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Chargers ignore Tomlinson at end and collect opening defeat

Discussion in 'American Football' started by LT teh ghost, Sep 11, 2005.

  1. LT teh ghost

    LT teh ghost Well-Known Member

    Aug 18, 2005

    SAN DIEGO ---- Got Gates? Nope. Chargers Pro Bowl tight end Antonio Gates still was serving a suspension for signing his contract one day late.

    Got Tomlinson? Not really. LaDainian Tomlinson, the NFL's most dangerous running back, inexplicably didn't touch the ball in the final 47 seconds with the Chargers trailing by four and perched at the Dallas 7-yard line.

    Got victory? Sorry, Charlie.

    Instead it was the Big Tuna, Bill Parcells, who coached his team to a triumph Sunday afternoon as the Dallas Cowboys turned back the Chargers 28-24 before 67,679 stunned fans at Qualcomm Stadium.

    "I don't think Marty and I can take too many like that coming down to the last minute,'' Parcells said, referring to his counterpart, Chargers' coach Marty Schottenheimer. "The game could have gone either way, obviously.''

    Just as obvious is the second-guessing that started soon after the downcast Chargers' zombielike walk off the field.

    Here's the skinny, and there's plenty of fat to chew on in figuring how the Chargers lost their season opener, at home no less:

    With 90 seconds remaining, Chargers quarterback Drew Brees heaved a fourth-down desperation pass which somehow Eric Parker picked from the air for 33 yards and a first down on the Cowboys' 7. With the place rocking, the Chargers then rolled the dice by not using Tomlinson on four plays.

    Snake eyes.

    Four unsuccessful passes later, the Chargers were lassoed with a stinging defeat. The final throw found Dallas' Aaron Glenn instead of Parker, and the Cowboys ran out the clock.

    "They were bringing blitzes right up the middle and containing,'' Schottenheimer said, explaining why Tomlinson didn't carry the ball. "They were bringing six or seven people and there was not any space to run the ball. The opportunity to win the game was there, throwing the ball.''

    The question was thrown to Tomlinson: Why wasn't he used over the last four plays?

    "I can't answer that question,'' said Tomlinson, who rushed for 72 yards and touchdown on 19 carries, and didn't have a single reception. "It's not for me to answer. I don't call the plays. Nothing surprises me, nothing at all.''

    Tomlinson wasn't shocked in how the defense attacked the Chargers, minus Gates. The tight end's absence was especially glaring when the Chargers stalled twice in the red zone in the final two quarters.

    "I don't think there is any question,'' Tomlinson said of the Cowboys ignoring the receivers. "They brought the blitz like there was no regard for our passing game and us getting wide open. I think Antonio would have definitely helped us out.''

    Instead, the Cowboys, only 6-10 a year ago, helped themselves to a road win.

    And with a killer road schedule kicking off in Denver next Sunday, the loss was even more painful for the Chargers.

    "We know that to be able to get where we want to go, we have to be able to win our games at home,'' Schottenheimer said.

    They aren't likely to win many games when allowing teams to convert 64 percent of their third-down tries, which is what happened against Dallas (7-of-11). What made that statistic stick in the Chargers' throat were the three penalties that arrived on third down, each giving the Cowboys a fresh set of downs.

    "It's a killer,'' linebacker Ben Leber said. "It's what winning teams don't do.''

    The Cowboys took their first lead of the second half when Drew Bledsoe (18-of-24, 226 yards, three touchdowns) hit Keyshawn Johnson on a 2-yard fade for a 28-24 edge.

    "He made a perfect pass, and (Johnson) made a great play on the ball,'' said Sammy Davis, who was covering Johnson. "He threw it to a spot where only the receiver could get it. I had a feeling they were going to go to my side, with me singled-up with Keyshawn.''

    The winning drive was kept alive when Quentin Jammer was called for defensive holding on third down, giving Dallas an automatic first down.

    The Cowboys' possession started at the Chargers' 44, after Mike Scifres produced an 18-yard punt.

    "It was all my fault,'' said Scifres, who couldn't recall a similar shank. "I just know the bottom line is we had a chance to win with a decent punt.''

    Things looked promising early on.

    The Chargers cashed their first takeaway of the season when Bledsoe fumbled an opening-quarter snap, recovered by Leber at the Chargers' 33. Tomlinson rammed it from 2 yards, following a great block by right guard Mike Goff.

    But the Cowboys tied it early in the second quarter when Bledsoe found Patrick Crayton for a 20-yard touchdown.

    Next it was the Chargers getting sloppy with the ball.

    Brees, who had but seven interceptions in 15 regular-season games last year, threw his first of two Sunday when Anthony Henry grabbed a pass headed for Reche Caldwell.

    Bledsoe then threw his second scoring pass, this one to Johnson from 13 yards out for a 14-7 edge.

    With about two minutes left in the half, the Chargers tied it on Keenan McCardell's first of two touchdown receptions, this one from 20 yards out.

    McCardell struck again in the opening series of the third quarter. On a third-and-9 at the Dallas 17, Brees stepped up from the pocket and threw a 17-yard floater to McCardell and the Chargers surged ahead again.

    On the next series, Dallas' Julius Jones, who rushed for 93 yards, ran over from the 5 to tie it 21- 21. Nate Kaeding's 33-yard field goal gave the Chargers their final cushion, 24-21 heading into the fourth quarter.

    Now the Chargers head to Denver looking up at the Chiefs in the AFC West standings.

    "Right now is no time to get in a mood and start hanging our heads,'' linebacker Steve Foley said. "We have a lot of ball left.''
  2. SDRay

    SDRay RIP SD Chargers..F the LA Chargers, Go Irish Staff Member Administrator Podcaster

    Jun 20, 2005
    The game should have never came down to that last drive. Our 3rd down defense was pathetic. 7 of 11 on 3rd down for Dallas! A team that came in with so many question marks on both sides of the ball?

    I do agree that we should have tried to rn at the 7 yard line. Or maybe setup a TE or HB screen since they were blitzing 7 at a time. But we couldn;t get it done. Brees on TV took all the blame. But Brees was a gamer. So was McCardell and Parker. We had too many penalties and that punt by Scifers really sucked.

    We missed Gates down the stetch, but he's bac k this week. and I know that we will play much better against Denver. :good:
  3. LT teh ghost

    LT teh ghost Well-Known Member

    Aug 18, 2005

    You guys should kill denver.....we sure did
  4. y2craig

    y2craig BoltTalker

    Aug 17, 2005
    I caught the final 4 plays. Did the Chargers have any time outs? If at least 1 then I would have tried to put a running play in there--- no huddle afterwards if not. So close and by the sounds of it, a lot of shootings in the feet. A lousy way to play the game and makes it tougher to win.

    A real shame as I was pulling for the Chargers. Better fortune next week.

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