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The Lions are coming to San Diego

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Johnny Lightning, Dec 12, 2007.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

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    Chargers' next opponent:

    Detroit Lions (6-7) – 1:15 p.m. Sunday at Qualcomm Stadium

    The Lions gave it quite an effort Sunday against Dallas, taking a 13-point lead in the second half, only to lose on a touchdown pass with 18 seconds remaining. That extended their losing streak to five games – marking the third time in four weeks the Chargers have played a team with a losing streak of at least four games – and raised the question of how deflated the Lions will be this week. They are one of four teams tied at 6-7, one game behind Minnesota, in the race for the second wild-card berth in the NFC.
    Defense has been the biggest problem for Detroit, which ranks 31st in the league in total yards and passing yards allowed and 30th in points yielded. Four of the five teams to beat Detroit during its current losing streak scored at least 28 points.
    Detroit's offense ranks 16th in yards and 13th in points, although two of the past four opponents held the Lions to 10 points. Detroit is 30th in rushing, but Kevin Jones and T.J. Duckett combined for 152 yards last week against a Cowboys defense similar in design to San Diego's.
    - JAY POSNER

    THREE PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Jon Kitna – This will be the best QB the Chargers have seen since the last time they lost a game (Jacksonville). Kitna has thrown for 15 touchdowns and more than 3,400 yards this season, and Detroit might try to spread the field on the Chargers the way some teams did early this season. Note, however, that Kitna has suffered a league-high 49 sacks.

    Calvin Johnson – The second pick in this year's draft hasn't exactly been everything he was supposed to be just yet. He has just 37 catches in 12 games, although he is averaging nearly 15 yards on those receptions. He should get more looks now that Roy Williams (63 catches) is sidelined.
    Ernie Sims – In only his second season out of Florida State, the weakside linebacker again leads the Lions in tackles and ranks among the league leaders. The problem for Detroit is that Sims doesn't get a whole lot of help, particularly from the defensive line, which has been disappointing.

    FAMILIAR FACES

    Offensive coordinator Mike Martz grew up in San Diego and graduated from Madison High. He played two seasons at Mesa College and later coached there (1974, 1976-77). Special teams coordinator Stan Kwan graduated from San Diego State, where he played baseball for three seasons, and he worked for the Chargers' coaching staff from 1991-96. Shawn Jefferson, the assistant wide receivers coach, played five seasons (1991-95) for the Chargers. Scout Lance Newmark grew up in La Mesa and played at Mesa College and USD.


    INJURY REPORT

    Receiver Roy Williams (knee) is out. The status of strong safety Kenoy Kennedy (hamstring) is uncertain, but he appears questionable at best. Reports from Detroit said injuries to punt returner Troy Walters (concussion) and tight end Casey FitzSimmons (leg bruise) did not appear serious.


    LAST MEETING

    With LaDainian Tomlinson setting a career high of 148 receiving yards, the Chargers beat Detroit 14-7 on Dec. 7, 2003, at Ford Field. Tomlinson caught two TD passes from Doug Flutie and rushed for 88 yards to give San Diego just its third win of what would become a 4-12 season. Joey Harrington, who began the day with the league's lowest passer rating, was Detroit's quarterback.


    SERIES HISTORY

    The Lions have visited San Diego less frequently than any other team since 1984, and they've never won here, losing in 1981, 1984 and 1996. The teams have played twice in the past decade in Detroit, with San Diego winning in 1999 and 2003 to extend its winning streak over the Lions to five and its overall series advantage to 5-3. Detroit last beat the Chargers in 1978.


    DID YOU KNOW?

    Jon Kitna hasn't faced any team more than he has faced the Chargers. In seven games vs. San Diego he has completed 58 percent of his passes for 1,235 yards with 12 touchdowns, nine interceptions and a 76.2 rating. His team won four of the seven games, including the last appearance in 2003 when Kitna, playing for Cincinnati, passed for 243 yards and four TDs.


    DID YOU HEAR?

    “You've got to be consistent each and every week. We've not been. We thought we started off the season very consistent, playing really smart and all those things. Then we self-destructed. The opponents have been good, but we've self-destructed all the way through these five games. It's been us more than the opponent.” – Lions coach Rod Marinelli


    KEY STAT

    This game matches the two NFL teams most adept at creating turnovers this season. San Diego has 35 takeaways, including a league-high 22 interceptions; Detroit has 33, including a league-high 17 fumble recoveries. But, while the Chargers rank 20th with 22 giveaways, Detroit has committed 27.

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