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Jump ball, Bolts fall

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Johnny Lightning, Sep 7, 2008.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006
    On the final play of the Chargers’ regular-season opener Sunday, Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme threw up a prayer that his tight end answered.

    With two seconds remaining, Delhomme rolled to his right, pump faked and threw a pass to the back of the end zone that Carolina tight end Dante Rosario snagged to give the Panthers a 26-24 with over the Chargers.

    “They did something a little different,” safety Clinton Hart said. “They spread everybody out and just ran them into the end zone and told them to get open. He got open and he had enough time to pump it one way and go back in the middle of the field. It’s disappointing, but you move on.”

    Rosario’s catch negated a valiant fourth-quarter comeback effort from the Chargers, who erased a nine-point deficit in the final minutes only to fall short. With 2:27 seconds remaining in the contest, wide receiver Vincent Jackson put the Bolts up 24-19 with a five-yard touchdown catch from Philip Rivers.

    The score came following a huge play from the Chargers’ defense. With Carolina hoping to run out the clock and preserve a lead, Delhomme hit D.J. Hackett for a five-yard gain on 3rd-and-5 that gained enough ground for a first down. But Chargers rookie cornerback Antoine Cason stripped the ball loose and Shaun Phillips recovered to set up Jackson’s score.

    Just prior to Cason’s timely play, the Chargers pulled within three points when Rivers capped a perfect 5-for-5 drive with a 24-yard toss between two defenders to Antonio Gates to narrow the margin to 19-16.

    The loss overshadowed impressive days from several of the Chargers’ key offensive weapons. Rivers completed 17-of-27 passes for 217 yards and three touchdowns. He was sacked just once despite facing heavy pressure throughout the day.

    “Philip was under pressure early,” Turner said. “I thought he handled it extremely well. He’s moving awfully well. He’s moving around and he has a knack for finding guys when he’s on the move. He made a great play on the scramble to Gates down the boundary. He’s such a great competitor.”

    Running back LaDainian Tomlinson narrowly missed his fifth 100-yard rushing performance on opening day as he carried 21 times for 97 yards. Gates led the Chargers with four catches for 61 yards and a touchdown.

    Delhomme, who is coming off reconstructive elbow surgery this offseason, passed for 247 yards and a touchdown while completing 23 of 41 throws. Carolina rushed for 142 yards as a team, led by DeAngelo Williams’ 86 yards. Turner was particularly impressed with the performance of Delhomme, who marched his team 68 yards in 11 plays on the game-winning drive.

    “One of the things I talked about all week is when you have an experienced quarterback, he’s going to handle situations well and I thought they did a good job on third down,” Turner said. “Obviously they did a good job on the two-minute drive. We gave them multiple looks. We blitzed them. We played man, played zone. It came down to with two seconds they made a play.”

    Last season, the Chargers didn’t allow a first-quarter score in any of their eight home games, and they kept that streak alive Sunday. Carolina drove deep inside Bolts territory on their second drive of the game, but after Antoine Cason tackled Muhsin Muhammad just short of the goal line, the Panthers opted to go for six on fourth down. Jake Delhomme’s short throw fell incomplete, and the Chargers held.

    Carolina was able to get on the board first when John Kasay hit a 44-yard field goal early in the second quarter but the 3-0 lead didn’t last long. Philip Rivers answered with a 44-yard touchdown strike to Chris Chambers on San Diego’s ensuing drive to put the Bolts up 7-3.

    The Panthers made two more trips to the red zone in the first half but were only able to come away with field goals as the Chargers held strong. Kasay’s two chip shots, one from 33 yards and one from 30 yards, allowed Carolina to take a 9-7 lead into the locker room.

    The Chargers regained the lead midway through the third quarter when a roll of the dice paid off. Turner opted to leave his offense on the field on 4th-and-1 rather than attempt a 52-yard field goal, and LaDainian Tomlinson’s nine-yard gain moved the chains. That gave Nate Kaeding a much shorter try, and his 27-yard kick gave the Chargers a 10-9 advantage.

    Carolina got the first big break of the game late in the third quarter when what started out as a big play for the Chargers turned into misfortune. On 3rd-and-5 from the Bolts’ 24-yard line, Rivers connected with Antonio Gates for an apparent first down.

    But as Gates was going down, Panthers safety Chris Harris stripped the ball from him and Chris Gamble returned the loose ball 31 yards for a touchdown. Gamble’s timely play gave Carolina a 16-10 lead.

    Kasay’s fourth field goal of the day, a 49-yard boot, pushed the lead to 19-10 early in the fourth quarter, but the Chargers answered with touchdowns on back-to-back touchdowns to make it a game.

    Sunday was just the Chargers’ second home loss in their last 17 games played at Qualcomm Stadium. While the manner of defeat was a bit disheartening, players left the locker room with their heads held high and turned toward next week’s AFC West contest at Denver.

    “We played hard against a good team and didn’t get it done,” Rivers said. “We’ve got 15 more (games).”

  2. Aggieman

    Aggieman I bleed blue and gold

    Aug 14, 2008
    This deserves a photo...sorry

    Weddle's thoughts: "Aw ****!"

    Attached Files:

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