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Blues and Golds- Game 3, Jets at Chargers

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Sep 25, 2008.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

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

    <a href="http://a123.g.akamai.net/f/123/12465/1d/media.canada.com/canwest/22/092308chargers.jpg"><img class="alignright" title="San Diego Chargers Antonio Cromartie (R) intercepts a pass intended for New York Jets Laveranues Coles, before running it for a 52-yard touchdown during the second quarter of their Monday Night NFL football game in San Diego, California September 22, 2008. Photograph by : Reuters" src="http://a123.g.akamai.net/f/123/12465/1d/media.canada.com/canwest/22/092308chargers.jpg" alt="" width="222" height="222" /></a>Finally.

    That's probably what most of you are thinking, since it's late Wednesday and I'm only now getting these Blues and Golds out. Sorry about that.

    Moreover, I think that's the word that was in many Charger fans' minds after the Bolts demolished the Jets on Monday Night Football.

    The Chargers came out looking like the team we all expected to see at the beginning of the year. They scored with impunity, they played good defense, and they put a hurting on a lesser team. And best of all, they did it in front of a nationwide audience that was just beginning to doubt that they were as good as advertised.

    Now, there are still many worries to be had about the Chargers. But yesterday was a statement game - and the statement was: "We are the San Diego Chargers, and we are who you thought we were."

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

    <strong>1. SPECIAL TEAMS. </strong>

    Nate Kaeding kicked a ball off a tee nine times yesterday. NINE. Yes, that's a good thing - that means you're scoring a LOT. But the Jets made good use of those nine kickoffs. Leon Washington had 5 of those returns, and he turned them into 198 yards. That's almost a 40 yard average. Then, to make things worse, Jericho Cotchery had a 54 yard return on a short kick from Nate that made the coverage teams look inept.

    In addition, the Jets attempted three onside kicks on the night, recovering one on a Bill Buckner-esque mishap by Cromartie, and may have recovered another one if Jay Feely had not run into his own football. I think we saw just about every kind of onside kick there is. But that's no excuse - onside kicks are supposed to be longshots, but instead we made Jets Special Teams coach Mike Westhoff look like some sort of genius for even attempting them. Hmph.

    All in all, not a good night for the Chargers Special Teams.

    <strong>2. LADAINIAN'S TOE. </strong>

    He had a halfway decent night - 26 touches for 67 tough yards and 2 touchdowns, both of which came in very close goal line yardage. Suffice it to say that these numbers would have been a lot higher if LaDainian had been himself.

    Look, I know this may be an unpopular opinion, but I think Darren Sproles would have tore that Jets defense apart. I think he could have gotten 150+ yards and three or four scores. There was nobody on that defense that could touch him, and he makes up for our slightly injured offensive line with his diminutive size and his unbelievable shiftiness. He would have contributed more, in my opinion, than the self-admittedly 80% LT did.

    Don't think so? Sproles got 38 yards on 5 touches yesterday. That's 7.6 yards per carry. Oh, by the way, he also had two catches for 39 yards. The kid has game.

    I'm not saying LT has lost a step. Quite the contrary; before he got hurt he looked more explosive than he has been, maybe ever. But the fact remains that he's hurt, and two of our Pro-Bowlers on the Offensive Line are hurt too. Along with that, it really doesn't make sense to keep running on a bad toe when 1) you have a stud backup in Darren Sproles and 2) we're going to need LT when it really counts, meaning December and January.

    All I'm saying is, if it's me, I start a 100% Darren Sproles over an 80% LT. I think if we do that, the game is even more of a blowout, and just maybe, we run the clock off on the ground and don't see so many onside kicks.

    <strong>3. DEFENDING THE SPREAD OFFENSE.</strong>

    In the late third and fourth quarters, the Jets were basically the Brett Favre show. They went to five wides and just basically threw it every single play.

    And, it worked.

    Let me relate the Jets' last drive of the third quarter, which would also extend into the fourth:

    1-10-NYJ 17 :)58) (Shotgun) 4-B.Favre pass short left to 83-C.Stuckey to NYJ 29 for 12 yards (31-A.Cromartie).
    1-10-NYJ 29 :)35) (Shotgun) 4-B.Favre pass incomplete short left to 87-L.Coles.
    PENALTY on SD-31-A.Cromartie, Defensive Pass Interference, 6 yards, enforced at NYJ 29 - No Play.
    1-10-NYJ 35 :)31) (Shotgun) 4-B.Favre pass short right to 86-C.Baker to NYJ 44 for 9 yards (42-C.Hart, 23-Q.Jammer) [57-M.Wilhelm].
    2-1-NYJ 44 :)00) 4-B.Favre pass short right to 89-J.Cotchery to SD 44 for 12 yards (95-S.Phillips).
    1-10-SD 44 (15:00) (Shotgun) 4-B.Favre pass short left to 87-L.Coles to SD 39 for 5 yards (31-A.Cromartie).
    2-5-SD 39 (14:20) (Shotgun) 4-B.Favre pass incomplete deep right to 89-J.Cotchery.
    3-5-SD 39 (14:14) (Shotgun) 4-B.Favre pass short right to 89-J.Cotchery to SD 35 for 4 yards (24-C.Gordon).
    4-1-SD 35 (13:33) (Shotgun) 4-B.Favre pass short left to 86-C.Baker to SD 26 for 9 yards (28-S.Gregory).
    1-10-SD 26 (12:56) (Shotgun) 4-B.Favre pass short left to 83-C.Stuckey to SD 21 for 5 yards (20-A.Cason).
    2-5-SD 21 (12:28) (Shotgun) 4-B.Favre pass short middle to 83-C.Stuckey to SD 15 for 6 yards (20-A.Cason).
    1-10-SD 15 (12:05) (Shotgun) 4-B.Favre pass short left to 87-L.Coles to SD 12 for 3 yards (20-A.Cason).
    2-7-SD 12 (11:39) (Shotgun) 4-B.Favre pass incomplete short middle to 86-C.Baker.
    3-7-SD 12 (11:34) (Shotgun) 4-B.Favre pass short right to 89-J.Cotchery pushed ob at SD 6 for 6 yards (24-C.Gordon).
    4-1-SD 6 (11:12) 4-B.Favre up the middle to SD 4 for 2 yards (57-M.Wilhelm).
    1-4-SD 4 (10:43) (Shotgun) 4-B.Favre pass incomplete short left to 83-C.Stuckey (20-A.Cason).
    2-4-SD 4 (10:39) (Shotgun) 4-B.Favre pass short left to 83-C.Stuckey for 4 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

    What a frustrating drive that was. It was like getting eaten alive by ants. Favre for 12, Favre for 9, then 12, then 5, then 4, then 9...

    We defended it by going straight to man coverage at first. Even then, Favre got the ball out fast enough that all our guys could do was make the tackle. Then, on the next drive, when it appeared Cottrell had gotten frustrated with this constant nickel-and-diming, he blitzed.

    The result?

    2-2-SD 49 (10:01) (Shotgun) 4-B.Favre pass short left to 87-L.Coles to SD 8 for 41 yards (31-A.Cromartie, 28-S.Gregory).

    Yep, Favre beats the blitz and completes a pass to Coles for a 41 yard catch and run.

    This is a major problem, really the only problem the defense had all night. It's also the way Denver and Carolina moved the ball on us - spread us out and complete the easy passes underneath. Cottrell and Co. have yet to find a way to keep the spread offense at bay, and until they do, teams are going to continue to do it.

    Hopefully we figure it out sooner rather than later.

    <strong>GOAT OF THE GAME:</strong>

    The Special Teams.

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

    <strong>1. PHILIP RIVERS.</strong>

    It didn't start all that well - a pick-six to begin the action, then a near-pick on his very next pass.

    From that point on until the game ended, Philip threw only four incomplete passes. He accumulated 250 yards on 19 completions, along with three touchdowns.

    All very impressive.

    But above all else, Philip Rivers' preeminent moment of excellence, on a night full of them, came with 4 minutes and 51 seconds left in the fourth quarter. The Jets had just kicked a field goal to pull to 15 points behind - two touchdowns, an extra point, and a two-point conversion away from tying the game. Yeah, maybe a long shot, but the way the Packers were passing out of the 5 WR set, it's safe to say that I was pretty worried.

    It's 3rd Down and 5. Rivers gets to the line, sees something, and calls a quick audible.

    A snap, a throw, and 60 yards later, Vincent Jackson is tackled at the Jet 2-yard line. LT scores to ice the game one play later.

    We've all known that Philip Rivers had the chance to be elite. He's thrown big plays before, led comebacks before, showed clutch and grit before. But to me, that single moment elevated our young QB from "good" to "great". He knows his defense needs some time. He knows that the Jets are gaining momentum. Still, instead of going for the safe and easy 6 yard first down completion, he calls a gutsy audible, then throws a 60-yard dagger right into the hearts of the New York Jets.

    He's had a great year, and he leads the NFL in quite a few stats after three weeks. That's all well and good. But nothing I've seen so far has convinced me that he's come of age more than that one play.

    <strong>2. CRO.</strong>

    After finding himself burnt to a crisp last week by Brandon Marshall, Antonio Cromartie comes up with his best game of the season thus far. Yes, we all know about the two (should have been three) interceptions, including the pick six, but he also let the team in tackles (7 solo, 2 assists) and was generally all over the place. He had some great tackles that stopped recievers short of first down yardage.

    While he has to tone down the Neon Deion stuff (that little wave at the goal line) and try to emulate the best traits of his partner across the field, Quentin Jammer, it's good to see him get back in the saddle. Lord knows we needed him.

    <strong>3. THE LINEBACKERS.</strong>



    I don't know if that players only meeting took hold, or whether Wilhelm really was as threatened by Dobbins as he says he was, or if it was all Cottrell's idea, but they looked like a completely different unit out there. They played with enthusiasm, timed their blitzes well, tackled a LOT better, and did a great job getting pressure on the QB for most of the game. Jyles Tucker did a great Shawne Merriman impression, getting 5 tackles (+1 assist) and 2 sacks. Shaun Phillips wasn't far behind, with 4 solo tackles, 1 assist, and 1 sack.

    Tim Dobbins didn't have as monstrous a day on paper (2 tackles), but he had a monstrous one on the field. While not getting to the QB himself, he had some terrific "wedge-busting" blitzes into the center of the Jet offensive line that allowed the other guys to get penetration. He also stripped Thomas Jones of the ball early in the first quarter, which was then picked up by Quentin Jammer and ran back all the way to the Jet 16 yard line. It was the kind of aggressiveness and power in the middle of the defense that was sorely missed.

    It also obviously motivated Matt Wilhelm, who had his best production of the year with 4 tackles and 1 assist. Hey, don't laugh. It's something. It's better than bad. At least he tackled somebody.

    It remains to be seen whether they can keep this up for another week. Cooper comes back soon, which is a good thing. Dobbins looks like he's elevated his game. I've been hard on Matt Wilhelm, but I hope he's done the same.

    <strong>PLAYER OF THE GAME:</strong>

    Philip "The Chosen One" Rivers.

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

    With backs against the wall, the Philip Rivers and the Chargers come up with a much-needed dominating performance on Monday Night Football.

    <a href="http://www.bolttalk.net/forums/showthread.php?t=15571" target="_blank"><em><strong>Discuss this article</strong></em></a>

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