Chargers Report Card Week 12

There was some fight in San Diego on Sunday, but the defense of the San Diego Chargers tried their hardest to ensure a loss, a feat they easily accomplished. Whether it was the Cincinnati rush game or passing game, the Bolts had not an answer. Yet, the interrogation continued in earnest in a 34-27 loss, a loss that has officially guaranteed the Bolts will not make the playoffs. They have been eliminated.<br><br> The grades of the week and the injury report:

Quarterbacks:

Doug Flutie had one receiver to throw to, David Boston. He completed just 45% of his passes and was not at the top of his game. Balls were floated out to receivers and several were a second late on the delivery. He did manage to make a few plays, primarily due to Boston.

Grade: D

Running Backs:

LaDainian Tomlinson rushed 95 yards on 16 carries for an average of 5.9 per attempt. He also caught four balls for 49 yards. Behind again early, the LT train could not take over the game and supply the type of sustained drives that take time off the clock. Not his fault, just a fact. Lorenzo Neal dropped an easy catch in the flat, but was solid in his blitz pickups and up front blocking.

Grade: B

Offensive Line:

Damion McIntosh allowed a sack, but other than that they gave Flutie enough time and opened enough holes for Tomlinson to run through. The rookies on the right side had some troubles but their progress is worth noting in pass protection. One problem: not one run went outside the right tackle on the day. Not one. Don't believe it? Review the game tape. To continue to be effective, that cannot happen. Also the middle of the line with Jason Ball returning under center was erratic in the running game. Too often LT had nowhere to roam through the gut. Ball is still the glue of the line as Phil Bogle had his best game as a pro.

Grade: C

Tight Ends:

Antonio Gates was open and Flutie simply missed him early in the fourth quarter. That drive ended a few plays later. Gates continues to do well while the rest of the tight end clan was in hiding. At least San Diego Chargers fans did not have to see any passes thrown to Stephen Alexander.

Grade: D

Defensive Line:

Marcellus Wiley had his first big play of the year – in week 12. He forced a fumble on a sack, which was recovered by Adrian Dingle. That was the only spark they showed. 45 times the Bengals ran the ball and the line was in on just a handful of tackles. One sack by this unit was not nearly enough as John Kitna had all day to throw and took advantage.

Grade: F

Linebackers:

Donnie Edwards came through with some tackles. He was about the only one – again. Zeke Moreno had his most active game, but this unit as a whole did not shoot their gaps well and were out of position in run support. Tasked with stopping two different runners, they were overmatched. The secondary made far too many tackles and Cincy backs carried the linebackers for yards at a clip as they did not wrap up.

Grade: F

Secondary:

Take your pick. These guys were awful. Sammy Davis needs to pick up all the candy he left on the ground at the ten yard line after Chad Johnson put a move on him that left him at the ten still dancing from side to side as if someone was shooting at his toes. Quentin Jammer was beat on two touchdowns in the back of the end zone by ten yards combined and there was only ten yards to work with. Jerry Wilson was so bad at tackling he would have had trouble taking on a Pee Wee League team. Considering the Holiday season is around the corner, Wilson would have trouble getting a job wrapping gifts.

Grade: F

Special Teams:

Coverage units were solid, keeping the dangerous Peter Warrick to just one punt return. Steve Christie kicking off to the Cincy 20, Cincy 23, and Cincy 27 was pathetic. The coverage teams on kickoffs looked great since they only had 30 yards to go to get their tackles in. The return game was nothing extraordinaire.

Grade: D

Coaching:

Marty Schottenheimer kept his guys in the game. They were down 14-0 and 28-13 yet they came back and made it close. Going for it on fourth down and eleven from the 32 was gutsy. Going for it on fourth down and five from the forty at the end of the half with the game close was stupid. Failure to rally the defense by Dale Lindsey should get him canned, but the problem was execution and poor tackling.

Grade: D

Injury Report from the Coach:

"Tim Dwight is still unavailable. He is going to be out. It is possible (he might not return this season). Only because he has been through this one time before and came back after several weeks and it reoccurred.

"Ray Lee said today he was feeling a little bit better, but probably not the dramatic improvement he had the week before. Ray Lee is doubtful.

"Solomon Page still has the ankle. Page is probably questionable.

"We have some minor bumps and bruises, but nothing of consequence.

Denis Savage can be reached at safage@cox.net

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