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Chargers showing they have Super Bowl potential

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Nov 17, 2006.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

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    Source: <a target="_blank" href="http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/sports/fb/texansfront/4341765.html">Houston Chronicle</a>

    By John McClain

    <img width="205" height="289" align="left" alt="Coach Marty Schottenheimer was 0-for-2 on officiating challenges." title="Coach Marty Schottenheimer was 0-for-2 on officiating challenges." src="http://photos.signonsandiego.com/gallery1.5/albums/061029rams/JBchrgRams263857x13.jpg" />What a season this has become for San Diego coach Marty Schottenheimer.

    Going into training camp, there were reports Schottenheimer's job was in jeopardy because of his well-publicized feud with general manager A.J. Smith, but going into the 10th game of the season, he's a candidate for coach-of-the-year honors.

    Not only is Schottenheimer not going to get fired, but he should be in line for a long-term extension from owner Alex Spanos.

    Right now, San Diego might be the second-best team in the AFC and the most likely candidate to keep Tony Dungy and Peyton Manning out of Super Bowl XLI.

    Just imagine if the AFC Championship Game comes down to the Chargers vs. the Colts - Schottenheimer vs. Dungy - and one of the popular Super Bowl-starved coaches finally would be rewarded. What a great story that would be.

    We're a long way from the playoffs, of course, and the Chargers and Colts face tough road games Sunday. By the time San Diego kicks off at Denver, the Chargers and Broncos will know if the Colts won or lost at Dallas.

    The biggest game of the weekend isn't Indianapolis at Dallas. It's San Diego at Denver - the NFL's highest-scoring team against the team that has allowed the fewest points. Thank goodness for the new flexible schedule.
    <h3>First place on line</h3>
    The Chargers and Broncos are 7-2 and tied for first place in the AFC West.One of the most unusual things about this season is the top-scoring team in the NFL is coached by Schottenheimer. Martyball is a nickname coined because of Schottenheimer's conservative nature, especially in the playoffs, which have been a disaster for him.

    The Chargers rank fourth in offense, but they're first in scoring, averaging 33 points a game. In their last five games, they're averaging 38 a game. They've scored at least 27 points in seven of their nine games. They've scored at least 32 points five times.

    Schottenheimer is reaping the benefits of great coaching jobs by offensive coordinator Cam Cameron and defensive coordinator Wade Phillips.

    Perhaps the best thing Schottenheimer has done this season is allow Cameron the freedom to run the offense without interference.

    After the season, Cameron is going to be one of the hottest head-coaching candidates in the league. Running back LaDainian Tomlinson ranks second in rushing and first with 18 TDs, including 16 rushing.

    Cameron has done a terrific job coaching Philip Rivers, who is in his first season as a starter. Rivers has 13 touchdown passes and only three interceptions. His 100.4 rating ranks third.
    <h3>Dealing with distractions</h3>
    Phillips has done an even better job. He lost outside linebacker Steve Foley, who was shot, and outside linebacker Shawne Merriman, who was suspended for four games. Safety Terence Kiel has a felony hanging over his head. Still, the Chargers are ranked eighth in defense, and they're second with 33 sacks.That's not good news for Denver quarterback Jake Plummer. Twenty-seven quarterbacks are rated ahead of Plummer, who has 10 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Broncos fans are trying to run him out of Denver, and they just might if he stinks it up Sunday night.

    Though the Broncos have won seven of eight, and their defense has allowed only eight TDs, few would be surprised if they lose to San Diego.

    But if the Chargers are going to win, they better put it away early because the Broncos have scored 54 points - 36 percent - in the fourth quarter. The offense hasn't been all that impressive except when the game is on the line.

    This is the first of two games between the Chargers and Broncos. The rematch is Dec. 10. By the time they play again at San Diego, we'll have a better idea if the stars are going to be aligned properly and Schottenheimer might finally be matched up with Dungy for an opportunity to coach in his first Super Bowl.
     

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