Chargers at Lions Notes

Perhaps the San Diego Chargers season can be summed up in far fewer words than originally thought. The following fact says more about the team than any other statistic can lend credence to: <br><br> The number of double-digit losing seasons has reached 10 in 20 seasons of ownership by the Spanos family.

The San Diego Chargers lead the series, 4-3, and defeated the Detroit Lions in their last match up, 20-10 on Oct. 10, 1999. This game doesn't have the same hype at the last time they played, as the Chargers were going against Bobby Ross, the only coach to direct them to a Super Bowl. The Chargers have won four in a row in the series.

The Lions are 3-1 at home against the Chargers, however. Their only home loss to San Diego occurred in the last matchup in 1999.

Chargers Notes:

#1 overall, that is the Chargers' position in next spring's draft if the season ended today. The Falcons also have a 2-10 record, but the Chargers would get the top pick based on strength of schedule.

A look at both the Chargers' starting quarterbacks' record isn't pretty. Flutie is 6-14 and Brees is 9-15.

The 2-10 Chargers have dropped at least 10 games for the fifth time in the seven seasons since Bobby Ross was forced out as head coach after the 1996 season.

The Chargers' mark since the Spanos family took over is 129-186 in the regular season, meaning the Chargers would have to go undefeated from now until the fifth game of the 2007 season just to pull to .500 under Spanos. --The late John Butler and A.J. Smith were the executives expected to turn this franchise around when arriving after the 1-15 season of 2000. Since, the Chargers are 15-29.

Three former members of Ross' Chargers staff are in Detroit: Chuck Priefer, special teams; Carl Mauck, offensive line; Kevin O'Dea, special teams and offensive assistant. --Kurt Schottenheimer, the Lions' defensive coordinator, is the younger brother of the Chargers' Marty Schottenheimer.

The Chargers' defense has allowed a league-high 28 touchdown passes.

TE Mikhael Ricks, a bust as a wide receiver when the Chargers' second-round pick in 1998, is the Lions leading receiver with 350 yards.

Injury Report:

LT Damion McIntosh (ankle) might be out Sunday. If so, Solomon Page steps in, but he is playing the opposite side of where he usually lines up.

WR David Boston (knee) isn't on the injury report. But him missing time is still noteworthy considering the Chargers have already lost Tim Dwight and Eric Parker this year.

TE Stephen Alexander (groin) is back practicing, but during his absence, rookie Antonio Gates has passed him up in the depth chart.

TE Justin Peelle (concussion) is questionable. If he can't go, at least the Chargers get Stephen Alexander (groin) back this week.

C Jason Ball (ankle) is going to be a long shot to play Sunday. That means veteran Cory Raymer is back in with his broken right hand. Raymer had a plate inserted to the injury, but it sometimes bothers him, especially when hiking the ball in the shotgun formation.

DT Jamal Williams (knee) won't play. He'll be replaced by Joe Salave'a on running downs and Dequincy Scott on passing down.

The Lions record in December games over the last five years is 3-18.

By putting rookie WR Charles Rogers on injured reserve, the Lions have cleared space for another player who might help pick up the slack in an injury-depleted receiving corps. That player is three-year Seattle veteran James Williams, who cut by the Seahawks late in training camp and was signed by the Lions on Tuesday.

Although Williams isn't likely to get a lot of balls thrown his way, he gives the Lions a little cushion they have lacked since losing in rapid-fire order Rogers (broken collarbone), Shawn Jefferson (knee) and Scotty Anderson (ankle).

Sixth-round draft pick David Kircus was activated two weeks ago but has had only three balls thrown his way and dropped two of them. It is likely QB Joey Harrington will continue to focus on WRs Az-Zahir Hakim and Bill Schroeder, TE Mikhael Ricks and RB Shawn Bryson as his primary targets but Kircus and Williams will be useful in three and four-WR sets.

--Lions president Matt Millen was criticized for overpaying when he signed cornerback Dre' Bly to a five-year contract for $24.5 million, including a $6.5 million signing bonus but Bly's play has gone a long way in quieting the critics. He has been the Lions best defensive player and has given them the big-play defender they haven't had in recent years.

Bly has six interceptions, has forced two fumbles, recovered two fumbles and scored two touchdowns -- one on an interception return and the other on a fumble return. There is speculation that his Thanksgiving Day performance -- two interceptions and a forced fumble -- on national television might sway some NFL players in the Pro Bowl voting.

"I had to return a lot of phone calls," he said, laughing. But he says he's not thinking about the Pro Bowl. "I'm not even worried about that," he said. "If it happens that way, good, but I just want to win games."

Injury Report:

WR Charles Rogers won't be back for the final four games of his rookie season. The Lions' first-round pick, the second player taken in the NFL draft last April, was put on injured reserve Tuesday to complete his recovery from a broken collarbone suffered Oct. 7 in a bye-week practice.

CB Dre' Bly isn't getting a lot of practice time but his nagging hamstring injury doesn't seem to have hampered his production on game day. Bly missed two games in early November but has had three interceptions, forced two fumbles and broke up four passes in the three games since coming back, despite not practicing until late in the week.

LB James Davis returned to practice this week after missing three consecutive games with a shoulder separation. It is still doubtful if he will play Sunday against San Diego.

DE Jared DeVries sat out the Lions Thanksgiving Day game against Green Bay with a shoulder injury but has returned to practice this week. If DeVries is healthy, he gives coach Steve Mariucci a full set of linemen for his defensive line rotation.

RB Artose Pinner is getting a few reps this week with the Lions offense and is expected to get playing time before the end of the season. If he doesn't play Sunday against San Diego, it is likely he will get his first action Sept. 14 at Kansas City. Pinner, the Lions' fourth-round pick, has been recuperating from a broken left leg.

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