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Blues and Golds - Game 5, Chargers at Dolphins

Discussion in 'San Diego Chargers Hall of Champions' started by robdog, Oct 9, 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/91a2b961-3068-45da-bcfd-858abf9b2fd8.jpg"><img class="alignright" title="San Diego Chargers corner back Quentin Jammer, right, tries to stop Miami Dolphins running back Ronnie Brown during second half NFL football action in Miami, Sunday, Oct. 5, 2008. The Dolphins won 17-10. (AP Photo/J. Pat Carter)" src="http://assets.espn.go.com/media/apphoto/91a2b961-3068-45da-bcfd-858abf9b2fd8.jpg" alt="" width="226" height="170" /></a>Normally, I write these Blues and Golds after watching and re-watching the game, sometimes multiple times, on my DVR. Going over some plays, looking at some phases I don't pay enough attention to during the gameday excitement, yada yada.

    I just couldn't do it this week.

    Let me explain.

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

    <strong>1. UNINSPIRED PLAY.</strong>

    I tried to rewatch the game... I really did. But every time I got very far, I had to turn it off in disgust.

    I just didn't recognize this team out there.

    In some losses, I can accept that we are getting beaten. Perhaps outcoached. Maybe even out-physical'ed. But the Charger team I saw on Sunday did not get beat with any of those things as a root cause, although many of those things certainly came into play as proximate causes.

    The Charger team I saw on Sunday got beat because they were out-<em>desired</em>.

    "They wanted it more" is an over-used cliche in sports. Very seldom is it actually true - both sides, most of the time, really do want to win. They usually do leave it all on the field. They usually play to what, at least in their minds, is the envelope of their abilities.

    That wasn't the Chargers on Sunday. On Sunday, the Miami Dolphins really DID want it more.

    And nothing disgusts me more.

    Believe me, it was hard enough for me to watch this team half-*** their way around the field Sunday - I couldn't do it twice. If the quality of this article suffers a bit, I apologize. But if I see that crap again I will puke.

    There have been rumors flying around that the team (or certain members anyway) got wasted Saturday night, and played the game with a hangover. Perhaps. I can believe it.

    They didn't look right out there. Not at all.

    <strong>2. BALL CONTROL.</strong>

    Stat time. I'm going to give you two sets of stats. You guess which team had them. OK? Here we go.


    There's one team. Here's the other one:


    Can you guess which one it is? Hint - we got beaten like red-headed stepchildren.

    The Dolphins' last drive brought back horrible memories of the New England Patriots' last drive on us in the AFC Championship - just a horrible, inexorable drive, run after run, with us fans watching the defense do absolutely NOTHING to stop it.

    At one point, with many of these same players, out of this same defensive formation, there was no team that could run against us. Now we can't stop it.

    The blame rests on either the change in players or the change in coaching.

    Whichever one it is, I'll leave it for you to decide for yourself and for AJ Smith to decide for the team. Either way, it needs fixing - and soon - or else we can kiss our Superbowl dreams goodbye.

    You don't win Championships in the NFL without being able to STOP THE RUN.

    <strong>3. OFFENSIVE LINE PLAY.</strong>

    Philip Rivers was sacked only twice for 17 yards total, but what isn't in the stat sheet is the kind of pressure the Dolphins had in his face all game. As a result, he might have had one of his worst performance as a pro: 13/28 for 159 hard-earned yards and a TD. Again, stats don't tell you about the easy missed swing passes to LT, or the missed deep ball to Vincent Jackson.

    I'm not bagging on Rivers. Really. This was the second consecutive week he's faced a rush that has put him on his back - or face, or shoulder - multiple times in a game. The beating he took against the Raiders last week had a lot to do with his inaccuracy this week, I guarantee it. Sore ribs, sore shoulder, sore knees, and all this while being freshly recovered from offseason surgery. When you're that beat up, your arm (and body in general) don't always move in the way your brain tells them to.

    This falls directly on the Offensive Line, in my opinion - specifically, Marcus McNeill and Nick Hardwick, who are trying to struggle through the lack of preseason activity. Both of them have been beaten pretty regularly, both last week and against the Dolphins.

    Look, I admire these guys trying to fight their way back into playing shape, but the fact is that if they're not ready, keep their butts on the bench. The fact is, LJ Shelton and Jeremy Newberry as LT and C gave Philip Rivers an eternity to throw, and now he's getting pummeled. Something's gotta give, and I'd rather it NOT be our starting QB.

    In addition, this is the second week in a row that Mike Tolbert has missed a free rusher coming hard off the weak side, resulting in said free rusher hitting LT at just about the point of handoff. Last week, it resulted in a safety for the Raiders. This week, it was just a tackle for loss, but I swear I had deja vu. He's a great young fullback with a lot of potential; he's got great feet and a great pair of hands; but up here in the NFL, you've got to BLOCK as a fullback. LT's hurt, sure, but the loss of Lorenzo Neal, who also served as his second pair of eyes, hurts worse. Tolbert's gotta learn how to do the same things Lo did, even if he never becomes as good as Lo as far as blocking is concerned. All LT needs is a crease. Tolbert just needs to help him find it.

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

    Any of the Chargers who half-assed it out there, which means probably 90 percent of them. And Ted Cottrell. Do something to STOP THE RUN.

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

    <strong>1. ERIC WEDDLE.</strong>

    The team's leading tackler added another 8 solo tackles and 2 assists to his total.

    Why is our leading tackler a SAFETY?

    Ahem, this is the Golds section. Sorry.

    Either way, Weddle's doing a decent job back there. He finds his way to the play, and oftentimes gets the job done when multiple other guys can't make the tackle. The tagline on Weddle in the draft was that he was always around the ball. Well, it's certainly looking that way, and remember, it's his first season starting. He'll get better. 10 tackles in a game is a pretty good game for a first year starting safety.

    <strong>2. COOPER'S BACK!</strong>

    ...and he had 7 solo tackles, 1 assist, and some ludicrous trash talking toward the Dolphins bench while his defense couldn't STOP THE RUN!!!!

    (Sorry. Golds section. Gotta remind myself.)

    Look, it may look bad that the defense actually got worse when he returned, but Coop did very well in his return. Without the explosive Jyles Tucker in there, who was held out with an injury, Cooper's return was like a 1 for 1 swap, moving good LB play inside for the loss of LB play outside. I like Marques Harris, but Jyles has really come into his own on the outside, and we missed him and his athleticism on Sunday.

    I'm also happy to see a LB anywhere near the top of the tackle chart.

    <strong>3. MIKE SCIFRES.</strong>

    6 punts. A 50.5 yard AVERAGE. A 67 yard long.

    Sci-Fi is Gawd.

    (Reminder: Golds section. Uh huh, you know what I was thinking.)

    He did his part to give us a chance to win.

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

    Mike Scifres.

    <strong><span style="font-size: medium;">THE GAME IN ONE SENTENCE:</span></strong>

    The Dolphins wanted it more.

    <a href="http://www.bolttalk.net/forums/showthread.php?t=15833" target="_blank"><em><strong>Discuss this article.</strong></em></a>

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