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Inside Slant

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Oct 2, 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 alt="The Chargers said this wouldn't happen anymore, that they had learned, that they were better." title="The Chargers said this wouldn't happen anymore, that they had learned, that they were better." src="http://www.signonsandiego.com/sports/chargers/images/061001hart-deject.jpg" />
    <div class="inside-copy">Sure it stings. Stings bad when you dominate a team for most of a game then leave without a win.</div>
    <p class="inside-copy">That was the feeling the day after the Chargers lost yet another game in the fourth quarter - their first since last season. This time they fell to the Ravens. 16-13, on Steve McNair's late touchdown pass.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">The Chargers were well in control and appeared headed to a 3-0 record. But they never moved off the 13 points they put up in the first half and the result was letting the Ravens hang around and eventually win the game.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> Coach Marty Schottenheimer, amazing as it seems, went conservative in the second half. Philip Rivers was allowed to throw but eight passes in the second half. And the Chargers were a dreadful 3 of 13 on third downs, with many of the calls being running plays smack into a line of scrimmage stacked with Ravens.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">But Rivers wouldn't blame the coach. That's no shock, considering this is Rivers' first year as a starter and Schottenheimer's 30th year as a coach.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">"We know what it takes to win," Rivers said. "But the interception hurt us, the penalties hurt us and not capitalizing on turnovers hurt us.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">"Every team that lost (Sunday) would have two or three of those same things they didn't do well."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">The Chargers aren't feeling well after such a tough loss. Especially with the world champion Pittsburgh Steelers arriving on Sunday. The Steelers are coming off a bye - like the Chargers were going into the Ravens game - and are hungry for a win after losing two of their first three games.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">Schottenheimer wouldn't admit he played his cards close to the vest in Sunday's loss. He said the opponent determines how he approaches a game and with the Ravens not known for being explosive on offense, it wasn't wise to get risky with the ball or the play-calling.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">Instead, Schottenheimer reasoned, the odds were in the Chargers' favor if they just held on to the lead, played the field position game and let their defense do the rest.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">But the defense got tired at the end with a deplorable third-down conversion mark. It faltered down the stretch and some wonder if the Chargers will rebound so quickly after a key loss.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">Some also wonder if Schottenheimer is punching his ticket out of town with another close loss. Schottenheimer has never been a favorite of general manager A. J. Smith and Smith was visibly upset in the press box as the game started to unravel.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">Schottenheimer, though, is clear in why he does the things he does. And he's not apologizing for the way things went on Sunday - and he's clear that the Chargers didn't go into a shell.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">"I don't think that we do that," Schottenheimer said. "I think what we do is we plan and prepare ourselves for means by which we can win every football game. I don't think so. That wasn't the case."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">Rivers doesn't think the Chargers will have trouble rebounding.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">"We'll move forward, learn from it and bounce back," he said.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">But before they do, they realize they wasted a golden opportunity to grab a road win.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">"We had a chance to win the game late," Rivers said, "and we let it slip away."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"><strong>NOTES, QUOTES</strong></p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-It's strange how little action All-Pro TE Antonio Gates is seeing. Not that he isn't in the game, but the ball doesn't seem to be heading his way as often as one might think. In three games, he has but 10 catches for 122 yards and one touchdown.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-Maybe the Chargers were fortunate no one took ILB Donnie Edwards off the trade market. Edwards had a sensational game against the Ravens, collecting two turnovers and six tackles. He said the loss was all too familiar to a squad which dropped four fourth-quarter leads last year. "We have to learn from our mistakes from last year," Edwards said. "We have to find a way to win and make the play that count to finish the game." Edwards remains on the trading block and will do so until this month's deadline.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-DE Luis Castillo didn't want to hear about the offense going conservative and costing the team the game. Instead, he pointed out that the defense had a late lead and couldn't hold it. "When you play a great team, all you can ask for as a defense is to have an opportunity at the end of the game to have it in your hands, control the game with a lead, put the win away. We couldn't do that."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-WR Keenan McCardell didn't continue his climb up the all-time receiving list charts as he was held without a catch. What that tells you is his hamstring - which he tried to rehab during the bye week - is possibly hurt more than he is letting on.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-QB Philip Rivers didn't approach the Ravens game as it being a test as how good the Chargers are. Their previous wins came against the hapless Raiders and Titans. "I wasn't approaching it that way," he said. "It was the toughest opponent I'd face. It was a tough test for this team. How are we going to be measured by this game? I don't know, but we have a lot of games left. It's tough losing those kind of games but you've got to find a way to regroup and go back at it next week."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"></p>
    <p class="inside-copy">PLAYER NOTES</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-WR Eric Parker got hit hard on a punt return and could be eased into the practice week.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-CB Antonio Cromartie said he was surprised when told to go in and field the final kickoff. While he had been practicing as a returner, the plan was to use him later in the year. But looking for some breakaway speed, Cromartie was called and returned it 16 yards.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-RB Michael Turner will likely return as the kickoff return guy. What was surprising was he was in the game in the fourth quarter - with the contest on the line - as a fit LaDainian Tomlinson stood on the sideline. Tomlinson said he was fine with Turner getting the ball, as the Ravens were overloading the box and Turner is a more powerful runner and had a better chance of breaking tackles.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-LG Kris Dielman had the triple crown of penalties on Sunday: a hold, a clip and a false start. That might not help talks with him and the Chargers over extending his contract.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-Billy Volek, the newest Charger, was penciled in as the No. 3 quarterback behind rookie Charlie Whitehurst.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-CB Quentin Jammer now has two interceptions after collecting just one in each of the past two seasons.</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: C - Philip Rivers threw his first interception and then was basically shut down in the second half when the Chargers went ultra-conservative. He also overthrew a wide open Antonio Gates over the middle which might had resulted in a touchdown. The pass protection was good - it did allow its first sack. No drops here as there weren't many chances as Rivers threw it but eight times in the second half. Overall, Rivers was 13-of-22 for 145 yards, an interception and a touchdown.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">RUSHING OFFENSE: B - LaDainian Tomlinson goes for a game-high 98 yards but they were tough yards and the Ravens dared the Chargers to beat them with the pass. The run-blocking was decent, but that same line had too many penalties at critical junctures. Tomlinson isn't going to lat the season unless the Chargers at least give a hint of a passing attack. Michael Turner averaged 6.6 yards on seven carries.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">PASS DEFENSE: C-minus - There was good here, as interceptions were recorded by Quentin Jammer and Donnie Edwards. But the team also allowed two touchdown passes, the killer being the one to Todd Heap with less than a minute remaining. It wasn't like Heap was wide open, instead it was shoddy tackling by Shawne Merriman and Antonio Cromartie which allowed Heap to wiggle in for the game-winning score. What was somewhat surprising was the Chargers managing but two sacks against Steve McNair. The Ravens went with extreme pass protection on occasions, but McNair hardly moves like he once did and many thought this would be a big day for the Chargers' pass-rushers.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">RUSH DEFENSE: A - DT Jamal Williams was a rock in the middle as Jamal Lewis and the Ravens kept trying to pound the middle. But the Chargers would have none of that and allowed but 56 yards rushing. Shaun Phillips had seven tackles and Donnie Edwards added six. Great job, once again, by the run defense.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">SPECIAL TEAMS: D - Tough grade when considering Nate Kaeding hit a career-long field goal of 54 yards and P Mike Scifres tied a career-long with an effort of 71 yards. But things went south in the fourth quarter, when Scifres dropped a snap on a field-goal attempt which turned the ball over to the Ravens. The long snapper David Binn one-hopped a snap to Scifres in the end zone which would eventually lead to a safety.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">COACHING: F - Coach Marty Schottenheimer has to trust Rivers and let him throw the ball, especially on third downs. The Chargers ran the ball six times on their 13 third downs and the Ravens at the end didn't even give the threat of a pass a second thought. The Chargers simply got too conservative in their play-calling and played not to lose instead of playing to win. This loss could have long-term ramifications for Schottenheimer unless the Chargers can turn it around quickly.</p>

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