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Inside Slant - 12/09/08

Discussion in 'San Diego Chargers Hall of Champions' started by robdog, Dec 9, 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://i1.chargers.com/assets/211/37591_282wh.jpg"><img class="alignright" title="Chargers at Chiefs, Chargers.com Photo" src="http://i1.chargers.com/assets/211/37591_282wh.jpg" alt="" width="157" height="222" /></a>Fresh from Thursday's win over the Raiders, the Chargers were hopeful of getting some Sunday help with the Chiefs upsetting the Broncos.</div>
    <p class="inside-copy">But just like the Chargers' season, the Chiefs couldn't win it at the end.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">The Chargers are now three games behind the AFC West-leading Broncos with three to play. One more Broncos win or one more Chargers loss, and Denver will clinch the West.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">So despite playing a team with but two wins, the Chargers will be a desperate bunch on Sunday in Kansas City.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">"We need to go win," coach Norv Turner said. "And Kansas City is playing well; played awfully well in a very close game against Denver."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">The Chargers (5-8) also remember that the Chiefs (2-11) gave the Chargers all they could handle in a 20-19 victory in San Diego earlier this year. The Chiefs went for two points in the closing minute and failed.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">Plus this time the Chargers will face the Chiefs featuring running back Larry Johnson this time around.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">"Larry just brings another dimension," Turner said. "You have to tackle him; he is a big, strong guy."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">Too bad Chiefs quarterback Tyler Thigpen isn't as stout. He fell short on a fourth-and-goal play Sunday that iced the win for the Broncos - much to the Chargers' chagrin.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">"He came awfully close to scoring," Turner said. "You watch when he took off running and I didn't think he could make the end zone from as deep as he was."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">The Chargers are deep with their own problems of sneaking into the playoffs. They remain alive, but by the slimmest of margins.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"><strong>NOTES, QUOTES</strong></p>
    <p class="inside-copy">- WR Vincent Jackson had a career-high 148 receiving yards one week after getting shut out in the loss to the Falcons. "I had more opportunities," said Jackson, who had a 59-yard touchdown catch. "I think I had only three or four catches the past few games. I got opportunities and got involved early in the game and took advantage of that."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">- While Jackson enjoyed a big game, the Chargers' top wide out, Chris Chambers, didn't have a reception. But he wasn't bumming after the game. "Not at this point," he said. "We're just getting wins anyway we can."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">- OLB Shaun Phillips said the difference Thursday night was the Chargers collecting four turnovers. "That's the one thing we've been lacking," said Phillips, who had a career-high 2.5 sacks. "I think we have been losing games because of our inability to create turnovers. When we see that we can create turnovers, we can win games."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">- ILB Stephen Cooper, who had career-high two interceptions, gave coordinator Ron Rivera kudos for his aggressive game plan. "Coach Rivera did a great job calling great defenses, trying to come from the weak side and strong side, trying to get different looks. It was just a good job with the play-calling.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">- Coach Norv Turner was impressed in how the Chargers bounced back after a draining loss to the Falcons last Sunday, which put a serious dent in their playoff hopes. "We had a very short week," he said. "Guys came back in on Monday and a number of them were beat up and had a lot of things they had to handle physically. And then we had to get ready for a game over a short period of time. Obviously our guys did a great job of preparing. They weren't distracted from a stand point of the way things have been going."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">- RB Darren Sproles scored two touchdowns for the third time in his career - it was the first time the two came on receptions.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"><strong>STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL</strong></p>
    <p class="inside-copy">PLAYER NOTES</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-SS Clinton Hart (neck) didn't practice Monday after missing the game on Thursday.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-OLB Marques Harris (hamstring) returned to practice and should go Sunday.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-FB Mike Tolbert (shoulder) remains unable to practice.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-LB Anthony Waters (hamstring) didn't practice. He suffered the injury on Thursday.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-DT Jamal Williams will probably be rested on Wednesday to keep him fresh for Sunday.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"></p>
    <p class="inside-copy">REPORT CARD VS. RAIDERS</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">PASSING OFFENSE: B - Philip Rivers completed 10 of his 22 passes, but he was able to throw for three touchdowns and 214 yards. The Chargers backed off throwing the ball in the second half; otherwise his numbers would probably be better. Vincent Jackson had one of his better days as a pro with a 148-yard performance which included a 59-yard touchdown. Rivers was effective on screens, finding Darren Sproles (three catches, 34 yards and two touchdowns). Pass protection was on the mark as Rivers was never sacked and hit but once.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">RUSHING OFFENSE: A - The offensive line rebounded after getting beat on the past couple of weeks for its passive play. LaDainian Tomlinson continued his domination against the Raiders with 91 yards and a score on 25 carries. But more important was the line letting the Raiders know it planned on being physical from the start to the finish. Great job up front by the big uglies.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">PASS DEFENSE: A - This unit played with the passion and production the Chargers expected all season long. It got after JaMarcus Russell and Andrew Walter in a big way, forcing three interceptions, a forced fumble and snagging three sacks, Stephen Cooper got two of the picks; Matt Wilhelm had the other. OLB Shaun Phillips shook off an unproductive stretch by collecting 2.5 sacks - he had four sacks in the previous 11 games. CB Quentin Jammer, with two passes defensed, had a solid game.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">RUSH DEFENSE: A - The Chargers allowed but 54 yards rushing, their second-lowest of the season. DT Jamal Williams continues his second half which has him playing stellar, and inside linebacker Stephen Cooper had seven tackles to go with his two interceptions. SS Steve Gregory was active with seven tackles filling in for Clinton Hart. Once the Raiders fell so far behind, their running game disappeared.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">SPECIAL TEAMS: C - This could have easily been an 'A' but a penalty by Antoine Cason wiped out a kickoff return touchdown by Darren Sproles and the Chargers allowed one to be brought all the way back just before the half. Sproles did show a 29-yard kickoff return and 14-yarder on a punt. P Mike Scifres was keen in averaging 45.4 net yards on five efforts.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">COACHING: A - Coach Norv Turner has taken his share of abuse, so he deserves praise for keeping the Chargers focused despite the playoff window all but closed for the year. He got back to what the Chargers once did best - run the football. Not only did Tomlinson collect 49 first-quarter rushing yards but in doing so he knocked the will out of the Raiders as well. Defensive coordinator Ron Rivera's plan was to attack the quarterback and the Chargers responded with four turnovers. It was a solid job by the coaching staff in not letting the Chargers pack it in.</p>

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