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Inside Slant

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Sep 12, 2006.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 29, 2009
    <div class="inside-copy">Source: <a target="_blank" href="http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football/nfl/chargers/home.htm">USA Today</a></div>
    <div class="inside-copy"></div>
    <div class="inside-copy"><img width="165" height="226" align="left" alt="an Diego Chargers' LaDainian Tomlison (21) rushes past Oakland Raiders' Sam Williams (54) in the first half of their NFL football game on Monday, Sept. 11, 2006 in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Benjamin Sklar)" title="an Diego Chargers' LaDainian Tomlison (21) rushes past Oakland Raiders' Sam Williams (54) in the first half of their NFL football game on Monday, Sept. 11, 2006 in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Benjamin Sklar)" src="http://espn-i.starwave.com/media/apphoto/1b900080-f063-493b-a7f4-e134c60244cf.jpg" /> The Chargers looked every bit like the team they are trying to copy - the Pittsburgh Steelers - in an opening night win over the Raiders.</div>
    <p class="inside-copy">Philip Rivers made his first start in the 27-0 blanking, but his debut will be known for as much as what he didn't do, as what he did.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">Rivers only threw the 11 times, completing eight of them for 108 yards and a score. Big numbers? No way. Big boost to the Chargers? Absolutely.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">Much like the Steelers did when breaking in quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, not too much was put on Rivers' plate. Instead the Chargers were more than content to pound the ball with LaDainian Tomlinson (131 yards) and unleash a defense which could be the best one the Chargers have produced in years.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"> "I knew I wasn't going to ease into the season, but I wanted to do what Philip did: I just wanted to take care of the football," Tomlinson said. "The way our defense was playing we could be a little conservative."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">The defense had nine sacks, and was in the Raiders' quarterback's faces more times than that. With the grand field position being awarded for their work in sacking the passer, the Chargers were seldom pinned in in the shadow of their own goal post.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">Instead, Rivers managed the game with a calm demeanor, passed when he was asked to, took care of the ball and trotted off with the Chargers being the only AFC West team to win its opening game.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">"When you don't throw it a lot, you have to be efficient and we were able to do that," Rivers said. "Obviously this will probably be the lowest passing attempts this year. But hey if this is what it takes, I am happy to get it done."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">The Chargers got it done all right, giving the Raiders their first home shut out since 1981 and only their second at home all time.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">Look for the Chargers to embrace this approach all the time, as long as it results in a win. With this defense and a strong running game, Rivers won't be asked to carry the team. And that could carry on throughout the season.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"><strong>NOTES, QUOTES</strong></p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-The win came with a cost as DE Igor Olshansky was hurt his knee on the first series. He didn't think it was serious, but he'll be watched closely this week.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-Raiders guard Barry Sims summed up what the Chargers did to his team: "They came in here and pushed us around."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-OLB Shawne Merriman had three sacks, a few days saying he wanted to be the best linebacker ever. "You can't talk in this league and not back it up," Merrriman said. "That is one thing you can't do."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-The Chargers made like a bull getting ready to sprint at its victim by pawing the field whenever they made a big play. That was a tribute to OLB Steve Foley, who remains hospitalized after being shot three times recently by an off-duty police officer. "We had to let Foley know we are thinking about him and we miss him," said Shaun Phillips, who had 1.5 sacks on what was Foley's 31st birthday. "He was out there for us."</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"></p>
    <p class="inside-copy">PLAYER NOTES</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-LT Leander Jordan (shoulder) could practice this week.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-LT Marcus McNeill, who was making his first NFL start, received high grades for his work.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-Eric Parker was able to handle the punt-return duties with little problem, although he has to learn not to field the offerings inside his own 10-yard-line.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-LS David Binn is the Chargers' emergency quarterback, just in case something happens to Philip Rivers and Charlie Whitehurst.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">-RB Michael Turner, in what could be a trend, saw action earlier than normal as Tomlinson's backup.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy"><strong>STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL</strong></p>
    <p class="inside-copy">REPORT CARD VS. RAIDERS</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">PASSING OFFENSE: A - So what if Philip Rivers only threw the ball 11 times. It was a winning effort and that is the bottom line for his position. Once the Chargers went ahead, Rivers was asked to manage the game and not win it. He accomplished just that in his first NFL start. Pass protection was solid and Rivers was hit but once and never sacked.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">RUSHING OFFENSE: A - Ho-hum, another 100-yard effort by LaDainian Tomlinson against the Raiders. Tomlinson didn't show any rust of skipping the preseason by rushing for 131 yards and a score on 31 caries. The run blocking was very good, as Tomlinson had plenty of room to romp.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">PASS DEFENSE: B - Much improvement here, as the backend of the defense reaped the rewards of a pass rush which saw the Raiders be sacked nine times. The linebackers were all over the Raiders' backfield, especially Shawne Merriman who had three sacks. The secondary was tight when it had to be, then backed off when the lead grew to keep everything in front. Good job.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">RUSH DEFENSE: A - LaMont Jordan was never a factor as the front three tied up the blockers which allowed the linebackers to do their thing. The Raiders had but 87 rushing yards and only five rushing touchdowns. The Chargers had the top run defense in the league last year and it picked up right where it left off.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">SPECIAL TEAMS: A - Nate Kaeding was good on both of his field goal attempts, with both coming off the infield dirt portion of the field - Kaeding had never kicked off the dirt. P Mike Scifres was a weapon with his leg, consistently pinning the Raiders in bad field position. The return game was so-so, with Eric Parker on punts and Michael Turner on kickoffs. One long kickoff return won't go unnoticed in the special teams meetings.</p>
    <p class="inside-copy">COACHING: A - Raider-hater Marty Schottenheimer does it again, punking the Raiders to run his record to 26-7 against the Silver and Black. This was a Schottenheimer type of game as the Chargers raced to a 13-0 lead and that allowed him to go conservative and let his running game and awesome defense take over. And by not asking Rivers to do too much, his confidence gets a boost as well with the way he managed the game.</p>

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