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Inside Slant - 01/08/08

Discussion in 'San Diego Chargers Hall of Champions' started by robdog, Jan 8, 2008.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 29, 2009
    Source: <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football/nfl/chargers/home.htm" target="_blank">USA Today</a>
    <p class="inside-copy"><img src="http://i2.chargers.com/assets/206/37005_600w600h.jpg" alt="The Bolts' defense intercepted Peyton Manning six times Sunday night, held the Colts to just 75 rushing yards and made all the big plays when they needed to.(MikeNowak/Chargers.com)" align="right" height="180" width="204" /> A January trip to Indianapolis never sounded so good - even if you have to leave San Diego.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> The Chargers will give paradise the weekend off and travel east to face the Colts in the AFC divisional playoff game on Sunday.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> Fresh from their first playoff win since the 1994 season when they disposed of the Tennessee Titans, 17-6, the Chargers will now try to knock off the defending NFL champions.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> "Why not us?" quarterback Philip Rivers said. "We are going to go in with that frame of mind.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> "We know the task is tough."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> It is a heavy load facing the Chargers as they move forward in trying to advance to their second Super Bowl. First the Chargers have to get past All-Pro Peyton Manning, then possibly the Patriots' Tom Brady.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> But that is getting far ahead to where the Chargers want their thoughts to go. They have one game in their thoughts, and that is their visit to the RCA Dome on Sunday.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> "They are still the world champs," linebacker Shaun Phillips said.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> Coach Norv Turner, who was the offensive coordinators for two Super Bowl winning Cowboys teams, said the current Chargers could grow from Sunday's conquest.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> "That first one is the hardest one," said Turner, of the team's first playoff win. "Hopefully this jump-starts all of us."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> Defensive end Luis Castillo said the time is right for the once woeful Chargers.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> "You look at this team and we felt like it was time for us to get into the playoffs and get a win," he said. "This is what we were supposed to do. Now going into next week playing against the world champions; you give them all the credit in the world. They're world champions. We know we are playing a helluva team."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> Rivers knows the Colts have maybe flown under the radar a tad this year because of the powerhouse Patriots.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> "They're the defending champs," Rivers said. "I know the story this year has been about 16-0 and New England and rightfully so. But (the Colts) are 13-3 again and the last game of the year they didn't play everybody. They're cruising along as they did the past couple of years and they're going to be tough at their place.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> "We've gone there and won. We've gone there and lost a tough one since I've been here.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> "It'll be fun. It's why you play. You couldn't ask for anything more than to play the defending champs at their place in the playoffs."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> And that notion trumps a weekend in San Diego.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"><strong>NOTES, QUOTES</strong></p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-Coach Norv Turner left the field with misty eyes Sunday night and it wasn't from the rain. But Turner said the win for the players and not his reputation.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> "To me, this game is about the players," he said. "A guy like L.T., a guy like Jamal Williams, Dave Binn, they were here when I was here in 2001 and they're good football players. L.T. and Jamal are probably the best at their position in the league and they fought through a lot of things, a lot of ups and downs, a lot of disappointments and this is a big win for them and it's a start for them."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-LB Shaun Phillips said the Chargers' work is far from done. "We're feeling good, but like I've been telling everybody all week, we're smirking and not smiling," he said. "It's just one playoff win and if we're satisfied with just one playoff win, then we should just pack our bags right now."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-QB Philip Rivers laughs when asked if the Titans tried to take away Tomlinson and make Rivers beat them. "I think that's been the strategy for the 34 games that I've been here and I don't think that strategy's going to change as long as (No.) 21's playing here, which I hope is a long time." Rivers said."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-WR Chris Chambers might be the luckiest player in the NFL. He went from the 0-6 Dolphins to a Chargers team heading to the second round of the AFC playoffs. "It's a good feeling," he said. "Being 0-6 and knowing that you're not going to the playoffs and having to play the more extremely hard games. It's been a new life for me and I'm tremendously blessed for the opportunity."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-DE Luis Castillo said what was impressive about the win was things weren't going great for the Chargers early in the game. "You have to learn how to win a game when it's rainy, when you're losing, or when the ball is not bouncing your way," he said.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-Coach Norv Turner now has a 2-1 playoff mark.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-The Chargers have beaten the Colts in two of their past three meetings.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-The Chargers have not allowed a rushing touchdown all season at Qualcomm Stadium.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-The Chargers' seven-game winning streak is second only to the Patriots' 16-game run.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">&nbsp;</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">PLAYER PERSONNEL NOTES</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-TE Antonio Gates (toe) was having an MRI done on Monday and he will be reevaluated later in the week. He dislocated his toe against the Titans.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-FB Lorenzo Neal (broken leg) is going to try and practice Wednesday; his last game was on Dec. 9. The Chargers will see how he responds after that.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-QB Philip Rivers threw an interception on Sunday, but it was his first in 104 attempts.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-K Nate Kaeding, who missed a field goal from 45 yards Sunday, will likely not handle the kickoff duties at Indianapolis. Dave Rayner will continue to do kickoffs.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-OLB Marques Harris is recovered from his recent hand surgery but was a healthy inactive on Sunday.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-WR Chris Chambers was solid in his first playoff game. He had a team-high 121 receiving yards on six catches.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"><strong>STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL</strong></p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> REPORT CARD VS. COLTS</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> PASSING OFFENSE: B - Philip Rivers was ineffective in the first half but caught fire in the second half and that was the difference. Rivers was 12-of-17 for 194 yards and a touchdown. The pass protection was solid, especially considering the Titans' active front seven. The Titans were bent on stopping LaDainian Tomlinson so the pressure was on Rivers to win the game. And he did it, with help from Chris Chambers (six catches, 121 yards) and Vincent Jackson (five, 114 and a touchdown). Good stuff from the outside receivers with Antonio Gates going down in the first half.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> RUSHING OFFENSE: C - Tough to run with eight or nine guys in the box. And the Titans were able to stone Tomlinson, as he rushed for just 42 yards on 21 carries for a puny 2-yard average. But Tomlinson's second effort will long be remembered where he stretched his arm out to get the ball in the end zone on a fourth-down play that iced the win.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> PASS DEFENSE A - The pass rush was able to get after Vince Young - he didn't have his legs, which made him an easy target. Jacques Cesaire, Luis Castillo and Shawne Merriman each had a sack; Young was pestered many more times as he could pass for but 138 yards and was intercepted by Drayton Florence.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> RUSH DEFENSE: C - The Titans were able to get a running game going, especially in the first half. The Chargers weren't pleased with giving up 119 yards and a 4-yard average - that's too much for a team that prides itself on the run. But the Titans had but 30 yards rushing in the second half; some of that is due to being behind and throwing more but it's because the run-stuffers were doing a better job. Jamal Williams' return after missing the past two games helped that cause.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> SPECIAL TEAMS: C - K Nate Kaeding tried too hard on his 45-yard field-goal attempt and it went about three different ways before going wide right. But he did click later from 20 yards. P Mike Scifres had a solid game with two of his attempts landing inside the Titans' 20. Darren Sproles was average on returns, having a long of 10 on a punt and 22 on a kickoff. The coverage units were good.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> COACHING: A - Norv Turner came out winging it in the third quarter and it was the difference in the game. The Titans were getting confident that they could hang with the Chargers after taking a 6-0 lead into the locker room. But Turner threw caution to the wind as he let it loose and he really showed his stuff when he went for it on fourth-and-1. The result was the difference in the game as Tomlinson leaped over the pile to put the finishing blow on the game.</p>

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