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Inside Slant - 10/14/08

Discussion in 'San Diego Chargers Hall of Champions' started by robdog, Oct 14, 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>
    <div class="inside-copy"><a href="http://assets.espn.go.com/media/apphoto/bd68bd06-06e9-4d62-818a-4aa78227fd6e.jpg"><img class="alignright" title="San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson (21) tries to break the tackle of New England Patriots Rodney Harrison as the Patriots Jarvis Green (97) looks on during the first quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 12, 2008 in San Diego. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)" src="http://assets.espn.go.com/media/apphoto/bd68bd06-06e9-4d62-818a-4aa78227fd6e.jpg" alt="" width="141" height="167" /></a>A win is a win. Still, there is no underscoring the significance of the Chargers' 30-10 triumph over the New England Patriots on Sunday night - it meant more than a usual victory.</div>
    <p class="inside-copy">"It's only one game, but maybe it will kick-start us into a hot streak," quarterback Philip Rivers said.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">The Chargers got to 3-3 and revived their postseason hopes.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">"The bottom-line significance is it keeps us from being 2-4, which is obvious," Rivers said. "But it gets us into a position that we can - you can't quite say control our own (destiny) - still go and accomplish everything we want to."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">What the Chargers didn't want was embarking on what Rivers calls the team's "world tour" two games under .500. Instead they travel to Buffalo this week then on to London to face the Saints just one game off the AFC West pace.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">"If we were 2-4, that could put you in a bind," Rivers said.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">But this win also gave the Chargers' psyche a huge boost. And that can't be discounted considering all the time the Chargers will spend on airplanes and in hotel rooms, contemplating a season that got off to a rough start but could be headed in the right direction.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">Beating a team that eliminated you from your last two playoff appearances can do that.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">"Emotionally I think it's big," Rivers said. "We had lost to them three (straight) times, and two of them kept you from your dream, your dream season - the reason why you play, to win a championship.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">"So it doesn't change those three, but it's, 'Hey look, we beat them and we beat them pretty handily.' And it means nothing more than getting to 3-3, but it certainly can have its effect if we see them again down the road."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">That is when the Chargers would relish a win - knocking the Patriots out of the playoffs. New England beat back San Diego in last season's AFC Championship Game.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">"Now it's kind of like," Rivers said, "we beat them before."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">The before- and after-the-game picture of the Chargers heading into this week couldn't look more different.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"><strong>NOTES, QUOTES</strong></p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-ILB Stephen Cooper noticed that the Chargers took a different approach Sunday night. "We're playing football and having fun," he said. "We have to come out with an attitude, and what's what we did."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-CB Quentin Jammer did a great job on Patriots WR Randy Moss. "I feel like I can shut anyone in this league down," he said. "Randy is a big challenge for me, so anytime I can play against someone like that, I get pumped for it."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-Who caught Philip Rivers' first touchdown pass? It was Malcom Floyd, who was in the middle of the Chargers' big win, helping compensate for absence of WR Chris Chambers (ankle). "I had big shoes to fill with Chris and Buster (Davis) out," said Floyd, who had three catches for 75 yards and a score. "I knew I had to step it up. That's one of the biggest strengths of our team, having depth at every position."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-To throw deep, which is what Rivers did all Sunday night, the protection has to be spot-on. And it was. "When you're throwing it up the field, you obviously got to have a little more time," Rivers said. "Our guys were awesome up front. They played outstanding, and there's no question about it."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-RB LaDainian Tomlinson became the 17th player in NFL history to eclipse 11,000 yards rushing, and the fourth fastest to do it (117 games).</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"><strong>STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL</strong></p>
    <p class="inside-copy">PLAYER NOTES</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-FS Eric Weddle has a banged-up right shoulder, and it's worth watching as the week progresses. Weddle was to undergo an MRI on Monday.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-RB Darren Sproles is nursing a sprained ankle that could limit him this week in practice. Although, pound-for-pound, he may be among the toughest Chargers.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-WR Chris Chambers could test his sprained ankle later in the week. He has a chance of playing Sunday.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-WR Craig Davis continues to be slowed by nagging injuries - now his groin is hurt. Davis, a first-round pick last year, is having trouble gaining the coaches' confidence.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-ILB Derek Smith has gone from a starter in the first four games to a healthy inactive.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-OLB Shawne Merriman attended his first game since undergoing season-ending knee surgery last month. He was in the middle of the players before the game, firing them up with his talk.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-DE Luis Castillo hurt his arm during the game but was able to finish. He should be OK.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-OLB Jyles Tucker (hamstring) is probably out one more week.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"></p>
    <p class="inside-copy">REPORT CARD VS. PATRIOTS</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">PASSING OFFENSE: A - Philip Rivers turned in one of the best games of his career, accumulating a 141.9 passer rating while completing 18 of 27 passes for 306 yards and three touchdowns. He was poised in the pocket - it helped that the pass-protection was excellent; no sacks - and was able to go through his reads and find the open man. Vincent Jackson and Malcom Floyd took advantage of their height difference over the Pats cornerbacks, and often Rivers was content to throw a jump-ball type pass. More often than not, Jackson or Floyd would come down with it. What made this performance so impressive is that the Chargers were missing their top wideout, Chris Chambers (ankle). Good stuff here, all around.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">RUSHING OFFENSE: B - LaDainian Tomlinson showed flashes of the past with cutbacks and spins that showed his ailing right big toe was feeling good on this night. He averaged 3.7 yards on 20 carries - the best one was a 27-yarder that displayed his speed and quickness. Rookie Jacob Hester didn't help his quest to see more playing time with a fumble on his only carry. Run-blocking was much improved from the previous week in Miami.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">PASS DEFENSE: A - Pats QB Matt Cassel kept trying to throw the home run ball to Randy Moss, but the Chargers cornerbacks would have none of that. CB Quentin Jammer had his best game of the season as he blanketed Moss - who had only three catches - and finished with five passes defensed and an interception. Antonio Cromartie also helped out in keeping Moss down. Kudos, too, to the pass rush that sacked Cassel four times and was in his face countless other times.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">RUSH DEFENSE: C - Maybe a little high of a grade when an opponent runs for 106 rushing yards, but much of that came when the game was in hand. There was a new look with Tim Dobbins replacing Matt Wilhelm on the inside, and the result was a more physical approach that had been missing. Plus, Stephen Cooper was more effective in his second start after serving his four-game suspension. But the biggest thing was the play of DT Jamal Williams in the middle - he consistently blew up plays with his push inside.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">SPECIAL TEAMS: C - K Nate Kaeding missed a 44-yarder but was good on three other efforts. P Mike Scifres has had better nights - an average of less than 40 yards on three punts. Darren Sproles did produce a 29-yard punt return, but even more impressive were the coverage teams keeping league leader Ellis Hobbs under wraps - he could manage only a long of 21 yards.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">COACHING: A - Norv Turner finally took the wraps off the offense, having the Chargers heave it long on the first play and keeping the Patriots defense on its heels with a great mixture of pass and run. Defensively, coordinator Ted Cottrell was also aggressive, having his cornerbacks jam receivers at the line and play with a more physical style rather than giving a cushion.</p>

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