper and Antoine Cason also had picks. Shaun Phillips had a sack; Antonio Garay should have had one but didn't get credit.

    RUSH DEFENSE: A — The Colts couldn't get anything going from their ground game, as the Chargers' defensive line won the battle up front. In particular, Garay continues to play effectively in the middle. Inside linebackers Stephen Cooper and Kevin Burnett, played very well, too.

    SPECIAL TEAMS: A — Getting five field goals from Nate Kaeding, a career high, was crucial, as the offense didn't have its usual production. Darren Sproles had 89 yards on three kickoff returns. The coverage teams were basically on the spot. Great improvement here from earlier in the year.

    COACHING: A — Norv Turner was smart to lean on the run so much, picking on a Colts defense that has struggled defending the run all season. Ron Rivera, the defensive coordinator, had Peyton Manning off-kilter, sending various blitzes and various players from various angles to get inside the Colts' pocket and Manning's head. The defense is starting to pick up turnovers, which wasn't the case earlier in the year.
     

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