No Illusions

Everyone knows that San Diego Chargers quarterback Doug Flutie is not the future of the franchise. Yet, in the quarter he played, amounting to two series of real ball and one series of all throws behind two touchdowns with :20 seconds to go, he brought more excitement to the Bolts than Drew Brees had in the previous three quarters.

"Going into this game, if indeed we struggled, (we thought) that it would be appropriate that we did it now," said Head Coach Marty Schottenheimer.

Several differences were noticeable. First, the Chargers seemed to open up the offense after the change. With Doug Flutie in, the Chargers passed seven of eight times on first down, although one ended up being a Flutie run. With Drew Brees, just three of ten were throws.

Flutie completed more passes and passed for more yards in his one quarter than Brees did all day.

Flutie was 8-of-11 for 70 yards. He also rushed for 19 yards, including a 17-yard scamper that was San Diego's and the games longest rush of the day.

Drew Brees was 7-15 for 49 yards and his longest reception went 10 yards.

Brees had open receivers on the day. He was responsible for Reche Caldwell getting cold-clocked when he led him too far, despite having him open for a good five seconds or more. Caldwell never returned to the game, suffering a concussion.

He was also responsible for missing David Boston twice. Once he overthrew him on the sidelines and another time he had him on a deep post route and passed it five yards inside of him, which resulted in an interception by Charles Tillman.

Brees also missed Dwight on a pass that could have meant a first down had he put it in his chest. Brees hit just three receivers on the day and Flutie hit six in the quarter he was in. Rarely was he on the mark.

"A decision was made to see if we could get a spark," said Schottenheimer.

Flutie provided that. He led the team to their only points of the game.

There are no illusions about Flutie. He is 41 years old. What was apparent – he still has gas left in the tank and represents the best chance for the Chargers to win now. At 1-7, that no longer matters. They waited four weeks too long to make this move. The rest of the season must be dedicated to Brees to see if he is the future of this franchise. It is in doubt right now.

Denis Savage can be reached at safage@cox.net

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