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Inside Slant

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Oct 4, 2005.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

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

    The Chargers were riding a pretty good high on Monday, thanks to Sunday's shellacking of the world champion Patriots.

    After a slow start which saw them lose two close games, the Chargers have regained their strut after conquests of the Giants and Patriots.

    Especially the Patriots - thanks to a 41-17 pounding.

    So the question begs to be answered? Are the Chargers an elite team?

    "Well, we feel that way about ourselves," said quarterback Drew Brees, who is the NFL's fourth-rated passer. "But I don't really care if we get notoriety about it or not. Because I don't really think we deserve that kind of notoriety yet."

    But it's on the horizon if they can defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers on "Monday Night Football".

    Brees, though, is looking for a longer winning streak then two to get the AFC West defending champions into the spotlight.

    "We had a 12-4 season (in 2004), but we need to show consistency," Brees said. "We need to show we can be one of those teams that can consistently win, get on these runs, where we're winning, two, three, four, five in a row."

    "Winning on the road in tough environments, I think that's when you start getting respect. We've had one great year. We're kind of on a roll right now, just with these last two games, but we have a long way to go."

    NOTES, QUOTES

    -RB LaDainian Tomlinson leads the NFL with eight rushing touchdowns and is 5 yards shy of being tied with Seattle's Shaun Alexander for the rushing yardage lead at 455.

    -The Chargers snapped the Patriots' 21-game winning streak at home.

    -Tomlinson thinks the Chargers' offense is starting to find its groove. "We have played well over the last two weeks," Tomlinson said. "I think we are starting to click on offense and defense."

    -Nice to have friends in high places: Brees was treated to the Red Sox-Yankees game on Saturday by ex-Charger Doug Flutie. Never mind that Flutie didn't have any tickets to the sold-out game. Brees was calling him "Mayor Flutie" because doors were swung open everywhere they went in at Fenway Park.

    -S Bhawoh Jue won the spot over incumbent Jerry Wilson because the team thought Jue would be able to create more turnovers. So far, he has two interceptions, which ties Donnie Edwards for the team lead.

    PLAYER PERSONNEL NOTES

    -LG Kris Dielman has done well in his first two NFL starts, and will remain in the lineup for the foreseeable future.

    -LG Toniu Fonoti will have another surgery on his broken hand this week and will be out two to three weeks.

    -TE Antonio Gates continues to get more comfortable since returning from his three-game suspension. Gates had a game-high 106 receiving yards on six receptions against the Patriots.

    -RB Michael Turner, LaDainian Tomlinson's backup, showed well in rushing for 44 yards on 11 carries.

    -WR Reche Caldwell had but one catch for 9 yards in the opening three games. But he resurfaced in New England, snagging two balls for 36 yards and a touchdown.

    STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

    REPORT CARD VS. PATRIOTS

    PASSING OFFENSE: A - Drew Brees had his second straight stellar game, this time completing 19-of-24 passes for 248 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. He spread the ball around to eight different players. The protection for Brees was outstanding, as he wasn't sacked and was seldom pressured without first going through his reads at least once.

    RUSHING OFFENSE: A - LaDainian Tomlinson noticed something in his film work on the Pats. If C Nick Hardwick could reach DT Vince Wilfork, it opened up the cutback lanes. Hardwick was able to do so, and Tomlinson did his thing to the tune of 134 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries. The run-blocking was solid, and it was proven when Michael Turner entered the game and averaged 4 yards on 11 carries.

    PASS DEFENSE: C - Any time a pass defense can beat a Tom Brady-run team, that's impressive. And don't think this unit didn't stub its toe a time or two in the game - Sammy Davis was burned by Tim Dwight in single coverage for a score. But there are some small steps being taken here. And some of that much be attributed to a pass rush which sacked Brady once and made him hurry his throws on numerous occasions. But the defensive backs, who have been wearing a target, get some credit for doing their part.

    RUSH DEFENSE: A - Corey Dillon had two good runs; other that, he was bottled up: he rushed for 63 yards and a score on 14 carries. Once the Patriots fell so far behind, it was predictable they would ditch the running game. Nose tackle Jamal Williams had a good game, as did Edwards (a team-high 11 tackles). Overall, the Patriots managed but 73 rushing yards.

    SPECIAL TEAMS: C - Darren Sproles was bottled up for really the first time this season, held to a 20-yard average on four kickoff returns. The Chargers got burned by Bethel Johnson on a 54-yard kickoff return. Mike Scifres didn't have to do much; he averaged 34.3 net yards on three punts. Nate Kaeding was something that Adam Vinatieri wasn't: perfect. Kaeding nailed his two attempts, from 42 and 21 yards.

    COACHING: A - A tip of the hat to coach Marty Schottenheimer and his staff. Schottenheimer wouldn't let the players fall back on the excuses of traveling cross-country or having to play the world champions to intimidate them. Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron had a super mix of run and pass. Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips went with a press coverage on the Pats receivers, and with a decent pass rush, they couldn't get any separation in time for Brady to hit them with a pass.
     

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