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The San Diego recipe

Discussion in 'San Diego Chargers Hall of Champions' started by robdog, Nov 28, 2006.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 29, 2009
    Source: <a target="_blank" href="http://www.realfootball365.com/nfl/articles/2006/11/sandiego-chargers-recipe281106.html">RealFootball365.com</a>

    <img width="303" height="181" alt="LaDainian Tomlinson scores a second-quarter touchdown as he drags Robert Thomas of the Raiders." title="LaDainian Tomlinson scores a second-quarter touchdown as he drags Robert Thomas of the Raiders." src="http://photos.signonsandiego.com/gallery1.5/albums/061126raiders/KC_Raiders260211x1332c.jpg" />

    By Robert Rousseau

    On Sunday, the San Diego Chargers looked all too human in beating the 2-9 Oakland Raiders , 21-14. Many will call it a mere letdown; after all, the Raiders' performance this season certainly doesn't warrant a playoff atmosphere.

    Still, perhaps the problem was more than just a letdown. Maybe Oakland's coaching staff was on to something.

    Up until the fourth quarter, Oakland's defense was literally dominating the game. Why? Simply because the team's defenders were blanketing San Diego's receivers. Of course, anyone could tell you that covering wide receivers will serve to limit a passing game. However, the Raiders did this, for the most part, with man coverage.

    Perhaps that's the first reason for their early-game success. Teams need to play the Chargers' receivers man-to-man. Why?

    So that they can load the box. The Raiders did this by playing a four-four defense of sorts. Not just to limit LaDainian Tomlinson's rushing, mind you. In actuality, those eight men were given the chore of limiting both his rushing and touches in the passing game (not to mention dealing with Antonio Gates over the middle).

    How well did it work? Consider this three-play situation from the third quarter.

    On first-and-10 with four minutes, 30 seconds left in the quarter, a Philip Rivers pass to Malcolm Floyd was broken up by Fabian Washington and nearly intercepted.

    On the next play, Rivers tried to complete a short sideline route to Tomlinson; but Thomas Howard's coverage was good enough to thwart the effort.

    Next, Rivers tried to connect with Floyd again only to have the ball broken up by Stuart Schweigert rather forcefully.

    In fact, entering the game, an offense that was third in the NFL in third-down success was only one out of seven to that point in the game. Further, Rivers only completed 14-of-31 passes for 133 yards and one interception in this contest, a far cry from his 338-yard, three-touchdown effort against the Bengals only two weeks ago.

    Yes, Tomlinson and the team came through late (as they always seem to). When healthy, the Chargers look as good as anybody on both sides of the ball. But the Oakland Raiders may have stumbled upon something that the rest of the league could benefit from.

    In order to limit this Chargers offense, teams may have to go old school and play a four-four defense (or something similar to it). This could help to limit Tomlinson's touches in the passing department (which seems paramount) as well as his rushing yards. Even if that plan only holds L.T. down for three quarters, it's certainly better than the alternative.

    Yes, man coverage is difficult. However, if there is a weakness on the Chargers' offense, it's with the unit's receivers. They don't have a blow-you-open kind of guy there.

    Perhaps a recipe to handle Tomlinson, Rivers and the gang. But only if you have the right set of corners.

    Or it could've just been a letdown. One thing's for sure, though: the way NFL defensive coordinators copy one another, we're likely to find out very soon.

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