Sharing the Blame

Mental mistakes again haunted the San Diego Chargers in a 37-13 thumping this past Sunday against Denver. <br><br> Several players took part of the blame for the effort and played the game of what if…

"That ball in the end zone, if I could have caught that, it would have helped a lot," Tim Dwight told reporters after the game. "Drew put it in a good spot and I just could not come up with the catch."

That play on the opening drive in the third quarter could have put the team well within striking distance at 24-17. Instead the team confidence dipped and the Broncos quickly capitalized to extend their lead. Fault lay everywhere on that drive.

"It is upsetting that I wasn't able to hit Eric Parker on that one, the opening drive of the third quarter," said Drew Brees. "That is a ball I have to throw, hit him in the chest touchdown, everybody is happy. We take three shots at the end zone and we don't score. We are there and we might have the opportunity and we just don't cash in on it. It is just disappointing."

"We ended up on third down; we were one out of ten. It's not good enough," said Marty Schottenheimer. "One of the problems that I see is, we don't have any consistency or continuity to move the ball for a while, then we don't move the ball."

Couple the lack of red zone efficiency, offensive penalties and the makings for a blowout was quite evident. Not that we are counting, but it was 1-11 on third down.

"We are not good enough to overcome penalties like that, down in the Gold Zone, on third down and that sort of thing," Brees said. "The better we get at that, the better position we are going to be in. We will make a couple more third downs and it could be the difference in the ball game."

"We didn't finish, we kicked field goals and we can't do that," LaDainian Tomlinson said.

Besides not scoring, when the team fails to make third downs, and they were at least consistent in their failure, the defense is on the field that much longer.

"We, as an offense, kept our defense out on the field way too long today. Our defense fought hard, but when they are out there for almost 40 minutes, 35 minutes, it is tough on them."

A defense that cannot stop the run Brees forgot to point out. It wasn't that the defense was on the field that much longer, 58 yards runs tend to do that, but for a team defense that needed inspiration from somewhere on offense, it was a nightmare waiting to happen.

"I can play better than I played out there," said Brees. "Everybody in this locker room can play better than they played out there."

There are so many problems with this team; it is hard to know where to begin. Three and outs were a killer when field position came into play. They got beat physically last week in Kansas City and the same can be said this week. There is no emotional, and maybe the team is lacking a true leader to step up and get excited early in the game.

"We need to try and play at a high level emotionally, physically and try to change things around," Tomlinson said. "We're not going to panic. It is a long season and things will get better for us."

When the team gets down by a few touchdowns, it is hard for anyone to raise their heads up in pride at any job well done. Instead the team is left looking at their shoes and studying the lack of dirt on it.

The team had to abandon the run again this week. The Chargers bread and butter, the staple of Mary Ball, gone. Down three receivers, the Chargers really had no chance.

:I felt like we ran the ball effectively when we needed to, but then we get in the third quarter and we are down by almost three touchdowns -- at that point, you had to score and you had to score fast, so we had to throw the ball," Brees added. "We got backed up inside our own ten twice and went three and out. That was tough. I think we threw four out of six plays down there and didn't get a completion."

Whatever spin you have, the problems are still the same as last week. Players missed balls, players missed tackles, penalties cost the team and overall, the team did not execute their assignments very well.

"I knew they had too many men over there to try and stop me from going outside," said Portis. "I knew if I got backside, that it would only be one or two guys back there and I had to make them miss."

In the end it all comes full circle. Stop the run, and the Chargers are in the game. Stop the run and the Bolts can concentrate on developing their own running game. Stop the run…

How many people want to go back to the draft and find that big defensive tackle?

Denis Savage can be reached at

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