Chargers Post Game

When one unit starts to play better, another falters. The San Diego Chargers defense was solid for most of the game on Sunday against the Ravens, but the offense was stagnant for the second week in a row and the kicking game, both field goals and kickoffs again showed on the scoreboard.

The defense showed a marked improvement, but still has a ways to go in run support. Luckily, Kyle Boller is in his rookie season and not going at full tilt, otherwise it may have truly been ugly.

"We improved today in my opinion in a number of areas," said Marty Schottenheimer. "Defensively, I thought we hung in there really tough throughout the ball game. They got a couple of runs on us, but for the most part I thought we really stood in there very, very well defensively.

"I don't think we were that bad today. I think we played reasonably well with the exception – we weren't able to finish drives offensively. That was an issue. We had ball possession, we moved the ball against an outstanding defensive football team in the first half and we came away with only three points. That is a problem. It is a problem and it has to be corrected.

"And I think offensively, it was a situation where we failed to convert opportunities, particularly down in the scoring zone."

The Chargers made it into Baltimore territory six times on the day. They scored seven points. Each time they made it to at least the 40 yard line, but came away with little results.

"We are not making enough plays as we get closer to the opponents goal line," Schottenheimer said.

"They stopped us from scoring, that is what it is all about," said LaDainian Tomlinson. "I don't care how many yards we had, they stopped us from getting in the end zone."

"They are a good team," Drew Brees said. "But I don't feel like the Ravens defense beat us. We moved the ball up and down the field, but we couldn't stick it in the end zone. We knew coming into the game that they were a good red zone defense team."

The Chargers actually got into the red zone three times. They scored ten points and threw an interception. The Bolts got inside the 35 yard line two other times and chose to punt once from the 34 and missed a field goal from the 32 (50 yard attempt).

The missed field goal turned into a six point swing when Matt Stover connected on his field goal attempt as the first half expired.

When you lose as a quarterback it is not a good day, when you have a couple of interceptions that compromises it, but Drew Brees is a good young quarterback who is going to keep getting better just like the rest of us.

Brees had one of his worst games as a Charger. Oddly enough he connected on 62% of his passes. For the game he went 28-45 for 270 yards.

He overthrew a few passes that could have had big results, was late in delivering an end zone route to David Boston, underthrew a couple, threw three interceptions and looked for the dumpoff to Tomlinson over the middle a bit too often. It cost him once as he tried to feather one in to LT and was tipped before being intercepted. It resulted in seven points for the Ravens.

"They are a good defense, they fly around, they don't miss many tackles," said Brees.

They also don't miss interception opportunities. Three on the day and all came in the second half with the team behind. The Ravens knew the pass was coming, but two appeared to be Brees' fault. The tipped ball at the line and the one in the end zone that went right into the hands of Ed Reed were both costly. The first because it resulted in the aforementioned seven points for Baltimore and the other because the Chargers were sitting second and ten on the Baltimore 17. He tried to force one in and did not see Reed reading his every move.

"Without looking at every single throw, there might be one that I would ask him about, certainly not the one at the end and the other was deflected," said Schottenheimer. "Everybody looks at the quarterback when things don't go well on offense as they well should because he gets all the credit when they succeed."

The one at the end was simply a desperation call.

"We tried a crucial big play and there were two guys there and David went up and tried to get it and it bounced off and a guy intercepted it."

At least they got Boston into the game this week. Tomlinson aside, he was the feature receiver. Boston beat a few double teams and had a few balls been better delivered…

"He had eight catches today and probably another eight that were thrown to him," said Schottenheimer.

It was actually six catches for Boston to the tune of 91 yards. Not bad, but it could have been so much more.

Just as suspect as Brees' accuracy with men open all over the field was the playcalling.

With third and goal from the eleven, the Chargers ran a quarterback draw, falling six yards short of the end zone. Brees said it, they fly to the ball. Brees had no shot at getting into the end zone with at least one defender just ten yards away covering someone in the end zone.

"That was a call that we made," said Schottenheimer. "Our thought was we might be able to spring him through the middle of that. They played eight guys in coverage and end up rushing three in many cases like that. We had hoped when the play was called we would get a hat on everybody in the interior and he would have a chance to get in."

The Chargers are an enigma. Maybe Boston fits this team more than anyone realizes. Just when one area of the team starts playing better, others digress. Fundamentals are preached during the week, but is anyone listening?

Problems areas continue to mount in all phases of the game. One gets covered up and another springs up like a bad case of fleas.

"We are going to overcome that, mark my words," says Schottenheimer.

Chargers fans everywhere hope those words ring true.

Denis Savage can be reached at safage@cox.net

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