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Inside Slant - 12/26/06

Discussion in 'San Diego Chargers Hall of Champions' started by robdog, Dec 26, 2006.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 29, 2009
    Source: <a target="_blank" href="http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football/nfl/chargers/home.htm">USA Today</a>

    <img width="295" height="204" alt="San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) hands off to Vincent Jackson in the third quarter against the Seattle Seahawks in a football game Sunday, Dec. 24, 2006, in Seattle. The Chargers won, 20-17. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)" title="San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) hands off to Vincent Jackson in the third quarter against the Seattle Seahawks in a football game Sunday, Dec. 24, 2006, in Seattle. The Chargers won, 20-17. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)" src="http://espn-i.starwave.com/media/apphoto/SEA12512250129.jpg" />
    <div class="inside-copy">Two streaks were extended Sunday in the Chargers' 20-17 victory over the Seahawks:</div>
    <p class="inside-copy">*San Diego ran its winning run to nine games.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">*San Diego ran its winning streak to two games in which Philip Rivers played poorly.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">Rivers, who has fashioned an AFC-best 13-2 mark in his first year as a starter, stumbled around badly in the rain at Qwest Field.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">That being said, he rallied in the final quarter and lofted a 37-yard strike to Vincent Jackson, giving the Chargers the triumph in the final minute.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> But overall, again, Rivers was bad. He missed on his first nine passes and finished with 10 completions in 30 attempts for 181 yards and two touchdowns.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">The good? Rivers didn't let his poor first three quarters hamper the final quarter.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">The bad? It's Rivers, who had an ugly game on the heels of a 4-for-12 stinker the previous week.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">But in NFL, winning disguises about everything. And there were nothing but upbeat voices and smiles in the Chargers' winning locker room.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">Rivers said the only thing that matters is the team has won both of the past two games when he struggled.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">"I think struggle is a misused word," Rivers said. "I am not denying that I haven't played my best football; I think it's football. If you think that you are going to go out and throw 70 percent completions and throw for this and this and everything is going to be lovely and never throw an interception, I think you are kidding yourself."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">No, but might the Chargers be kidding themselves? While shrugging off Rivers' subpar play of late, anyone knows it can't continue heading into the playoffs.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">But what is impressive is that Rivers hasn't blinked when things were have gone sideways.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">"We just kept battling," he said.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">"He was good," coach Marty Schottenheimer said, "when he had to be good."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">Added Rivers: "You are not playing a one-man sport. I call it a part of football: You battle through it, and I think it's what we have done. I think the key stat is we have won nine in a row, and that is why you have 53 guys, plus coaches, with you so you are not out there by yourself."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"><strong>NOTES, QUOTES</strong></p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-Pro Bowl OLB Shawne Merriman is the NFL co-leader with 15.5 sacks. He had three on Sunday and said the defense didn't mind helping out a struggling offense. "That was what we were talking about on the sidelines. We were saying listen, the offense isn't getting it done right now, and we have to step up and play for them," he said. "Even though (QB Philip Rivers) doesn't have a great game, we have to step in and win the game for the offense." Merriman is two sacks shy of the team record, set by Gary Johnson in 1980.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-With 123 rushing yards Sunday, RB LaDainian Tomlinson set the franchise's single-season mark at 1,749. He also eclipsed the 9,000-yard career rushing milepost, joining Barry Sanders and Emmitt Smith as the fastest to reach that figure. "I'm happy about it," he said of the team mark. "And you never know now that I'm at 1,700 how many I can end up with."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">- Veteran G Mike Goff was watching Philip Rivers closely, and he said the quarterback never lost his confidence. That doesn't surprise Goff. "He didn't blink," Goff said. "Ever since Day 1 when he got the reins of this team, he's been calm, cool and collected. Even when things aren't going good."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-This is first Chargers team to post 13 regular-season wins.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-The nine-game winning streak is the longest of Marty Schottenheimer's career.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-This is the Chargers' longest winning run since winning their first 11 games in 1961.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-The Chargers' total of 60 sacks ties for the second most in team history. They had six Sunday for the second consecutive week.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-All three of LB Donnie Edwards' passes defensed came on third downs, with one leading to a Clinton Hart interception.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-The Chargers have now erased four fourth-quarter deficits. "For so long it was frustrating to lose games like that, but now we're on the other side of the coin," RB LaDainian Tomlinson said.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-The Chargers have a first-round bye and will host a second-round game at Qualcomm Stadium, where they have won all eight games this year. If the Chargers prevail in the regular-season finale over the Cardinals, they will have home-field advantage leading up to the Super Bowl.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-Coach Marty Schottenheimer gave the team Monday and Tuesday off.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"><strong>STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL</strong></p>
    <p class="inside-copy">PLAYER NOTES</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-LT Roman Oben made his first appearance of the season, lining up as an eligible receiver on Philip Rivers' second-quarter TD pass to Vincent Jackson. He later replaced Marcus McNeill (neck) at left tackle.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-LT Marcus McNeill's neck injury was considered the only serious injury for the Chargers from the game. He will be monitored during the week.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-WR Keenan McCardell replaced Eric Parker on punt returns and had a swollen lip from a blow to show for it. McCardell's forte his is reliable hand and not his breakaway returning skills. He averaged less than 8 yards on five returns.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-WR Vincent Jackson leads all Chargers wideouts with five TD receptions.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-WR Eric Parker is still questionable with a neck injury.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-DE Luis Castillo was still in a walking boot from his sprained left ankle. The team could sit him until the playoffs start.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-S Clinton Hart had a career-high two interceptions, and he also batted down the final Hail Mary attempt by Seattle's Matt Hasselbeck to end the game.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-DE Jacques Cesaire, filling in for DE Luis Castillo (ankle), had a career-high two sacks.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"></p>
    <p class="inside-copy">REPORT CARD VS. SEAHAWKS</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">PASSING OFFENSE: D - QB Philip Rivers was dreadful. With just 10 completions in 30 attempts, Rivers was wide high, low, inside and outside. He didn't get help with four balls dropped, but he was clearly off his game for the second consecutive week. But, more important, he gathered his wits to lead the team to the victory. The pass protection was fine and really didn't factor into Rivers' uneven play. WR Vincent Jackson continues to become a bigger part of the passing game.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">RUSHING OFFENSE: A - LaDainian Tomlinson rushed for 123 yards on 22 carries, but he didn't rush for a score for the first time since Oct. 22, although he did have a scoring run called back. What makes Tomlinson's outing so impressive is that the Seahawks had to pay scant attention to the passing game with Rivers off his mark so much. The run blocking was solid once again, and that was with backup veteran LT Roman Oben seeing considerable playing time.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">PASS DEFENSE: B - Seattle QB Matt Hasselbeck never did get comfortable, as the Chargers were aggressive in the pass pressure early to set the tone. The NFL's leading sack team added six more to its total, with three coming from Shawne Merriman - he also swatted down two passes. S Clinton Hart gets two interceptions and LB Donnie Edwards nearly intercepts two more.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">RUSH DEFENSE: C - DT Jamal Williams was dominant up front, but Seattle's running game gashed the Chargers for 153 yards, with 140 coming from Shaun Alexander. San Diego was missing ILB Randall Godfrey (hamstring), who is among the unit's best run-stuffers, and the linebackers weren't able to take as big of an advantage of Williams' play up front - that, and Alexander is a heck of a back.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">SPECIAL TEAMS: C - Nate Kaeding showed off his Pro Bowl leg with two field goals through the rain and wind. P Mike Scifres had a busy day, although he's also had better ones. Still, he managed 42.5-yard average with a long of 59. Nothing much came from the returns games and the coverage units, save when Nate Burleson's TD return was called back.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">COACHING: A - The Chargers didn't have as much to play for as the Seahawks, but they were able to match Seattle's intensity, which is saying something with the noise generated at Qwest Field. Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron didn't shy away from the pass in the fourth quarter, despite Rivers being off. And Wade Phillips' baffling blitz packages bagged another victim. There were some issues at the end with clock management, but all Marty Schottenheimer could manage was a post-game smile after another thrilling victory.</p>

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