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Inside Slant - 11/11/08

Discussion in 'San Diego Chargers Hall of Champions' started by robdog, Nov 11, 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://i2.chargers.com/assets/248/43383_600w600h.jpg"><img class="alignleft" title="The San Diego Chargers stopped the Kansas City Chiefs on a would be go-ahead two-point conversion in the final minute of the game for a Bolts 20-19 win. (Mike Nowak/Chargers.com)" src="http://i2.chargers.com/assets/248/43383_600w600h.jpg" alt="" width="225" height="205" /></a>Wins are too hard to come by in the NFL. That's why the Chargers had no intentions of throwing back Sunday's 20-19 verdict over the Chiefs.</div>
    <p class="inside-copy">So what if the Chiefs have now lost 17 of their past 18 games. Who cares if San Diego had to turn back a two-point-conversion attempt in the final 23 seconds.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">And if Tyler Thigpen looked more like Len Dawson than he should have, so be it.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">The Chargers are alive, and that's what really matters.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">But a closer look reveals that San Diego continues to live on the edge.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">Coming off a bye, playing under a new defensive coordinator and playing at home with a playoff spot potentially slipping away, the Chargers barely managed to hold off the last-place Chiefs.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">"The most important thing for us was to find a way to win a football game," coach Norv Turner said. "And we were able to do that."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">He even threw a bone to the defense, which nearly let the game slip away late but held Kansas City to six points in the final two quarters.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">"In the second half, I like the way our defense responded," Turner said, eluding all but the final Chiefs possession. "We came out and were aggressive and covered better.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">"In the first half we had some of the same issues we've had; we busted a coverage which gave them a big play."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">But he sees improvement, and the Chargers will need to build on that if they hope to spring an upset Sunday at Pittsburgh.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">Before looking ahead, the Chargers can look back one last time and embrace a win that came after an unlikely struggle.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">"I would prefer the game didn't come down to the last play," Turner said, "but it did."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"><strong>NOTES, QUOTES</strong></p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-WR Malcom Floyd continues to take advantage of his opportunities. With Chris Chambers easing into play Sunday, Floyd got more reps and responded with this third scoring catch of the season.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">"I'm just trying to go out there and play fast and compete," he said. "I'm just trying to win games." Floyd had four catches for 76 yards.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-SS Clinton Hart likely got away with holding Chiefs' TE Tony Gonzalez on Sunday with Kansas City going for the go-ahead two-point conversion. Gonzalez said Hart's hold was "ridiculous."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">Hart just smiled. "I held my ground, and when he tried to push me off, I said, 'No, I'm not going to let you push me off,'" Hart said. "It's a veteran move."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-Once again the Chargers' running attack had trouble getting untracked. LaDainian Tomlinson gained only 78 yards on 22 carries; he's gone over the 100-yard mark just twice through nine games. "We got the win, and I don't want to harp on the negative part of the game because we did get a win," Tomlinson said.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-TE Antonio Gates had a season-high eight catches in the win over the Chiefs. He added a touchdown, which gives him a team-best six on the year.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"><strong>STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL</strong></p>
    <p class="inside-copy">PLAYER NOTES</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-WR Chris Chambers didn't suffer any setbacks with his sprained ankle Sunday and is a go for this week.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-CB Antonio Cromartie played nearly the entire game with a sore hip and could have his practice time cut down this week.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-CB Cletis Gordon, who started in place of Antonio Cromartie, sustained a sprained knee and could be out two to three weeks.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-DT Jamal Williams has a chest contusion but should play Sunday.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-S Steve Gregory suffered a concussion and will be evaluated later in the week.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-RB LaDainian Tomlinson went past O.J. Simpson and Corey Dillon to reach No. 15 on the NFL's all-time rushing list. Tomlinson has 11,279 yards. John Riggins (11,236) is up next on the list.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"></p>
    <p class="inside-copy">REPORT CARD VS. CHIEFS</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">PASSING OFFENSE: B-plus - Philip Rivers continues to put up impressive numbers, and Sunday was no different, as he threw for 316 yards and two touchdowns. But he also had two interceptions - one when his arm was struck while delivering the football - and that can't be overlooked. Still, Rivers is playing well for the most part, and the Chargers' depth at receiver continues to be among the best in the league. Pass protection was decent, although Rivers did get sacked twice.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">RUSHING OFFENSE: C-minus - The Chargers plunged from being one of the most run-oriented attacks to wondering what has happened to this part of the game. A sore toe doesn't bother LaDainian Tomlinson anymore, but he can't run when there are too few holes. The run-blocking is still trying to find its legs, as time and again Tomlinson's room to roam was hard to find. And this against the NFL's worst run defense? That says it all, with the Chargers gaining 92 yards on the day.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">PASS DEFENSE: D - Still no interceptions in 13 straight quarters as Kansas City's Tyler Thigpen was way too comfortable in carving up the Chargers. Not only where there no picks, but just three passes were defensed despite Thigpen throwing it 41 times. The pass rush was zilch; the Chargers were awarded their first sack in three games when Thigpen ran out of bounds. The Chargers allowed third- and fourth-down conversions through the air on the Chiefs' final drive that nearly won the game. There's still much work to be done here.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">RUSH DEFENSE: B-plus - But this grade comes with a curve as the Chiefs were missing Larry Johnson and were down to Dantrell Savage running the ball - and he only carried it 12 times for 44 yards. Only 16 carries came from the backs, as the Chiefs were content to gain their yards through the air. Jamal Williams had a good game in the middle, and the inside linebackers, Stephen Cooper and Tim Dobbins, combined for 14 tackles.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">SPECIAL TEAMS: B - The kickoff coverage allowed a 36-yard return; Antonio Cromartie brought one back 26 yards for the Chargers. P Mike Scifres had two of his three efforts downed inside the 20, and K Nate Kaeding was true on his two field-goal attempts.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">COACHING: C - The team came out with little energy - that's why it fell behind and was booed off the field when heading for the locker room at halftime. The defense, under new coordinator Ron Rivera, looked just like the one under the fired Ted Cottrell. Coach Norv Turner deserves credit for getting his team to win a game by hanging tough, but should the Chargers really be struggling to eke out a home win against a 1-8 squad?</p>

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