NC Times: Chargers Report Card

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#GoIrish #Aztecs #SDGulls #Raiders #THFC #RipCity
Staff member
Jun 20, 2005
Chula Vista, CA
By: JAY PARIS - Staff Writer

QUARTERBACK: C- Drew Brees (15-of-23 for 175 yards with one interception) knows the color of the Denver sky. He was on his back that much. Brees was pestered most of the afternoon, trying to keep his teeth looking into the teeth of numerous blitzes which produced four sacks. Still, the INT that Champ Bailey returned for a score was all his. On his fumble, he has to get the ball out more quickly.


The Chargers’ backfield looked like a Manhattan subway at rush hour: crowded. LaDainian Tomlinson scored two touchdowns but again touched the ball only 19 times —- all rushes. Tomlinson had only 12 yards on his last 11 carries, and all but three of his attempts went for 4 yards or less. Seven of his final eight carries were for 2 yards or less.


The stench in the locker room wasn’t from sweaty players. The run blocking here was horrible, and the pass blocking followed suit. Was the departed Hudson Houck really that good of a line coach? The Chargers pinching pennies in not bringing him back might cost them dearly as the season progresses. How these guys can look Brees and Tomlinson in the eyes is a mystery.


No drops, and Keenan McCardell plays a pretty good DB when breaking up an INT. Antonio Gates made his debut, and his tough catches in traffic were a thing of beauty. But not much was delivered downfield as the lack of pass protection had Brees checking down or getting down.


Jake Plummer (23-of-37, 248 yards, one INT) didn’t feel much heat from the line (one sack) and had more time than he needed on many occasions. And the run defense, which rocked here last year, has yet to rise up on a consistent basis. DeQuincy Scott led the unit with three tackles and a sack. Luis Castillo did OK in his first NFL start.


Again, it’s hard to blame them too much when asked to work overtime as the offense kept doing its dance routine: one, two, three, kick. Donnie Edwards had a team-high eight tackles, and he forced the key fumble by Mike Anderson at the goal line. Steve Foley added a sack; Ben Leber and Randall Godfrey combined for 10 tackles.


Nice sack by Terrence Kiel on the safety blitz and Bhawoh Jue snagged an INT on a ball that ricocheted off Scott’s helmet at the line of scrimmage. It’s not an NFL Sunday without Quentin Jammer committing a pass interference; he didn’t disappoint. Most of those 248 yards Plummer collected were at the expense of the secondary playing too loose.


Mike Scifres averaged but 35 yards a punt, and is still missing the reliable boots which nearly landed him in the Pro Bowl last season. Nate Kaeding was true on his 42-yard attempt. Darren Sproles wasn’t as effective in returns as last week. And the punt coverage got saved by a bonehead Broncos penalty, otherwise it was torched for a 61-yard touchdown.


For whatever reason, the Chargers can’t block. Is it the players or the coaching? Or both? And how do the Chargers arrive at an offensive game plan that pencils out to Tomlinson getting 19 rushes for the second week in a row — and even more fatal —- no catches for second straight Sundays. And can’t they figure out a way to get L.T. the ball in space so he can do his thing? A waste of talent, again.
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