The grades are in and the injury report: ">
The grades are in and the injury report: ">

Chargers Report Card Week 14

December – a month usually reserved for cold misery for the San Diego Chargers. Away from the sunny confines of their hometown, the Chargers went into Ford Field in Detroit and sneaked away with a 14-7 victory against the Lions. The Bolts pitched a defensive gem and the offense did enough to get the "W".<br><br> The grades are in and the injury report:

Quarterbacks:

Doug Flutie went 17-25 for 244 yards with a 109.4 QB rating. Now everyone thinks it is the second coming. What doesn't show up is his crucial interception and fumble both happened in Detroit territory and made this a game. It is the quarterback's job to put points on the board and fourteen is not enough to win most weeks. Had the team they faced been better on offense this is a loss.

Grade: D

Running Backs:

LaDainian Tomlinson is the Chargers. Stop him in the running game, which the Lions did well enough, and he will beat you as a receiver. This guy is simply amazing. He chalked up 236 yards from scrimmage and found holes when there weren't any. His 3.5 per carry was low, but it he busted one as a receiver, going 73 yards to pay dirt. They keep saying if you get LT the ball enough he will have a long one and it almost always proves true.

Grade: A

Wide Receivers:

Five catches by this unit usually would mean a loss. Add in nine receptions by Tomlinson and there is respectability. Too bad LT's dominance doesn't figure here. Reche Caldwell may have lost more confidence after stepping out of bounds before making a catch, or as the case was a non-catch. He then gets called for taunting on his non-catch. Who is the fool there? David Boston added four receptions but he needs a solid guy opposite him and that has not happened yet.

Grade: D

Offensive Line:

The pass defense was decent. The unit gave Flutie enough time to scramble and open lanes were visible throughout the day. The run push was atrocious. They opened up very few lanes and it was reminiscent of Barry Sanders O-line when he was playing. They must have been paying tribute to the Lions line the same day Tomlinson paid his tribute. Penalties against this unit were mind blowing. Six in total on the day.

Grade: D

Tight Ends:

Antonio Gates will get more looks in the passing game as he continues to develop. Three balls thrown his way and two receptions – the miss – not his fault. As his routes become crisper, he will get more touches. His blocking was solid, but the rookie got caught up in the line around him and missed some assignments.

Grade: C

Defensive Line:

No sacks and not many pressures came from the unit. They maintained containment on Harrington, but he had open lanes to throw in. The rush defense was all about assignments and they played it well. They didn't have the tackles but they held their spot in the trenches and allowed others to make plays.

Grade: B-

Linebackers:

Shooting the right gaps were key to this defense limiting the running game. For the first time this year the linebackers were making all the tackles in the running game instead of the secondary. All three starters played exceptional in pass defense with four passes defensed and several key stops short of the marker on third down. Ben Leber showed why he became a starter and Zeke Moreno was spirited. Donnie Edwards was Donnie Edwards.

Grade: A-

Secondary:

Kevin House had a career in less than two quarters of work. Picked on as soon as he entered the game for Sammy Davis, he defensed four passes. Overall they limited the Lions receivers to next to nothing. Everything had to go underneath as there was little room past ten yards out with the cover-2. They were not needed a whole lot in run support and kept each play in front of them. A few big stops on third down were also nice to see.

Grade: B

Special Teams:

Long snapper David Binn paced the special teams unit in tackles with three. Darren Bennett placed three of his seven punts inside the 20. Leon Johnson was weak on punt returns, but did have one long punt return called back when Quentin Jammer committed a penalty. The kickoff coverage was excellent again and save one solid punt return they did a good job keeping the Lions return game under wraps.

Grade: C

Coaching:

A 2-10 team coming in played well enough to win. The Lions, minus a receiving core, were ready to be beat and the Chargers barely took advantage. The playcalling in the second half was terrible. Instead of going for the jugular, they allowed the Lions back into the game until the final whistle. A December road game and a victory are tough to argue with.

Grade:C+

Injury Report from the coach:

"Sammy Davis with a knee, he went out and practiced today.

"David Boston got a neck sprain, I think he will be okay. Carlos Polk aggravated his ankle a little bit. He should be alright.

"I am hopeful Jamal (Williams) will be ready. The medical staff seems to think he will be ready. Damion may also be ready.

"Probably the guy who is furthest off is Jason Ball.

"Josh Norman bruised his hand, he should be alright. Peelle is making pretty good progress. Stephen continues to practice, but I just don't think he's ready to go full speed in a game."

Denis Savage can be reached at safage@cox.net

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