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Blues and Golds - Game 1, Panthers at Chargers

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Sep 7, 2008.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 29, 2009
    By BlueandGold
    <em>BoltTalk Contributor</em>

    <a href="http://assets.espn.go.com/media/apphoto/ce4b8867-61ff-4041-ae89-ef38b2253540.jpg"><img class="alignright" title="San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, left, throws a pass under pressure from Carolina Panthers Thomas Davis, right, during the first quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 7, 2008, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)" src="http://assets.espn.go.com/media/apphoto/ce4b8867-61ff-4041-ae89-ef38b2253540.jpg" alt="" width="247" height="188" /></a>Ugh.

    I feel like I've just been socked in the gut, hard.

    But before I start this post, which is probably going to sound really negative, I would like to stress one thing: It's game 1. Yeah, it sucks to start the year this way. But now is not the time to call for firings and benchings. Perhaps in a month or two, it would be appropriate to start worrying. But it's one game.

    Due credit needs to go to the Panthers as well, for coming out prepared, executing, and not giving up at the end there.

    Now that I said that... #*#&amp;$ #(*#))_@ *&amp;&amp;@*#*(!!!!!!!!

    <strong><span style="font-size: medium;">BLUES:</span></strong>

    <strong>1. LINEBACKER (MLB in particular) PLAY.</strong> I harped on this all preseason. I hoped it was vanilla defense. I hoped it was lack of preparation. I freaking hoped that it as all those things many of you mentioned as to why we could not stop the run and short pass in the middle of the field. Well, here we are, a loss caused by that exact thing.

    Mike Wilhelm - you know what, I'm going to let you decide. Get a recording of the game and watch it yourself. All I know is that I am sick and tired of watching him get run around. Watch it yourself. I can't bear to watch 57 again today.

    Just so you know, our Middle Linebacker Wilhelm, the guy who is supposed to lead this defense in tackles every game (as that's how this 3-4 is supposed to run) got 3 solo tackles and 3 assists. That's NINTH on the tackle list for the Chargers. Who lead the team for the day? Shaun Phillips (8 solo and 1 assist)- and thank the football gods SOMEONE in the LB Corps was tackling - because right behind him on the list is the entire Charger secondary, nickel back included! To wit: Hart with 7 solo and 3 assists, Weddle with 7 and 4, Cason with 5 and 1, Cromartie with 5, and Jammer with 4 and 2. That's pathetic. Immediately following Jammer is Luis Castillo with 3 and 1. Yes, that's one of our supposedly blocker-engaging defensive linemen. That means that Shaun Phillips was the ONLY linebacker over the course of this whole game that did what he was supposed to do in this scheme - fill gaps and make tackles. That, my friends, is horrible. Horrible and scary.

    <strong>2. PLAYCALLING.</strong> Until the last quarter, that is. In the fourth quarter, it seemed as if Norv chose to unleash the hounds, and we got two touchdowns out of it. Now, I'm not too hard up on this, and no, if you look at the drive summaries, he did NOT run LT every time on first down (only 50% of the time).

    My problem is, for the first three quarters of the game, it was as if we had no flow to the game plan. It was disjointed, sloppy, and we weren't attacking any particular facet of the Panther defense. Unlike the Panthers, who obviously had a clear idea of what they wanted to do, it seemed like we didn't.

    I <em>would</em> say that it's up to the offense to execute, but when we chose to call the plays this offense is designed to run - when we unleashed the O in the fourth quarter - they executed and executed perfectly. No, I think it simply that we waited too long to really play offense the way we all know we can. We're a second half team, but that's ridiculous already. It's up to Norv and the coaching staff to get things warmed up faster.

    <strong>3. PRESEASON RUST?</strong> As was pointed out in a few articles in various publications, we had a few key guys that missed significant time in the preseason. Let's take a look at some of them.

    - Jamal Williams finished with 1 tackle and 1 assist. I know that he's not in a particularly stat friendly position, but he didn't look all that great out there either and spent some time off the field. It was insufferably hot outside today, in excess of 90 degrees on the field, and it's possible conditioning issues popped up for a man who needed rotation even when he was at the top of his game. Either way, we need to address this now, because it's more that just preseason rust... our Nose Tackle's age is showing, and with Lamar Divens gone to the Ravens, it's getting scary around these parts. Bingham and McKinney just can't plant the fence post like Jamal (when healthy, and probably younger) can, and it showed today.

    - Antonio Gates did score a touchdown on a great throw from PR, but he also didn't protect the ball on a first down catch, which led to the Panthers' Chris Harris stripping it out on the way down, and Chris Gamble returning it for a (game altering) touchdown. That's just rust, pure and simple.

    - LT hasn't seen a preseason snap in years. He came out hot on the first play (running outside the tackle), but one some plays he just allowed himself to be jammed up behind the line on plays I KNOW he would have seen the lateral opening and bounced outside on later in the season. Rust? I think so. It looked like he was settling in during the fourth quarter, but our resident TD machine didn't sniff the goal line today. It happened last year, too, and he picked it up, so I'm not worried about him. But it does lead to games like this one, where a non-rusty LT probably wins us the contest.

    I think there is a thing to be said about getting SOME game snaps during the preseason, injury risk or not.

    <strong>GOAT OF THE GAME:</strong> All the linebackers except Shaun Phillips. Awful, awful effort.

    <strong><span style="font-size: medium;">GOLDS</span></strong>

    <strong>1. SECONDARY PLAY.</strong> Yes, they eventually gave up the winning TD (along with Wilhelm). But for most of the game, they were the only part of the defense that WORKED. I pointed out above that Cason, Cromartie, and Jammer were 4, 5, and 6, respectively, on the tackle chart. Well, not only were they tackling, there were breaking up passes and, in the case of Cason, forcing a fumble that turned out to be the go-ahead points.

    It's not good when your secondary is your first line of defense as well as your last - and, as we all witnessed so painfully, they did give up the winning score - but if all the guys out there today, these guys deserve a pat on the back. If the rest of the D had performed up to their standards, we would have run away with this one.

    <strong>2. PHILIP RIVERS.</strong> What a clutch game he played today. I felt sorry for him in the first half - the playcalling just did not allow him to get in any appreciable rhythm. But when the playcalling started to get into a good flow, so did Philip - and he did it when we needed it most. He finished with 17/27 for 217 yards and 3 touchdowns, two of those touchdowns in the fourth quarter while he was leading the team back from 9 down. One of those as a brilliant pinpoint pass (while on the run) to Gates at the goal line pin, the other was a rocket to VJ for the go-ahead score.

    But more than that, PR had a great game in the pocket. He was aware, he slid around laterally to avoid sacks, and looked awful Marino-like at times. That's what I've wanted to see from him, and he delivered in this game. Our young QB is growing up, and if he can get in a rhythm earlier he's going to tear some teams apart. I'll reiterate what I said earlier - it's the coaching staff's job to make that happen.

    <strong>3. TOLBERT.</strong> Am I glad we signed this guy. Tolbert wound up third on the Chargers today in recieving with 3 receptions for 35 yards, outgaining LT through the air (3 reception for 15 yards). He also attained 6 yards rushing, one of them for a first down. I think he's demonstrated that this level's not too high for him. Now, I don't know how happy I am that they're sending Tolbert out on patterns while keeping LT in to block... but that's just me.

    <strong>PLAYER OF THE GAME:</strong> Philip Rivers. Almost, Philip. Almost.

    <strong>THE GAME IN ONE SENTENCE:</strong>

    Norv unleashes the offense late, but it wasn't enough to overcome terrible linebacker play.

    <a href="http://www.bolttalk.net/forums/showthread.php?t=15140" target="_blank"><em><strong>Discuss this article.</strong></em></a>

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