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High-scoring Chargers driving on pass plays

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Johnny Lightning, Dec 18, 2009.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006

    Friday, December 18, 2009

    The Chargers score more points than all but three teams in the NFL. They pass for more yards than all but four.
    So why can’t they run?
    “We have to take what they give us,” offensive line coach Hal Hunter said. “The No. 1 thing is to move the ball and score points. How do you do that? Any way you can.”
    By the way, since Hunter quite possibly eats nails at least two meals a day, it is prudent at this point to clarify that he wasn’t saying the Chargers can’t run. He was saying the Chargers offense is what it is.
    And maybe the Chargers can run, as evidenced by the drive that iced their 20-17 victory at Dallas on Sunday.
    It started the same as a number of other Chargers drives, with a 1-yard run.
    But the second play was 40-Power, with Kris Dielman pulling across the line, clearing the way for an 11-yard gain by LaDainian Tomlinson.
    It was just the 26th run of 10 or more yards by the Chargers all season, second-fewest in the NFL.
    It made a first down and got the Chargers off to their most impressive drive of the season, and it perhaps instilled a little something the Chargers’ offensive line can use going forward.
    “It builds confidence,” center Scott Mruczkowski said, recalling the Chargers’ seven-minute, 17-second drive to a field goal that essentially put the game out of reach at 20-10 with 1:56 remaining.
    On that drive, the Chargers ran 11 times and passed three — the greatest run-to-pass ratio of any long drive this year. And it was their fourth-longest drive in terms of time it bled from the clock and tied for the most in terms of plays (15).
    By the time Vincent Jackson’s 21-yard catch-and-run got the Chargers to midfield, the Cowboys knew what was coming and couldn’t stop it. Darren Sproles ran for 4 yards, Tomlinson for 6. Later, Tomlinson for 6, then 3. Dallas defenders were yelling at each other.
    “What was really impressive on the field was the intensity. That last drive was brutal,” Hunter said. “It was a fistfight. They knew they had to stop it. They brought their best stuff. It was a bloodbath.”
    So, going against the Cincinnati Bengals’ third-ranked run defense Sunday, can the Chargers keep it up?
    The Chargers have averaged more than 3.8 yards a carry just twice all season. The Bengals have allowed more than 3.8 yards a carry just five times.
    While that drive against Dallas was impressive, the Chargers averaged just 2.4 yards on 31 carries Sunday. They are averaging 2.7 yards per carry over the past three games. Their average of 3.4 per carry over the past eight games is at least better than the 2.9 they were averaging over the first five.
    But ask a Chargers offensive lineman if they could run like they did at the end of the Dallas game all the time and you get: “Without a doubt.”
    Whether that is true, they are being asked to be a different kind of line, with different parts, blocking for a different makeup of backs than they’ve had in a long time, and with a different philosophy.
    The Chargers have dropped to pass on more than 55 percent of their offensive plays — more than any season since 2003, when they had to pass because they trailed so often while going 4-12.
    Meanwhile, Philip Rivers has been sacked just 22 times. The 5.1 sack percent rate is on pace to be 11th-best in team history — not bad for a group with a fill-in center and right tackle and a rookie right guard.
    “I’m happy with the way they’re progressing,” Hunter said. “They’re not close to being a finished product. But as long as you keep getting better, eventually you’re going to get to where you need to be. We’re getting better each week, but we ain’t close to where we need to be to win it all. They know it, I know it, everybody knows it.
    “There is a lot of satisfaction in running the ball and being physical, but there is also a lot of satisfaction in pass protection and keeping the quarterback clean. ... We’ve kind of evolved. As you evolve, you find different ways to do things. We’d be lying if we didn’t say we’d like to run the ball better. The most important thing is to execute the play that’s called, move the ball and score points.”
  2. Mr. D™

    Mr. D™ Who Dey!!

    Dec 18, 2009
    wow this is far from expected lol if I would have been asked if the Chargers would look better in passing then the Bengals and the Bengals better in running than the Chargers a few years back, I would have laughed in the person's face

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