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Inside Slant

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Nov 7, 2006.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

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

    <img width="280" height="194" alt="SAN DIEGO - NOVEMBER 5: Antonio Gates #85 of the San Diego Chargers celebrates defeating the Cleveland Browns on November 5, 2006 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)" title="SAN DIEGO - NOVEMBER 5: Antonio Gates #85 of the San Diego Chargers celebrates defeating the Cleveland Browns on November 5, 2006 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)" src="http://us.i1.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/sp/getty/a8/full.getty-71465381lb005_browns_charge_8_37_36_pm.jpg" />
    <div class="inside-copy">The win over the Browns got the Chargers where they wanted to be: 6-2 at the season's halfway mark.</div>
    <p class="inside-copy">The Chargers know they have to pick up their game dramatically over the next two weeks if wanting to maintain a share of the AFC West lead. Committing 12 penalties, having shoddy special teams play and utilizing an offense that was up as much as it was down won't cut it on the road against the Bengals and Broncos.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">Maybe that's why the Chargers have been so quick to file away Sunday's 32-25 victory. The team didn't play well and very easily could have lost if not for playing such inferior opponent.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> The Chargers may have won six of eight and two straight, but they've yet to win a game in a hostile environment against a top-flight team.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">Sorry, but road wins at Oakland and San Francisco hardly qualify.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">"It's going to be a test for us, no question," running back LaDainian Tomlinson said. "Cincinnati is one of the top teams in the AFC North, and it is going to be tough going to their place and playing."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">Tomlinson expects the Bengals to be in a sour mood after losing two straight and to come with plenty of energy.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">"We have to match their intensity and be ready to go from the jump-start because they are going to try and jump on us fast and get the crowd behind them. That's going to be a tough test for us," Tomlinson said.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">In the Bengals, the Chargers face a team much like the Chiefs squad they played on Oct. 22. The Chiefs had just been embarrassed by the Steelers and the doubters were lined up three deep. That a similar situation the sinking Bengals find themselves in.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"></p>
    <p class="inside-copy">"You worry about a team like that because in these situations it's what brings out the best in football players," Tomlinson said. "Where people are writing them off, and they lost (two) straight, football players, they look for stuff like that. They look for something where people say they can't do something. Hey, they are going to want to prove a point, and that is one thing we have to understand and be ready."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"><strong>NOTES, QUOTES</strong></p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-QB Philip Rivers is smart beyond his years. He always remembers to praise his offensive line after a game. And after beating the Browns, he admitted the running game was headed left behind the blocking of tackle Marcus McNeill and guard Kris Dielman. "We could run it either way, but we kind of had it going to that left side, but the whole line was playing well," Rivers said. "That was probably the best as a whole they have graded out."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-The Chargers continue to shine in the red zone, where they have scored points in all 30 trips inside the 20 - not counting a kneel-down to end the Steelers game. They've scored 18 touchdowns and 12 field goals.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-RB LaDainian Tomlinson met his hero Sunday when he ran into Jim Brown before the game. "It was a stunner seeing him there," Tomlinson said. "I'm thinking to myself, 'My goodness, that's Jim Brown.' I just said, 'I appreciate you inspiring me.'"</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"></p>
    <p class="inside-copy">PLAYER NOTES</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-OLB Shaun Phillips (calf) is going to try to practice Wednesday. He has missed the past two games.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-DE Luis Castillo (ankle) might not go on Sunday and will have his practice time compromised if nothing else. He was wearing a walking boot on Monday.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-FS Marlon McCree (calf) claims he will be a go Sunday, but he might be eased into practice this week.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-ILB Donnie Edwards had an interception Sunday, which was 26th of his career, the most among NFL linebackers.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-DE Jacques Cesaire, who plays on passing downs, had a career-high two sacks Sunday.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"><strong>STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL</strong></p>
    <p class="inside-copy">REPORT CARD VS. BROWNS</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">PASSING OFFENSE: B-minus - Philip Rivers didn't throw a TD pass in a game for the first time this season. He wasn't his usual precise self, but more important, he took care of the ball. Seven receivers caught passes; strange that Antonio Gates had only two thrown his way. The Chargers allowed three sacks, as the pass protection was spotty early on.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">RUSHING OFFENSE: A - The Chargers finally got around to sticking the ball in LaDainian Tomlinson's gut, and guess what: He rushed for 172 yards and three scores. He only had seven rushes in the first half, and five of those came on the first possession. Run-blocking was on the mark in the second half, and don't overlook FB Lorenzo Neal clearing the way for Tomlinson.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">PASS DEFENSE: C - The Chargers committed too many penalties, and six of the team's season-high 12 came via the secondary. CB Drayton Florence had a rough afternoon. S Clinton Hart was beaten for a whopper - 52 yards. CB Quentin Jammer was picked on, too. But the Chargers did keep Charlie Frye to 236 passing yards and one score.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">RUSH DEFENSE: A - Reuben Droughns was shut down, as he averaged 1.9 yards per carry. The return of DE Igor Olshansky gave the run defense a boost. ILB Randall Godfrey tied for the team lead with nine tackles and added a sack. NT Jamal Williams once again was a monster in the middle. His six tackles only tell a portion of the story.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">SPECIAL TEAMS: D - The Chargers received a penalty for calling consecutive timeouts. They also allowed a kick return for 47 yards and a punt return for 81 yards. They got nothing of note on the return game.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">COACHING: A - The Chargers sleepwalked through the first half and trailed 12-10 at halftime. Marty Schottenheimer tore into his charges with everything he had, and apparently the team got the message. Weird the Chargers didn't go to the running game earlier, but it worked out in the end. Kudos to defensive coordinator Wade Phillips for supplying a keen game plan to a defense that was littered with second-stringers.</p>
     

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