NCTimes: 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: A- Drew Brees throws for a season-high 324 yards and three touchdowns ---- there was an interception, but we'll give him a, well, pass. LaDainian Tomlinson continues to find his scoring target as he adds another touchdown toss to his resume. Brees had 233 at the half and was grousing later he should have gone for "four bills." He was on the money enough to lead the Chargers to a victory.

Running backs: C

Tomlinson rebounded with 69 rushing yards on 17 carries. But he had only eight carries through the first three quarters. That shows the Chargers were reluctant to overload a patched-up front line ---- and they were content to ride Brees' hot hand.

Wide receivers: B

Four touchdown catches here equals what the Chargers had in their previous three games. Antonio Gates was sensational, as the Chiefs didn't have an answer for the game's best tight end ---- yes, that includes Tony Gonzalez. Eric Parker was on the other end of Tomlinson's scoring pass. Don't overlook Keenan McCardell's 73 yards on five catches. The Chargers coaches aren't overlooking Reche Caldwell's second fumble in as many catches.

Offensive line: B

This bunch, surprisingly, didn't wear name tags. When LT Roman Oben went down in the second quarter and was replaced by Leander Jordan, that made three linemen playing who weren't in the opening day lineup. Despite that, Brees wasn't sacked and had time to do his thing; the run blocking was decent.

Defensive line: A

Jamal Williams was a beast inside and Luis Castillo is turning into one next to him. Castillo picked up his first NFL sack and had five tackles. Jacques Cesaire added six tackles ---- good showing overall. Once again, an opponent is held under 100 yards rushing.

Linebackers: A

Shawne Merriman didn't quite live up to his nickname, "Lights Out," but there's a phone ringing in Priest Holmes' noggin somewhere in K.C. today. Merriman had two sacks and was flying around like a first-round pick is supposed to. Donnie Edwards, playing on a tender knee, added 11 tackles. Stephen Cooper had eight tackles and half a sack.

Secondary: C

This bunch is hit for 347 yards and two touchdowns, without a pick. Sammy Davis tied Edwards with a game-high 11 tackles. This statistic is baffling: The secondary had but one pass defensed in the entire game. It came from Clinton Hart, who did OK filling in for an injured Terrence Kiel.

Special teams: B-

Coverage teams allowed one big Dante Hall return of 53 yards ---- after what he did to them last year, that's a big improvement. Darren Sproles has a kickoff return of 31 yards, but he resembles Ryan Klesko in left field while trying to catch a punt. Nate Kaeding's back isn't right, which is why Mike Scifres added kickoffs to his punting duties.

Coaching: A

Marty Schottenheimer had his players buying into a new season starting on Sunday. That helped erase the hangover from the Philadelphia loss and got their mind right at the right time. Gates was the focal point of the offense, and the Chargers weren't shy about feeding him. The defense had some anxious moments down the stretch, but stiffened in the red zone. D-coordinator Wade Phillips didn't shy from turning his kids ---- Merriman, Castillo and Shaun Phillips ---- loose on blitzes.