Chargers Week Ten Report Card

Eye popping – wins are few and far between these days in San Diego. The Chargers played a thorough game on offense and were willing to give up plays on defense. Fans actually watched the game with a smile on their face from start to finish. The nail biting was even kept to a minimum. <br><br> The grades of the week and injury notes:

QUARTERBACKS:

Doug Flutie was everything that Marcellus Wiley envisioned. He spread the ball around and made sure everyone was involved in the gameplan from the start of the game to the end. His nimble feet found some running lanes allowing him to score two touchdowns rushing and he was on in his throws, nary missing a one.

Grade: A

RUNNING BACKS:

LaDainian Tomlinson was almost an afterthought. He touched the ball once on the opening scoring drive of the game for the Chargers. He only needed one touch to score on the second drive of the game, taking it 73 yards for the score. Two runs over 50 yards and over 200 yards from scrimmage are always solid in a win or loss.

Grade: A

WIDE RECEIVERS:

Last week we explained receivers were open, but Drew Brees could not get them the ball. This week proved that. Flutie delivered the ball to each of them, including one or two to Kassim Osgood. Osgood was solid in blocking even if he had no receptions. David Boston was once again a force and he was diligent in the blocking game, springing Tomlinson on one long run. Tim Dwight was actually seen in the passing game.

Grade: A

TIGHT ENDS:

Antonio Gates is just beginning to show his potential. He is starting and could be a force in the coming years. Three receptions and a TD are a nice start. Gates and Justin Peelle continue to throw blocks and do it soundly. Peelle still needs to step up in the passing game.

Grade: B

OFFENSIVE LINE:

They were not dominant in run blocking. Kelvin Garmon was the most consistent blocker again this week. His progress has been remarkable from a year ago and he was the lead blocker on both long Tomlinson runs. Damion McIntosh committed another penalty this week to lead the team in that dubious category. Courtney VanBuren was flagged twice on one play. Luckily neither caused harm. Van Buren was not as good as a week ago when he flashed a good push in the run game. Cory Raymer had a terrible game in pass protection. He was beat a number of times and if not for Flutie, the situation could have been dire. One fumbled snap went for a touchdown.

Grade: C

DEFENSIVE LINE:

DeQuincy Scott will continue to get more looks as he consistently brings pressure and hustles on every play. He had one sack and missed getting credit on the Ray Lee Johnson sack by mere inches. Johnson and Adrian Dingle were not solid in run defense on the left side and the middle was soft against the run as well. Jamal Williams was active, but Wiley continues to show nothing.

Grade: C-

LINEBACKERS:

Ben Leber showed flashes of big play ability. Zeke Moreno recovered a fumble by being consistent in his pursuit of the play and Donnie Edwards had a silent game. The unit was weak in pass coverage as 18 receptions were hauled in by the Vikings backs. Part of it was the system the Chargers employed and part was spying Culpepper and losing the ability to cheat a few yards towards the backs. The containment on the outside as a whole seemed to regress.

Grade: D

SECONDARY:

Keeping Randy Moss to eleven receptions is not good. Allowing his longest to go for 23 yards, very good. By design the group kept the play in front of them. Drayton Florence was solid in an expanded role and Sammy Davis was not truly tested. Several times they were in coverage for five seconds or more, a tribute to them. Quentin Jammer was beat twice for touchdowns. Jerry Wilson forced a fumble, but was also the over the top coverage help on Jammer's side. Terrence Kiel had a key pick, but his tackling was shoddier than in the past.

Grade: C-

SPECIAL TEAMS:

Leon Johnson has been a blessing. He is not tearing it up, but has consistently provided better field position on kickoffs than his predecessors. Tim Dwight has flashed nothing this year in the return game. Darren Bennett had three punts, all solid. The kickoff coverage was solid, save one 42 yard return, but more a product of the Vikings not being able to field a kickoff cleanly. Steve Christie's longest kickoff landed at the 10 yard line and he had six attempts.

Grade: D

COACHING: The best call was Flutie. The playcalling magically opened up and the team was rewarded. The defense yielded yards, but knew they would come up with a big play if the offense kept the pressure on. Overall the team was well prepared to score a lot and give up a lot, something they had planned for.

Grade: A

Injury report:

Coach Schottenheimer on the injuries:

"We are expecting (Stephan Alexander) will be back in.

"Ray Lee is the most significant. He is doubtful at this point this week.

"Raymer, I think he has a chance to go.

"We have a chance to get Ball back this week, which would be helpful."

Notes:

What was wrong with Moss?

I stood befuddled when Randy Moss stood at the line of scrimmage and didn't run a route or touch a soul in the blocking game. On the most crucial play for Minnesota, and the one that preserved the win for the San Diego Chargers when Terrence Kiel intercepted the ball, Moss just stood there at the line of scrimmage – an attack dog that just had his codeword spoken rendering him useless.

Randy Moss came back to the Vikings' sideline in the fourth quarter dazed from an apparent concussion.

"He came over all (goofy-faced) and said, ‘You're ugly when there's just one of you, but you're really ugly when there's two of you,'" Coach Mike Tice said. "He was out of it."

On the Vikings' last meaningful play in their 42-28 loss to San Diego, Moss was lined up on the left side in the slot. He never moved to go into his route as two Charger defenders waited to cover him. Daunte Culpepper was intercepted by Kiel in the end zone on a pass intended for D'Wayne Bates with 2:40 to go.

"He was doing what we told him to do on that play," Tice said. "The effort was fine to me. I didn't see anything wrong."

Denis Savage can be reached at safage@cox.net

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