Insiders Chargers and Chiefs Report Card

The NFL Experts at TheInsiders grade out the San Diego Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs after a Sunday's 28-24 Charger loss at Qualcomm Stadium. With a game so close, many would think the grades would be even…not so fast.


PASSING OFFENSE: C -- Flutie fired up the offense in the third quarter. But what we can't overlook here is Flutie coughing up the ball in the first two series of the final quarter. This game was here to be had for the Chargers, but Flutie let a snap bounce off his hands for a lost fumble, and then he tried to force a pass into double coverage to Reche Caldwell in the end zone. He finished 16 of 34 for 213 yards and two touchdowns.

RUSHING OFFENSE: B -- LaDainian Tomlinson gets his 100 yards, as the Chargers finally give him the ball more a handful of times. But what' makes this showing more impressive is the front line was getting thrashed by the Chiefs' front. To be fair, it was banged up with losses of center Jason Ball (ankle) and left tackle Damion McIntosh (ankle). Most of what Tomlinson cranked out (106 yards, one touchdown) was done on his own as the holes were few and far between.

PASS DEFENSE: D -- Not much rush here -- Adrian Dingle one sack -- but the ball does exit Trent Green's hands quickly. CB Quentin Jammer had a career day in getting two interceptions and three passes defensed, Still, unit gave up two TD passes to Tony Gonzalez. The secondary was a tad better and that's especially true with the tepid pass rush.

RUSH DEFENSE: F -- Golly Day! The Chargers held someone under 200 yards rushing. This unit has given up 620 rushing yards in its last three games -- that's terrible. Sunday was no different as Priest Holmes went for 162 yards and the team went for 194. Too many blown gap assignments here and poor tackling. The linebackers just aren't physical and the front four was dominated by the Chiefs' offensive line. The linemen managed but nine combined tackles.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C -- Dante Hall was kept relatively under wraps -- out of the end zone anyway, he did have a 45-yard kickoff return. The real star in bringing past kicks was the Chargers' Leon Johnson. He had 169 return yards, including a 60-yarder in averaging 33.8 yards on five efforts. The kicking game was poor as Steve Christie was short from 48 yards and had a 40-yarder blocked. Darren Bennett, as well, has punted better.

COACHING: D -- Week after week, the Chargers get their doors blown off in the opening half. Whatever the team is planning as it enters the game, it is not working. The Chargers rallied in the second half -- as they often -- do, but once again they were down by such a wide margin, that they come up short. It's obvious the Chargers can't scheme their way out of their woes of stopping the run. The players just aren't there.


PASSING OFFENSE: C -- Trent Green was just average in completing 17 of 30 mostly short passes for 155 yards with two TDs and two interceptions. He did a nice job of finding Tony Gonzalez twice in red-zone situations, but offset that by being stripped for a 14-yard yard loss (when Adrian Dingle beat Willie Roaf), then throwing an interception (Quentin Jammer's second) to kill a drive that reached a first-and-goal at the 2.

RUSHING OFFENSE: A -- Holmes had his best game of the year in going 31-162 with two TDs. He looked like the Priest of old in carefully following his blockers, then hitting a hole with a burst or a change of direction to average 5.2 yards a carry.

PASS DEFENSE: C-plus -- Excellent early in holding Doug Flutie to a mere 22 yards and a hideous 4.9 QB rating at intermission. But Flutie scrambling helped set up his passing game and he hit 13 of 22 second-half throws for 191 of his 213 yards.

Admittedly, 84 of those yards came against what Dick Vermeil called a "prevent-prevent" defense -- "It's looser than loose," he explained -- on a last-minute drive for a TD with no time showing. Flutie was sacked only once, though Greg Wesley got a huge pick late in the fourth quarter on a play from the Chiefs' 18 in a 28-17 game.

RUSH DEFENSE: C-plus -- The Chiefs were doing a nice job in holding LaDainian Tomlinson in check when he had only 50 yards after his first 17 carries. But then Tomlinson broke loose for a 55-yard run, and suddenly KC faced a familiar lament -- one or two big plays ruining an otherwise solid effort. Tomlinson finished with 19-106 and a 5.6 average, largely because of the one run that was the big play in a Chargers TD drive. Flutie added a chains-moving 53 yards on scramble. The Chiefs are still looking for a way to tackle him.

SPECIAL TEAMS: D-plus -- Leon Johnson had season-long kickoff returns against the Chiefs of 60 and 53 yards. Punter Jason Baker continues to struggle; punting in beautiful 71-degree weather, he still shanked his first punt for only 25 yards and finished with a 37.8 gross average. This grade might be an F had not Dante Hall had a 45-yard kickoff return to midfield and Eric Downing partially blocked a Steve Christie field goal.

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