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Upon further review: Week 13

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Dec 4, 2006.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

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    Source: <a target="_blank" href="http://www.nfl.com/news/story/9847410">NFL.com" </a>

    By Seth Polansky

    <img width="185" height="268" align="left" alt="Buffalo Bills quarterback J. P. Losman, top, is pressured by San Diego Chargers' Randall Godfrey (58) during the first quarter of the NFL football game at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y., Sunday, Dec. 3, 2006. (AP Photo/David Duprey)" title="Buffalo Bills quarterback J. P. Losman, top, is pressured by San Diego Chargers' Randall Godfrey (58) during the first quarter of the NFL football game at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y., Sunday, Dec. 3, 2006. (AP Photo/David Duprey)" src="http://espn-i.starwave.com/media/apphoto/9853a20f-8a5f-4191-b8d9-db42bccd77ea.jpg" />(Dec. 3, 2006) -- Indianapolis may be tied for the best record in the AFC and Baltimore may have a vaunted defense, but let's not look past San Diego as possibly the leading contender for the conference title.

    These Super Chargers are a lot more fun to watch than that 1994 team that advanced to Super Bowl XXIX. The 2006 edition is electric, confident and, well -- super.

    And where the Chargers don't get you on offense or defense, the special teams are up to the task. Kicker Nate Kaeding"  is 18 of 21 on field goals and has made all 42 extra-point attempts. He doesn't get to kick field goals that much because the team keeps scoring touchdowns, and he made his first one in four games against the Bills. Kaeding's leg is strong for field goals despite the fact he only has seven touchbacks on kickoffs.

    And what about the return game? Against the Raiders in Week 12, Antonio Cromartie's 91-yard kickoff return after an Oakland score set the Chargers up for a first down on the 12-yard line. It was the longest return in team history without scoring, but two plays later, who else but LaDainian Tomlinson rumbled in for his 23rd touchdown on the season. That broke the San Diego record for most points scored in a single season, with five games still left on the schedule.

    Two more TDs against Buffalo and the magic number of end-zone visits is up to 26. Just three more for a new record. That's super.

    You wouldn't normally think of San Diego and its defense, but that's what probably might propel the team far into the postseason. The Chargers came together and managed to go 4-0 without the previously suspended Shawne Merriman. Now the scary part is that he's returned to the lineup. Against the Bills, Merriman was second on the team with six tackles, and he added two sacks and two forced fumbles after a month of standing on the sideline.

    With Merriman back, it'll be even tougher to run on this front seven. The Chargers have allowed just four teams to go over 100 yards in a game against them, and one single runner hit the century mark. There may be five teams ahead of San Diego stat-wise in rushing yards allowed per game, but many opponents look at them as No. 1. It was the case last season.

    Even without Merriman and the injured Luis Castillo, the team collected nine sacks in the past three games. The Chargers got three more against J.P. Losman in this one, which brings the season total up to 44, good enough for tops in the National Football League. You can run, but you can't hide from this unit. As Merriman has always known, it's light's out.

    This win in Week 13 against the Bills was opposite of everything the team had done in the past month and a half. This time the Chargers had a big lead and held on in the fourth quarter vs. Losman and Buffalo's rally. From Weeks 9-12, San Diego came from behind in each of those four contests to win. Ahead, behind -- it all means the Bolts are a fourth-quarter team. Martyball has been criticized in the past for being too complacent late and was blamed for the Week 4 loss to Baltimore. But now at 10-2, Martyball means winning. Six victories in a row is no fluke.

    These players have it in their minds that this is their year. Last season's disappointing 9-7 finish was a spark for the 2006 campaign. The roster is just about the same, with one major difference. Philip Rivers has been given his chance to lead the Chargers, and he has done it tremendously. He is mature in his approach to the game and is technically sound. The time he spent on the bench behind Drew Brees was the perfect amount.

    Rivers has drawn comparisons to Dan Marino already, which isn't fair. Let him grow with the system and win some more games. Also, he's still 403 touchdowns short of Marino's NFL record. But these second-half comebacks do remind us of old No. 13.

    These players expect to win every game. The fans expect to see a show every time. We should all expect the Chargers to make some noise deep into January, and maybe February.
     

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