Offense: On the decline; Offensive line, quarterback,
coaching imagination questioned.
Defense: Stuck in neutral; Stopped the pass, but physically beaten on the line of scrimmage.
Again, the Browns struggled against a team that threw a cover-two and other zone defensive schemes at them. Cleveland is an inconsistent team that does not adjust well during the game.
Playing at home against a team that has not won a game should be a win, regardless of the situation. Banged-up along the offensive line, the Browns were unable to protect quarterback Tim Couch (lets note here that Couch was holding the ball too long) and the running game took a nose-dive when William Green was injured on the first play of the game and was in and out of the lineup the remainder of the game. Dropped passes, a lack of ability or confidence in pass-protection, and an effective zone defensive scheme kept the Browns from attacking a suspect San Diego team downfield. A Cleveland defense that has played well (exception being against the Ravens) could not stop the rushing attack led by LaDainian Tomlinson and a physical San Diego offensive line. Over-pursuit by an overly aggressive defense gave Tomlinson cutback runs the entire game, as the team again was suspect in tackling.
Offense: Stuck in neutral; Tomlinson and the offensive
line must be commended.
Defense: On the rise; Defensive scheme and taking advantage of opportunities were effective.
This Chargers team is not as bad as their 1-5 record would indicate. A switch to the zone defense may help a young secondary overcome the pressure placed upon them when having to body-up receivers in man coverage.
Adversity staring them in the face, the Chargers bolted into Cleveland and imposed their will upon the Browns in a 26-20 victory. The story of the game was the ability of the Chargers to generate consistent pressure on Cleveland starting quarterback Tim Couch, rushing the veteran into two interceptions, one returned for a touchdown. San Diego's offensive line man-handled the Browns when it mattered most, late in the game, keeping the ball away from a Cleveland offense that made a comeback after Kelly Holcomb replaced Couch at quarterback. As expected, running back LaDainian Tomlinson was 'the man' rushing for 200-yards and was a factor in the passing game as well. A much-maligned San Diego defensive backfield backed away from the man-to-man defensive they had been playing and went with a zone defensive scheme that was effective.