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Inside Slant

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Sep 27, 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>

    <img src="http://bolttalk.com/images/week3.jpg" alt="Week 3" />
    It's not all the way back, but a hint of the swagger the Chargers entered the season with was on display 24 hours after they pounded the Giants, 45-20.

    The Chargers were in no mood to find themselves in an 0-3 hole, so they came out and played their most complete game.

    And the turnaround comes none-too-early as the Chargers' next five games before their bye are at New England, Pittsburgh, at Oakland, at Philadelphia and Kansas City.

    "It was huge," veteran wide receiver Keenan McCardell said of the team's first victory. "That was a do-or-die win for us. Everyone was expecting us to be the hot team coming out of the box because we were the hot team at the end of the year."

    But the Chargers stumbled from the gate with two losses, which made Sunday night's affair bigger than Eli Manning finally coming to San Diego.

    Those questioning the Chargers' resolve have to take a step back.

    "When we had gone 0-2 and a lot of people doubted our confidence, and to come out and have win like this where everybody performed so well is just what we needed," quarterback Drew Brees said.

    Added LaDainian Tomlinson, who was sensational against the Giants: "Earlier in the week we said we needed this win. It was kind of like a must-win, that's how we looked at it last week. We knew we had to this game. We couldn't afford to go down 0-3."

    Not with what awaits.

    NOTES, QUOTES

    - The Chargers' 268 rushing yards was the third-highest in team history.

    - Drew Brees' .863 completion rate was the second-highest in franchise.

    -The 45 points scored were the most since they defeated the Dolphins, 45-20, on Dec. 27, 1993.

    - RB LaDainian Tomlinson threw his second career touchdown pass Sunday, when finding a wide open Keenan McCardell from 26 yards out. Tomlinson was worried he had put too much air under the ball. "I thought I threw it too far but I guess the old man still has some legs."

    -Speaking of McCardell, he went over the 10,000-yard receiving mark, only the 23rd NFL player to do so. "It's a great honor," he said. "I know there are a lot of guys that are striving for that and it puts you in an elite class."

    - When Tomlinson scores at least two touchdowns, the Chargers are 13-4.

    PLAYER PERSONNEL NOTES

    - LG Kris Dielman played well in his first NFL start, and it will be worth watching whether Toniu Fonoti gets his job back.

    - RB Darren Sproles is starting to show up more in the base offense; he had a carry for 21 yards. He's on his way to establishing himself as one of the NFL's most dangerous return men.

    - DE Luis Castillo held up well starting again. The team must decided to stick with him or put Igor Olshansky, who is more of a run-stuffer, back in the starting lineup.

    - WR Vincent Jackson (calf) is hopeful he can return to practice this week; he's yet to play.

    - WR Reche Caldwell has fallen far from the mix. An opening-day starter last season, Caldwell seldom sees the field and has but one catch for 9 yards in three games.

    STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

    REPORT CARD VS. GIANTS

    PASSING OFFENSE: A - Drew Brees was sensational as he was in complete control the entire game. He hit on 19-of-22 passes for 191 yards and two scores. He spread the ball around to six different receivers, and was often able to go through his reads at least once thanks to the fine pass-blocking. And by the Chargers being able to establish the run, it set up a touchdown pass from LaDainian Tomlinson to Keenan McCardell after he had taken a pitch outside. McCardell continues to outrun Father Time as he has two more touchdown catches.

    RUSHING OFFENSE: A - The Giants came in ranked among the top run defensive units, but got hammered up front and couldn't hold on to Tomlinson long enough to bring him down without much damage. The front line of the Chargers gave Tomlinson plenty of running room - and he doesn't need much. A whopping 268 rushing yards piled up by the Chargers, with 192 coming from Tomlinson's cleats.

    PASS DEFENSE: D - Still plenty of work to be done here, as Eli Manning collected 352 passing yards and two scores. Quentin Jammer continues - each game - to get beat for a touchdown, a long gain and commit a penalty. This Sunday was no different. Drayton Florence, though, did a nice job of some coverages, but his game had some blemishes, too. The pass defense continues to be the weak spot of this entire team.

    RUSH DEFENSE: B - Much better than the previous two weeks as Tiki Barber was held to 60 yards and the Giants got but 86 as a team. Donnie Edwards had a great game with a game-high 13 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble. Although it doesn't show through on the stat sheet, the linemen did well to keep the Giants' blockers occupied long enough to let the linebackers to swoop in and do their thing.

    SPECIAL TEAMS: A - Darren Sproles is so close to breaking one on a return. He almost did it again against the Giants, with a long of 58 on his way to 134 return yards. The Chargers, for the most part, shut down what was an impressive Giants' return game. Mike Scifres had but one chance, but he cranked out a 50-yard punt and Nate Kaeding was true on his lone effort from 44 yards.

    COACHING: A - Instead of virtually ignoring Tomlinson, the game plan was wrapped around his enormous skills - why it wasn't the first two weeks is for somebody else to answer. Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron also went to an up-tempo, no-huddle approach which Brees thrives in. The rhythm that had been missing in the previous two weeks was on display for all to see. Coach Marty Schottenheimer didn't hide the fact, privately, how important this game was and his charges bought into it.
     

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