Chargers Win has Thorns

Believe it or not, the San Diego Chargers won their third game of the season on Sunday and Marty Schottenheimer's dream of beating his brother Kurt has come to fruition. It wasn't easy, although it should have been. This week one player on offense tried to give it away and the defense played the game of the season.

"We weren't real artistic offensively, but we did enough to create some points," Marty Schottenheimer said.

"The first half I thought we were very impressive offensively," Doug Flutie added.

Fourteen is neither very creative nor impressive. Truth is Doug Flutie gave plenty of points away. He had a 109.4 rating and went 17-25 you say. This is why stats don't mean a thing.

First off, nine passes went to the best player on the field, LaDainian Tomlinson. Both touchdown receptions went to "the man". Put in any quarterback and they will try to get LT the ball, or at least one would hope. That leaves eight catches for the rest of the cast. Forget the receptions, look at the meat.

The first play in question was a dumb throw with just over eleven minutes to go in the second quarter.

"The play was a play similar to the play that Seattle ran on us and scored a touchdown," Terrence Holt said. "The receiver went really wide, I got a jam on him. I just looked back across the formation and they were running a bootleg-type play with one (receiver) in front of me. When there's one in front of you, there's always one behind you so I started looking back and the ball came. I stepped in front of it and picked it."

What the play did was give up the ball deep in Detroit territory. It was second and eight at the Lions 23. Flutie, the guy who had supposedly settled down, threw the ball off his back foot and got nothing underneath it. He was under pressure and should have thrown it away. Instead he made an ill-advised pass that was intercepted and gave away what was certain to be three points and could have been another seven with the game close.

Then inside two minutes Flutie fumbled the ball while scrambling for a first down. Taught to tuck while he runs, he did a lot of running, but little tucking.

"On the fumble, I never saw the guy coming behind me," said Flutie. "I was trying to protect the ball and just go down and slide and not take a hit. When I went to slide I slowed down and the guy stripped it from behind.

"Jeff Garcia and I used to talk about it all the time. We both hate sliding. It's better to put your head down and dive with your feet and no one can hit you anyway or they're not going to get a good hit on you and that way people don't catch you. I got into a conservative mode, I made a move on a guy, ran up and I said ‘protect the ball and start the slide' and bang someone caught me from behind. You just have to stay aggressive, put your head down and go."

The moral is the team only scored fourteen points. The defense is the unit that deserves applauding and Tomlinson of course. Take away Tomlinson and you take away the Chargers. Take away Flutie and you have the same team. Fourteen points is nothing to brag about.

"I felt like we should have been marching the ball up and down the field," Flutie said.

They didn't. Fourteen points was enough to win this day but many other days it will not be sufficient.

"We had trouble blocking them in the second-half and we got a little more conservative in the play calling. You play the situation. You play the way the game has been unfolding. If they had been scoring and looking like a threat offensively, maybe we stay aggressive and we throw the ball in the second half the way we did in the first half, I don't know."

Calling out the staff? Sounds like he wants to blame someone for not running up the score further. He should be blaming himself.

What happens next week? Odds are Brees continues to sit and waste away. Eli Manning may not be such a farfetched idea after all.

Denis Savage can be reached at

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