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Blues and Golds - Week 4, Chargers at Raiders

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Oct 2, 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/f6d62f02-708e-49b9-9668-14e9988e4fc0.jpg"><img class="alignleft" title="Oakland Raiders JaMarcus Russell (2) is sacked by San Diego Chargers Shaun Phillips (95) and Luis Castillo (93) during the fourth quarter of a football game, Sunday, Sept. 28, 2008, in Oakland, Calif. The Chargers won 28-18. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)" src="http://assets.espn.go.com/media/apphoto/f6d62f02-708e-49b9-9668-14e9988e4fc0.jpg" alt="" width="191" height="239" /></a>Poor Lane Kiffin.

    He was one quarter away from getting at least a one-week stay of execution. If the Raiders had beaten the Chargers last Sunday, I would be willing to bet that Kiffin would still be the head coach of the Oakland Raiders.

    One quarter away.

    It's too bad that one quarter - a fourth quarter - was being played against the best fourth quarter team in football.

    In front of 61,808 fans, the Chargers scored 25 points in that fourth quarter to finally drop the guillotine on Kiffin and kick a reeling Oakland franchise into the cellar of the AFC West, where they settled next to a Chiefs team that, despite sharing the Raiders' 1-3 record, has two things the Raiders don't: a real Head Coach, and momentum.

    Oh, and that Chiefs team also happened to beat the Denver Broncos that same Sunday, which dropped them to 3-1, a mere Hochuli in front of the downhill-rolling Chargers.

    All in all, it was a good Sunday for the Bolts.

    Despite all that, I don't think this fan can take another game like that one. I know, a W is a W, but sheesh.

    All I want is a nice, boring blowout. That would be nice. Whaddaya say, Norv?

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

    <strong>1. STARTING SLOW. </strong>

    In the first three quarters combined, the Chargers gained 192 total yards and scored 3 points.

    That's just awful by any stretch of the imagination.

    It just seemed like nothing worked. LT was going nowhere. Philip Rivers threw two interceptions. Nate Kaeding missed a FG. The defense allowed JaMarcus Russell to hit a 63-yard TD pass to a Tight End, for crissakes. If there was a way to look inept, the Chargers probably did it somewhere in the first three quarters.

    Look - I like being a second-half team. I really do. I like the fact that we have this ambush-predator vibe, and that no lead is safe from this Charger team. Good stuff. All I want to see is a Charger team that at least looks respectable in the first half.

    So far this season, we've had to come back from two scores down to take the lead three times. Against Carolina, we came back from 19-10 to take the lead in the fourth quarter. Against Denver, we came back from 21-3 to take the lead, again late in the fourth quarter. We dominated the Jets (finally), then returned to form against the Raiders, where we had to come back from 15-0 to - care to guess? - take the lead in the fourth quarter.

    I'm happy about the wins, but I can't help to think that we would are simply one more good quarter per game from just destroying every team we come up against. A good quarter in the first half, specifically. Hopefully we find a way to have some good first halves to go with our dominant second halves.

    <strong>2. NATE KAEDING</strong>

    Nate attempted 4 field goals yesterday, and made 2 of them. He missed one from 44 and one from 47.

    We've all heard that Nate is currently one of the most accurate field goal kickers in history, if he maintains his current pace. That's all well and good. And, lest we forget, he did kick the go-ahead field goal in this game when it really mattered.

    Still, the game would have been over sooner if Nate would have made those two makeable FGs.

    <strong>3. CRO.</strong>

    Want to guess how many tackles Antonio Cromartie had against the Raiders?

    One. 1. Uno.

    That means he had more penalties against him than he had tackles, and both his Defensive Holding and Illegal Contact penalties came in the fourth quarter, when they really could have hurt.

    Not a good day for Antonio. I said it two weeks ago, and I'll say it again - Cro needs to get Deion out of his head, and replace him with his Charger cornerback compatriot across the way - who I'll talk about shortly.

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

    Nate Kaeding.

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

    <strong>1. FINISHING STRONG.</strong>

    Yeah, starting slow sucks. Still, the fact remains - we could very easily be 4-0 at the moment, such is the power of this Charger team in the second half. Against the Raiders, we scored 25 points in the fourth quarter, with 14 of those point in less that two minutes early in the period.

    This Charger team is capable of scoring in flurries, and the mental makeup of this squad is second to no team in my experience. No lead is safe, no deficit too large, no amount of bad play induces insurmountable panic. This team has heart and character, and it starts at the top with its Head Coach and is generaled on the field by it's quarterback.

    Of the many traits of a Championship squad, this one is one of the vital ones - that a team never says die, that every game is winnable at any point. If these Chargers can get more consistent in the first half, then the league better watch out.

    <strong>2. QUENTIN JAMMER.</strong>

    You know the strange thing? Jammer's stat line is very close to Cro's: 1 solo tackle, and 1 assist.

    I can bet most Charger fans can name the solo tackle.

    It was a TD-saving tackle of JaMarcus Russell that kept the Raiders from going up 19-0. Every time I watch that play, I wonder to myself how it's possible that Jammer made that stop. It was as perfect a tackle as you'll ever see - a textbook example of how you stop the ballcarrier in short yardage.

    There is also a stop Jammer made late in the fourth quarter that is recorded as on of his two Passes Defensed instead of a tackle, since the hit jarred the ball loose. That was on Ronald Curry on the Raiders' last meaningful drive of the game, on a first and 10 play that set the tone for the rest of the day defensively.

    It's amazing, as similar as their stat lines wound up being, how far apart the performace of Jammer and Cromartie actually was. Where Cro was mediocre, Jammer was stellar.

    He is by far the best CB on our team right now; and possibly one of the best Charger CBs ever.

    <strong>3. RUN DEFENSE.</strong>

    The Raiders came into this game averaging 183 yards rushing and a 6+ YPC average to go with it.

    The Chargers limited them to 72 yards rushing, with a 3.1 YPC average, in a game where the Raiders led for most of it.

    Not too shabby.

    This is due to many things. Jamal Williams' performance is the biggest of those things. After a near-invisible first three games, Jamal stood out against the Raiders with 3 solo tackles and 3 assists, with 1/2 a sack thrown in there to boot. That's a dominating performance for a 3-4 nose tackle.

    Luis Castillo (3 solo, 3 assist, 1.5 sacks) also turned in a terrific day. Igor (3 tackles, 2 assists) was right there as well. That gives you an idea about how dominant our defensive line was late in that game, and how effective they were at stopping a very good run-blocking line.

    Right behind the performance of the three big dudes up front came the linebackers, particularly Jyles Tucker (3 solo, 1 assist, 1 sack), Tim Dobbins (3 solo, 1 assist, 1 INT), and Marques Harris (2 solo, 1 sack, 1 fumble forced, 1 fumble recovered).

    All in all, the defense turned in a very good day, and continue to show improvement as the season goes on. Stephen Cooper returns to the middle of the defense next week, and while I expect him to be shaking off some rust, it's a good thing, all things considered. Dobbins and Cooper is a far more athletic, far more hard-hitting ILB unit than we've had over the first quarter of the season, and I think they'll make a tremendous difference and further elevate this defense to the dominating unit it has the potential of being.

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

    Jamal Williams.

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

    They say good teams find ways to win - and after three lackluster quarters, the Chargers did just that.

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