PASSING OFFENSE: A -- Philip Rivers had four more touchdown passes Sunday and continues to add to his monster numbers. Doing it with so many backup receivers is truly impressive. Despite missing many regulars, he made standouts of players just getting their NFL feet wet. Rivers was afforded time to do so, with solid pass blocking that allowed only one sack.
RUSHING OFFENSE: C -- There was promise here before Ryan Mathews fumbled, then twisted his ankle again on the following carry. But this was a day to pass the ball - the Texans had the NFL's worst pass defense ranking -- so the running game took a back seat and produced just 77 yards. Mike Tolbert ran hard (eight carries, 32 yards) after Mathews went down. Run blocking, when called upon, was solid.
PASS DEFENSE: D -- Bad tackling on many fronts and bad coverage on just as many other fronts. The Chargers got a break when Andre Johnson deflected a pass to S Paul Oliver in the closing minutes for an interception that sealed the victory. But the Chargers were picked on by the Texans at every turn. To be fair, the lack of a pass rush is putting the defensive backs in a rough spot. Until that gets changed up front, don't expect a change on the back end.
RUSH DEFENSE: B -- The front line and linebackers were getting pushed around and run over by Arian Foster. But it did become a little stouter in the second half, although why the Texans went away from the running game remains a mystery.
SPECIAL TEAMS: F -- Ugh!!!! Another blocked punt, although because it trickled past the line of scrimmage it doesn't go down as the team's fifth blocked punt of the season. And a terrible decision by Jacob Hester to field a kickoff that was heading out of bounds. Darren Sproles showed a spark when reeling off a 54-yard kickoff return -- then it was brought back on an Eric Weddle penalty. How Steve Crosby, the special teams coach, retains his job is among the NFL's unsolved mysteries.
COACHING: A -- Norv Turner showed it's the system, not necessarily the players, making the Chargers so good. Of course the main man, Rivers, was still on the field, which makes all the difference. Still, Turner deserves credit for devising ways to get the unproven players in the right spots at the right times and the result was one of the more unlikely Chargers victories in recent memory. Ron Rivera tried to keep Matt Schaub guessing by sending various blitz packages; none of them really worked. The Chargers gave up nearly 400 yards, and if they can't figure out a way to pester quarterbacks, those big-number games will only continue.
Report Card: Chargers-Texans
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