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Another playoff game, another loss for Schottenheimer

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Jan 15, 2007.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

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    Source: <a target="_blank" href="http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news;_ylt=AmZWL88SygeXMnTsPtrGARNDubYF?slug=ap-chargers-schottenheimer&prov=ap&type=lgns">Associated Press</a>

    <img width="345" height="229" alt="Marty Schottenheimer contemplates his latest postseason loss." title="Marty Schottenheimer contemplates his latest postseason loss." src="http://photos.signonsandiego.com/gallery1.5/albums/070114ne-playoff/KC_ChargersNE267167x1102.jpg" />

    By Ken Peters

    SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Marty Schottenheimer may not get a chance to lose another playoff game, at least with the San Diego Chargers.

    The San Diego coach absorbed his sixth consecutive playoff defeat Sunday when the New England Patriots rallied for a 24-21 win over the mistake-prone Chargers.

    Schottenheimer has a year remaining on his contract, for more than $3 million, but his relationship with Chargers general manager A.J. Smith apparently has deteriorated recently.

    Asked if he plans to be back next year, the 63-year-old Schottenheimer said, "I do."

    Even a high-octane offense featuring league MVP LaDainian Tomlinson and Pro Bowl quarterback Phillip Rivers, and a solid defense couldn't keep Schottenheimer's woeful postseason record from falling to 5-13 -- with Cleveland, Kansas City and San Diego.

    He seemed relatively stoic following the latest installment.

    "Anytime you're in the playoffs and lose -- and certainly I have plenty of experience at it -- there's a disappointment," Schottenheimer said.

    The defeat was his fourth with the conference's top-seeded team, and the ninth time his teams have lost their first playoff game.

    It was the Chargers' fourth straight loss in the postseason dating to the Super Bowl following the 1994 season. That stretch includes a 17-14 overtime defeat by the New York Jets in 2004 when Schottenheimer was the Chargers' coach.

    San Diego had a first-round bye this time, thanks to winning the last 10 regular-season games for an AFC-best 14-2 record.

    "Right now, the only thing I'm interested in is making sure that the group of young men in the locker room and the coaching staff understand that, while we didn't go anywhere in these playoffs, we had a darned good football season," Schottenheimer said.

    "At this point, I'll take some comfort in that. It kind of balances the disappointment of today."

    Schottenheimer ranks fifth on the NFL list with 200 regular-season victories, but he's also the coach with the most wins without a league championship. The other coaches who won at least 200 regular-season games -- Don Shula, George Halas, Tom Landry and Curly Lambeau -- all won multiple Super Bowls or NFL titles.

    In the latest version of Marty-goes-home-to-watch-the-Super-Bowl, the coach known for his usually conservative approach took a few chances.

    He had the Chargers pass up a field goal attempt to go for a first down on fourth-and-11 from the New England 30 in the first quarter, but Rivers was sacked for a 5-yard loss.

    The Patriots then drove to a field goal of their own, moving to the San Diego 32 before coach Bill Belichick sent out Stephen Gostkowski, who kicked 50-yard field goal to put the Patriots up by three.

    That turned out to be the winning margin.

    The Chargers also made some sandlot-caliber, embarrassing mistakes: Eric Parker fumbled a punt in the third quarter, crawled over to grab the ball, then tried to get up and run. He fumbled it again, New England recovered and drove to a 34-yard field goal by Gostkowski to close within 14-13.

    With the Chargers up 21-13 and 6:25 remaining, San Diego safety Marlon McCree picked off a Tom Brady pass at the San Diego 31, but he didn't protect the ball, instead taking off into heavy traffic, where he fumbled. Brady shortly afterward threw a touchdown pass to Reche Caldwell, and Kevin Faulk -- catching the defense off-guard when he took a direct snap -- ran for a 2-point conversion to tie it 21-all.

    After the Chargers had to punt from their own 34 with 3:42 left, Brady moved the Patriots down to the San Diego 13, where Gostkowski gave them the lead with a 34-yard field goal with 1:10 remaining. The Chargers then were able to drive from their 25 to the New England 36, but Nate Kaeding's 54-yard field goal try fell short with 3 seconds remaining.

    Linebacker Shaun Phillips, asked about Schottenheimer's future, said, "That's up to the people upstairs. But I plan on playing for Marty the rest of my career."

    Tomlinson, who ran for 123 yards and scored two TDs, said the blame will fall on Schottenheimer.

    "It's the nature of the business," he said. "It shouldn't be coach taking all the heat. It should be the whole team."
     

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