Chargers Report Card

The San Diego Chargers came out of this Sunday's game with the Cleveland Browns in the win column for the first time this year, A 26-20 victory in an unfriendly stadium and now they will prepare to face the Miami Dolphins at home on Monday night. Before we move on, the grades are in:

Quarterbacks:

Drew Brees was dreadful. He overthrew receivers, and underthrew others. Heck Darren Bennett threw one ball away and had a higher QB rating. 74 yards passing on the day and 13 of those can be taken away on a sack. Sure some receivers missed balls, but Brees made his share of mistakes. Brees missed an open David Boston in the end zone and the team had to settle for a field goal. Luckily, the Chargers have a running back.

Grade: F

Running Backs:

LaDainian Tomlinson rushed for 200 yards on 26 carries with a long of 70. He used cutback lanes and saw the field through his tinted visor better than cameras covering the game. His play won the Chargers this game. Take away the 70 yard run and his average per carry was still 5.2.

Lorenzo Neal was out hunting again. One noticeable trait of his is: he does not go down when he blocks someone. He hits them hard and stays on his feet looking for another block to give. His shifty running inside was a nice changeup.

Grade: A

Offensive Line:

Riddled with injuries they faced a tough Browns front four. The holes for Tomlinson were evident and the pass protection solid. Cory Raymer stepped in nicely for Jason Ball. Consecutive penalties on one drive thwarted a drive deep in Cleveland territory and the Bolts came away with no points.

Grade: B

Tight Ends:

Josh Norman proved he is not over his pass catching problems. He more than made up for a game this year when he had no drops. His tip led to an interception and he dropped balls that were more than catchable. Antonio Gates was little used in his homecoming. Justin Peelle had several nice blocks.

Grade: D

Defensive Line:

DeQuincy Scott had the game of his career. He was all over the place. Wiley was active in run support and the line provided nice pressure to throw off the rhythm of Tim Couch. The overall run support was decent, not great. Offsides calls were this units Achilles Heel as Couch played the hard count to perfection. One such call on Adrian Dingle wiped out a William Green fumble, which was recovered by Quentin Jammer.

Grade: B-

Linebackers:

Donnie Edwards came through with a solid game. Tired of losing he was the anchor and emotion of the defense. He batted down a pass at the line and deflected another. Ben Leber made some nice open field tackles and stepped up his play comparative to the rest of his season. Zeke Moreno was not evident on the field.

Grade: C

Secondary:

One glaring missed tackle aside; Terrence Kiel proved he is ready for full time duty in the secondary. He intercepted one pass and was solid overall in run support. Kwamie Lassiter had his best game as a Charger. He intercepted a pass and returned it for a touchdown, deflected a pass and forced a fumble. It was the first time his name was regularly called. Sammy Davis had a pass interference call against him that was the biggest play for Cleveland on the day, 28 yards. He was otherwise on the ball in the secondary with three passes defensed and really got beat just once by Kevin Johnson. Quentin Jammer was a blanket in the secondary and was rarely thrown against. The unit is getting better and Kiel may end up being the anchor.

Grade: B+

Special Teams:

Special ed is more like it. Carlos Polk needs to have his head examined. His consecutive penalties on two separate fourth down plays should get him kicked off the team. For a guy who is captain of special teams, he sure played dumb. David Binn fired the first bad snap in memory on a field goal attempt and Darren Bennett was unable to snare it and get it down. After Bennett's first punt, he simply stunk. It may have something to do with an injury to his ankle. Steve Christie hit a 50 yard field goal and was 4-5 on the day, four attempts coming from outside of 40 yards! Most of his kickoffs were terrible, as per his usual and none offer any hint of consistency. Kevin House not knowing where he was on the field when he had ample time to assess the situation – well – I think you know. Eric Parker is a stud return man.

Grade: D

Coaching:

Marty Schottenheimer not knowing anything about Kelly Holcomb is inexcusable. Cam Cameron went with what was working and called on Tomlinson often. Not calling Tomlinson's name with the game on the line boggled the mind. Dale Lindsey was on in his playcalling for once and provided the team with chances to make plays. Blitzes were actually used and effective. Steve Crosby should be banned from the stadium. He obviously has taught these guys less than nothing.

Grade: D

Denis Savage can be reached at safage@cox.net

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