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Bruised Bolts face multidimensional Ravens

Discussion in 'San Diego Chargers Hall of Champions' started by robdog, Sep 17, 2009.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 29, 2009
    Source: <a href="http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slug=txravenschargers&amp;prov=st&amp;type=lgns" target="_blank">Associated Press</a>

    By Bernie Wilson

    <div class="alignright"><a href="http://photos.signonsandiego.com/gallery1.5/albums/030922bal/JBsdBaltA209388x19.sized.jpg"><img class=" " title="LaDainian Tomlinson" src="http://photos.signonsandiego.com/gallery1.5/albums/030922bal/JBsdBaltA209388x19.sized.jpg" alt="LaDainian Tomlinson" width="240" height="212" /></a></div>

    SAN DIEGO(AP)-The San Diego Chargers looked like they'd come out on the wrong end of a street brawl in their prime-time win at Oakland.

    Although they rallied to beat the Raiders for the 12th straight time, it's going to be a bruised bunch of Chargers that hosts the suddenly multidimensional Baltimore Ravens in their home opener Sunday.

    Rookie right guard Louis Vasquez left Monday night's game with a sprained knee, and center Nick Hardwick(notes) soon joined him, carted off the field with a sprained ankle. LaDainian Tomlinson watched the winning drive from the sideline, sent there by a sprained ankle.

    Massive left tackle Marcus McNeill had to play on despite rolling an ankle because the Chargers were out of offensive linemen. Defensive linemen Jamal Williams and Luis Castillo sustained elbow injuries.

    Although Philip Rivers rallied the Chargers to a 24-20 win, it was hardly the dominating performance everyone expected, especially from a team that supposedly has the most-talented roster in the NFL and has been projected by some as a Super Bowl favorite.

    Defensive end Shaun Phillips sensed the skepticism as he tried to focus on the Ravens, who have a newfound offense to go with their usual rib-rattling defense.

    "We didn't play our best game, but we didn't play a terrible game," Phillips said. "Everyone's kind of moping around here like we lost. We didn't lose. We won the football game."

    While the Chargers looked like mere mortals against the Raiders, the Ravens opened some eyes. Long known for their tough defense, the Ravens amassed a franchise-record 501 yards in a 38-24 win over Kansas City.

    Second-year quarterback Joe Flacco set career highs with 26 completions, 43 attempts, 307 yards and three touchdown passes.

    "I think we've always felt we could score on offense and be a good offense," said Flacco, who spread the ball among seven receivers and handed off 19 times to Ray Rice, who gained 108 yards. "It's obviously our second year in this offense for everybody, so we feel a lot more comfortable in it. We take great pride in how we practice during the week, and that's a big part of it, why we play well. And we're going to do that this week and then go out there and expect to play well on Sunday again."

    Plus, offensive coordinator Cam Cameron might come up with something crafty to throw at his old team. He was San Diego's offensive coordinator under Marty Schottenheimer from 2002-06 before leaving for a one-year stint as Miami's head coach.

    While the Ravens respect outside linebackers Shawne Merriman and Phillips, and the rest of the San Diego D, they aren't intimidated.

    "We're going to pay attention to those guys in certain things, but the bottom line is to focus on what we do and do what we do best," Flacco said. "And that's what we'll do, and as long as we do that I think we'll be successful. Like I said, those guys are going to be good players and they'll make their plays here and there, but we're going to do things, too, and make sure we attack them. Hopefully, we'll just go out there and do a good job like we expect to."

    Tomlinson, who was tutored by Cameron, is impressed by the Ravens' offense.

    "I tell you what, this is a physical team," Tomlinson said. "They're playing good on offense. Actually, it's the same type of offense we run, so they're good on offense, and we all know how good they are on defense.

    "We've got to be as physical as they are, but we also can't make many mistakes against them. We can't beat ourselves with penalties and turnovers. That's going to be something huge for us."

    There's a chance Tomlinson will be held out due to his injury. The Chargers have capable backups in Darren Sproles, who had 246 all-purpose yards against Oakland, and Michael Bennett.

    The Chargers were held to 77 yards rushing, and Baltimore usually shuts down the opponent's best running back. Add in the offensive line woes, and the Chargers will be challenged.

    Fifth-year pro Scott Mruczkowski will make his second career start and his first at center. He played both guard and center Monday night.

    "To me, this is how you measure a team, you know, when things go bad and guys go down," Tomlinson said. "Obviously, every team deals with injuries. The teams that are able to overcome injuries are going to be the teams that are going to be there in the end."

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