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Inside Slant - 11/27/07

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Nov 28, 2007.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

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    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://d.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/ap/20071126/capt.652ec7716d394092acbf6d31a8cadef1.ravens_chargers_football_cali107.jpg" alt="San Diego Chargers' Shawne Merriman dances as Baltimore Ravens quarterback Kyle Boller gathers himself after being sacked in the fourth quarter of the Chargers 32-14 victory in their football game Sunday, Nov. 25, 2007." align="right" height="175" width="158" /> The ringing in the Chargers' ears quickly switched from jeers to cheers.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> San Diego manhandled Baltimore 32-14 Sunday before another sellout crowd at Qualcomm Stadium.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> And the Chargers heard the spectators loud and clear.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> Showing how frustrated the fans have become with this up-and-down team, they started booing on the offense's first series, which resulted in a punt.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> "I'd like to say I don't hear it, but I don't like to lie," coach Norv Turner said. "I just think it's unfortunate because I don't think people understand. This team (Baltimore) is second in the league in rush defense. Certainly, there were some things we wanted to do early to feel them out. It's a long game."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> It was a long game, especially for the Ravens, who had trouble getting past the Chargers defense.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> The offense also was clicking, with Philip Rivers having one of his better days as a pro in recording his 20th career win. And he seemed to enjoy silencing the boos as much as connecting with his receivers.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> "What they (the fans) don't know is we're just as frustrated," Rivers said. "We know they want us to win and pull for us 100 percent. They want us to put a couple together, as we do.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> "We're just as mad as they are when we don't make something happen."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> That frustration comes from this team being advertised as among the NFL's elite squads after posting a 14-2 mark last year. But with the Chargers yet to live up to their preseason billing - they were sharp on Sunday - the fans have been growing restless.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> Especially with the skittish Rivers, who has played well below last year's Pro Bowl-level.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> "I'm happy, especially for him, because he's been taking a lot of criticism, kind of going through adversity," said tight end Antonio Gates, who caught two of Rivers' three touchdown passes Sunday. "The outside perspective of the San Diego Chargers offense is kind of based around him. That's not the case. It takes 11 guys on the offense to make a play work."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> But Chargers backers are primed for a work-in-progress. They want excellence, and on Sunday, their wish was granted.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> Now the Chargers control their own destiny, a game up over the Broncos in the AFC West. Despite their roller-coaster ride, and the fans' skepticism, the Chargers are eager to mention they can still accomplish all of their goals.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"><strong>NOTES, QUOTES</strong></p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-QB Philip Rivers was upbeat over his touchdown pass to Chris Chambers because it came after both saw a particular coverage. The two were able to communicate through body language. "It was unspoken, and that is something you don't get with a guy real easy, knowing him just three or four weeks," Rivers said. "That was a big step for us."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-RB LaDainian Tomlinson became the 23rd player in NFL history to eclipse the 10,000-yard barrier. He did it on his longest run of the day, a 36-yard scamper down the left sideline. "It's 10,000 yards, and it's been the benchmark for a lot of running backs in this league," Tomlinson said. "I never set out to get 10,000 yards; that was not a goal of mine. I kind of take it like, you get 10,000 yards, but that means you're getting older, too. With a milestone, they will pat you on the back, but they are ready to kick you out the door."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-TE Antonio Gates had 40 catches over the first five games, then 14 in the next five. The Chargers got him back into the mix Sunday, when he caught six balls for 106 yards and two scores. "We're trying to throw to Gates every week," QB Philip Rivers said. "But certain teams try to take him away - they game-plan, too. I think, too, with the team we got - L.T., Gates, (Chris) Chambers and our young receivers - to base it off how many catches Gates gets a week is unfair in this offense with the weapons we got."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-The Chargers will be gunning for their second three-game winning streak of the season when they go to Kansas City. But the road hasn't been kind to the Chargers, where they've gone 1-4. They have won once in their last 10 visits to Kansas City.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">&nbsp;</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">PLAYER PERSONNEL NOTES</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-S Eric Weddle didn't show any drop-off from his recent knee injury and had one interception slip through his fingers.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-CB Antonio Cromartie has eclipsed Drayton Florence in the starting role opposite Quentin Jammer.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-RT Shane Olivea gave way to Jeromey Clary late in the game when his back started acting up. That's worth watching this week.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-C Nick Hardwick returned and gave the offensive line a boost after missing four games with a foot injury. Hardwick is savvy in getting out the blocking calls.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-WR Vincent Jackson had one of his better games of the season, catching five passes for 65 yards. His long of 31 yards was the longest to a wideout all game.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-DE Igor Olshansky was stellar against the Ravens, collecting five tackles and a sack and forcing a fumble.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-DE Jacques Cesaire continues to play well while filling in for Luis Castillo. Cesaire's day included a sack.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-CB Steve Gregory (stinger) should be OK this week.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-DE Luis Castillo (ankle) will miss the next three weeks.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"><strong>STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL</strong></p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> REPORT CARD VS. RAVENS</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> PASSING OFFENSE: A - Philip Rivers finished the game with nary a turnover, which is big news when you entering the game leading the league with 17. But he enjoyed his best game of the season in missing on only 10 of his 35 attempts, throwing three touchdowns and going for 249 yards. TE Antonio Gates, who had been quiet the previous five games, responded with two scoring catches and a 100-yard day; Chris Chambers added another. The pass blocking was sensational, as Rivers was able to progress through his reads in a calm manner.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> RUSHING OFFENSE: C - It's always tough to run against the Ravens, and Sunday was no different. LaDainian Tomlinson averaged 3.2 yards on 24 carries to stall at 77 yards. He did add 45 yards through the air. Neither Darren Sproles nor Michael Turner had any better luck in their combined four carries.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> PASS DEFENSE: B - The pass rush made life uncomfortable for Baltimore's Kyle Boller. He was sacked four times and pestered many more times with the Chargers supplying pressure from the edges. Shawne Merriman had a game-high seven tackles, a forced fumble and a sack. Shaun Phillips had half a sack but rocked Boller twice on hits. Boller did get one touchdown pass threw for 191 yards, but they were yards he had to fight for.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> RUSH DEFENSE: B-plus - Good work here from the inside linebackers, Stephen Cooper and Matt Wilhelm, and NT Jamal Williams. The Ravens finished with 56 rushing yards, 59 from Willis McGahee, who was held to a 3.5-yard average. Baltimore didn't run much late after falling behind, but it was tough for the Ravens get to ground yards earlier in the game as well.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> SPECIAL TEAMS: B-plus - K Nate Kaeding tied a career high with four field goals, and two of them were from 40-plus yards. Sproles produced a 29.5-yard average on two kick returns, and P Mike Scifres had a 70-yard effort and two more that were downed inside the 20. San Diego's coverage teams did allow a 57-yard kickoff return.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> COACHING: A - Norv Turner and staff ignored the boos and turned Rivers loose on a day when the running yards were going to be tough to come by. The play-calling was fine on offense, although some wonder why the defense wasn't turned loose more on blitzes with Boller struggling with the rush. Turner deserves a bow for keeping the team focused in a week after players questioned some of their teammates' commitment.</p>
     

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