Playing Both Sides of the Fence

The San Diego Chargers went into the Dawg Pound on Sunday and came away with a 26-20 victory. Behind LaDainian Tomlinson the Bolts plowed their way to victory. Meanwhile, the Browns need to look in the mirror and reassess their game and quarterback choice. The story from both sides:

San Diego Chargers

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.

Cleveland Browns

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 (let's 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.

-Lane Adkins

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