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Chargers look to Rivers to beat Dolphins

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Sep 26, 2009.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

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    Source: Associated Press

    By Bernie Wilson

    <div class="alignright"><a href="http://hawkfantasysports.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/philip-rivers.jpg"><img title="Philip Rivers" src="http://hawkfantasysports.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/philip-rivers.jpg" alt="Philip Rivers" width="141" height="192" /></a></div>

    SAN DIEGO (AP)-There's no question Philip Rivers has become the San Diego Chargers' go-to guy.

    With star running back LaDainian Tomlinson hobbled with a sprained ankle and outside linebacker Shawne Merriman yet to get a sack in his return from knee surgery, even Chargers defenders are looking for their $93 million quarterback to come up big in Sunday's game against the Miami Dolphins.

    It's a crucial game for both teams and is sure to leave one defense really frustrated.

    "We feel like have a really good offense. Most of our best players are on offense," Chargers outside linebacker Shaun Phillips said. "Let's try to keep the ball in their hands. We'll do the dirty work and they can have all the glory, which is no problem for us.

    "We're paying Philip a lot of money to win games for us," Phillips said, referring to the contract Rivers signed in late August. "So therefore we need the ball in his hands as much as we can to give ourselves an opportunity to win."

    So there you have it.

    Although Rivers threw for a career-high 436 yards last Sunday, it wasn't enough to keep the short-handed Chargers from losing 31-26 to the Baltimore Ravens. San Diego's last chance ended when Ray Lewis(notes) came in unblocked and tackled speedy little Darren Sproles in the backfield on fourth-and-2 from Baltimore's 15 in the closing seconds, one of two plays coach Norv Turner was second-guessed on by fans and the media.

    That dropped the Chargers to 1-1. The next day, Turner said the Chargers aren't as good as outsiders expect them to be, but that they'll get there. It was a curious statement, considering the high regard the franchise always holds itself in.

    The Dolphins are 0-2 for the fourth straight year, and know 0-3 wouldn't look pretty. They dominated the Indianapolis Colts everywhere except on the scoreboard on Monday night before being left frustrated by a 27-23 loss.

    The Dolphins had 239 yards rushing, including 107 with the wildcat. The Colts had the ball for only 14:53, the lowest time of possession for a winning team in the NFL since 1977. They ran 35 plays to 84 for the Dolphins.

    But Peyton Manning took advantage of breakdowns in the secondary to throw for 303 yards and two scores, a flaw the Dolphins will need to fix against Rivers, who completed 25 of 45 against the Ravens.

    Rivers rallied the Chargers to a season-opening win at Oakland.

    "He's an outstanding player," Miami coach Tony Sparano said. "I have a great deal of respect for him as a quarterback. I think the guy is so tough and has so much ability. I mean, this guy can make every throw with great velocity. So from a secondary standpoint, I think he puts the ball in some hard places.

    "If your defense goes out there and you're not ready to match his competitiveness, I think that would be a mistake from our part," the coach said.

    When the Dolphins started 0-2 last season, Sparano turned to the wildcat for a 38-13 upset win at New England. Miami went on to win the AFC East.

    Sparano said this 0-2 isn't quite as ugly as last year's, when the Dolphins were routed at Arizona for the second straight loss.

    "We felt pretty good about a few things in the ballgame the other night, I really did. The Arizona game, I didn't feel good about anything at the end of that game. I felt like jumping out of the plane. I really did," he said.

    It was after that game that the Dolphins came up with the wildcat. They used it to beat the Chargers 17-10, a loss that contributed to San Diego going 4-8 before rallying to win the weak AFC West at 8-8.

    On Monday night, Miami's Ronnie Brown rushed for 136 yards, including 62 in the wildcat, taking a direct snap each time. Teammate Ricky Williams added 69 yards rushing.

    While the formation continues to frustrate defenses, it can be stopped, Phillips said, by simply winning one-on-one matchups.

    "Misdirection causes problems when you allow the guy in front of you to create an angle on you, and then with those good running backs in the backfield, to make holes and make plays and get downfield," Phillips said.

    "If you dominate the guy in front of you, all that misdirection, change of direction stuff, has no relevancy. It's not going to work because you're destroying that guy and you're getting upfield. But you have to do that first. That's what you're worrying about first before worrying about misdirection."

    Phillips couldn't imagine what it was like for the Colts' defense to be on the field for three full quarters.

    "Hell no," he said. "I mean, those guys looked so tired after the game. That's extremely too long to be on the field. That's in the back of our mind, obviously, time of possession. We need to get three-and-outs, we need to get off the field. When we see something like that, those telling numbers, obviously those guys are effective, obviously those guys can move the ball, obviously those guys can run the ball. It's right there in front of you."

    Rivers said the Chargers need to get their share of possession time against a defense led by outside linebackers Joey Porter and Jason Taylor.

    "When we get the ball, we've got to get first downs and go," Rivers said. "We can't have the three-and-outs that we've had and expect to get a ton of possessions."

    Some Dolphins are looking at this as a must-win game.

    "We know what's at stake," nose tackle Jason Ferguson(notes) said. "It's a very important game. We're going to put it that our season is riding on it. We've got to get this W. When you're losing, you're not doing a great job of anything."

    Then there's Porter.

    "It's only two games," he said. "You're not awarded anything after two games. It's nothing that's going to break us. You never want to be 0-2. When you lose, everything has to be magnified. And right now, the magnifying glass is out."
     

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