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Inside Slant

Discussion in 'San Diego Chargers Hall of Champions' started by robdog, Sep 13, 2005.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 29, 2009
    Source: <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football/nfl/chargers/home.htm" target="_blank">USA Today</a>

    The Chargers are still trying to explain themselves following Sunday's season-opening loss to the Cowboys, 28-24.

    It's one thing to go down giving a team your best shot, but few would agree that's what the Chargers did in their final drive.

    Already without suspended All-Pro tight end Antonio Gates, the team ignored All-Pro running back LaDainian Tomlinson, as well.

    Perched at the Dallas 7, and trailing by four points with 47 seconds to go, the Chargers threw four straight passes - three incompletes and an interception.

    No sticking the ball in Tomlinson's gut. No passes toward the only running back in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards and catch 100 passes in the same season.

    Why didn't the Chargers call his number?

    "I can't answer that question," Tomlinson said. "It's not for me to answer. I don't call the plays."

    Coach Marty Schottenheimer said the Cowboys' defense didn't allow the offense to point the ball toward Tomlinson. He also said that the absence of Antonio Gates didn't cross his mind.

    "That's my story and I'm sticking to it," Schottenheimer said.

    But there's no doubt the loss is sticking to the Chargers' ribs as they start preparing for a visit to Denver.

    "We let one slip away," defensive tackle Jamal Williams said. "We made the mistakes and we have to pay for it.

    "Now we got a game that counts as one and a half. A divisional game and both teams are 0-1. Somebody is going to leave there 0-2."

    The Chargers left many scratching their heads with their questionable play-calling on Sunday.


    - RB LaDainian Tomlinson tied an NFL record by scoring a touchdown in his 13th consecutive game. He joins John Riggins and George Rogers in the record book.

    - After failing to hit on four passes to win the game, QB Drew Brees said the fault for the loss falls at his cleats. "So if you're going to blame it on somebody, go ahead and put it on me," he said.

    - The last time Keenan McCardell had two TD catches in the same game was Dec. 15, 2002 at Detroit.

    - For the first time since 2003, the Chargers had four different player record sacks.

    - CB Sammy Davis had the first sack of his career when he tackled Dallas' Drew Bledsoe.

    - With nine receptions on Sunday, Keenan McCardell now has 764 for his career. That ties him for 14th place on the all-time list with his receivers coach, Hall of Famer James Lofton.

    - The loss drops A.J. Smith's mark to under .500 in his two-plus seasons as the team's general manager: 16-17.

    -Among the reasons the Chargers' defense couldn't master the Cowboys was their work on third downs: 7-of-11.


    - All signs point toward OLB Shawne Merriman (sprained knee) making his NFL debut on Sunday in Denver.

    - DE Igor Olshansky suffered a bruised calf in Sunday's loss, and he could be listed as questionable for Sunday. If he can't go, he will be replaced by rookie Luis Castillo.

    - WR Keenan McCardell answered a lot of questions with a stellar showing on Sunday. He had two touchdown catches and his first 100-yard game since 2003. Many wondered if McCardell still had some giddy-up at age 35.

    - WR Kassim Osgood is having a hard time breaking into the passing game. But that hasn't hampered his special teams play, and he continues to do well there. He had two big tackles on Sunday.

    - WR Vincent Jackson (Achilles' tendon, calf) is hoping to play Sunday after missing the opener. He's especially motivated to play in Denver, as he attended Northern Colorado.



    PASSING OFFENSE: D - Drew Brees was so-so. After throwing but seven interceptions last year, he tossed two in his first four quarters of this year. To be fair, the Cowboys blitzed the heck out of him as they dared the Chargers to beat them with the pass. Not having All-Pro TE Antonio Gates made that a tad easier. Brees wasn't awful (18-of-35 for 209 yards and two touchdowns), but he had four chances to win the game at the end and came up short.

    RUNNING OFFENSE: D - The Chargers, with one of the better backs in the league, just did get past the century mark in rushing. RB LaDainian Tomlinson was limited to only 19 carries, and while he had 72 yards and a score, it wasn't enough. Seems the Chargers got away from running the ball, scared by the Cowboys loading up in the box. Run-blocking was decent - Mike Goff's pancake block on Tomlinson's run was a beauty - but the ground game wasn't called on enough.

    PASS DEFENSE: F - Once again, the Achilles' heel of the Chargers' team is its pass defense. Drew Bledsoe threw for three touchdowns and 226 yards - for a nifty QB rating of 143.4. Quentin Jammer had two killer penalties, and Sammy Davis got beat for the game-winner by Keyshawn Johnson. It's "Groundhog Day" with this bunch. The pass rush wasn't bad, as four different players had a sack each, but someone must step up defending the pass, or the Chargers' dream of being an elite NFL team will take a serious blow.

    RUN DEFENSE: C - The Chargers have set the bar so high here, that whenever a team gains more than 100 yards on the ground, eyebrows raise. Julius Jones rushed for 93 yards and a score. The defense seemed to wear out as the game wore on, with the holes getting larger for Jones to run through. Again, it was a decent showing by the Bolts, but they hang their hat on their run defense; and by those standards, they fell short.

    SPECIAL TEAMS: C - Keep an eye on Darren Sproles; as he nearly broke two kickoff returns for touchdowns. He had returns of 49 and 46 yards; a mere shoestring tackle away from a score on both. But P Mike Scifres killed the Chargers' chances of winning with a dreadful 18-yard punt that gave the Cowboys great field position to start their game-winning possession.

    COACHING: F - Still can't figure out why Tomlinson wasn't used with the game on the line. Coach Marty Schottenheimer said they didn't run from the Dallas 7-yard line because of all the Cowboys in the box. But Tomlinson has made a career out of making people miss, and what's wrong with a pitch or short swing pass to let the NFL's best back do his thing in space? Remember, in the old days, a stubborn Schottenheimer would have run anyway; not backing down to someone trying to take away his best option. It looks as if Cowboys coach Bill Parcells spooked Schottenheimer out of using his best weapon.

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