Chargers Report Card Week 15

Mistakes continue to haunt the San Diego Chargers in week 15 of the season. If it wasn't turnovers, it was penalties negating plays or setting the offense in situations they could not overcome. It amounted to the thirteenth loss of the season for the Bolts.<br><br> The grades are in:

Quarterbacks:

Drew Brees was confident in the pocket. He made smart decisions and knew when to tuck the ball and run rather than make a stupid play. His feet did occasionally look jumpy, but he was on the mark most of the day. He fumbled the ball once, perhaps holding the ball too long, and was intercepted on a nice play by Darren Sharper – hard to blame Brees for the throw. Brees ended the day with two fumbles and he will need to secure the ball better behind this woeful Chargers offensive line. Brees ended the day going 28-of-48 for 363 yards. He hit seven different receivers.

Grade: B-

Running Backs:

Similar to last week, LaDainian Tomlinson was again a beast in the receiving game. Held to a whisper in the running game, LT rattled off a 68 yard touchdown off a reception. His one big run, spanning 52 yards, was negated by a Michael Keathley holding call. Tomlinson had 11 receptions for 144 yards and two touchdowns, adding 51 rushing yards.

Grade: A-

Wide Receivers:

David Boston, hurt in the first quarter, was terrible. He fumbled after barely getting hit and missed another pass. In the fourth quarter, Boston could not get two feet in bounds despite plenty of time to do so. He did catch a two point conversion on a fade route. Reche Caldwell had four catches for 25 yards and more significantly no drops on the day. Kassim Osgood added two receptions.

Grade: D

Offensive Line:

Penalties – for a Marty Schottenheimer coached team, this unit is undisciplined. Courtney VanBuren blew an assignment in the third quarter which ended up in a sack of quarterback Drew Brees where he fumbled the ball. Grady Jackson then made Cory Raymer and Keathley look silly and forced another fumble. Brees did not have enough time on several key spots in the game and it proved the difference. The offensive line had little push in the running game.

Grade: F

Tight Ends:

Antonio Gates had a career day. With the Chargers down healthy receivers, Gates exploited the coverage all day. He ended the day with five catches for 117 yards, including a 48 yard reception. He did have one drop. Gates had two false start penalties on the day.

Grade: C+

Defensive Line:

No pressure at all came from this unit and it left the secondary gasping for air. They maintained their gaps in run defense and were physical at the point of attack when they knew it was a run. Without the blitz they would not have came close to breathing on Brett Favre.

Grade: D

Linebackers:

Ben Leber, minus a helmet to helmet hit on Favre, was all over the field making plays today. It marks the first time this season Leber was sent on multiple blitzes and he did not disappoint. The linebacking trio, Zeke Moreno and Donnie Edwards included, were strong against the run. Moreno, like Leber, was very active and has upped his game in recent weeks. Stephen Cooper had his first NFL interception of a tipped ball by Edwards.

Grade: A-

Secondary:

A week ago this unit was stellar against weaker competition. This week they accounted for zero of the Chargers three passes defensed. Terrence Kiel was in on far too many tackles as most of the play happened behind the linebackers. Good throws by Favre mean the secondary has now given up 33 touchdown passes on the season.

Grade: F

Special Teams:

Long snapper David Binn is underrated for his work on the coverage unit. He downed a ball at the four yard line on one Darren Bennett punt. The Chargers allowed two huge kickoff returns that turned into 14 Green Bay points. Mike Scifres was blamed for poor coverage on one long return by the coach on Sunday. Steve Christie hit two short field goals.

Grade: D

Coaching:

The Chargers were successful blitzing more in the second half, but the aggressive attitude was absent in the first half and they got away from it in the fourth quarter. The playcalling was questionable by the offense. The Bolts went 1-5 in the red zone, using the run-run-pass method without any secrets. Nine penalties for 69 yards falls squarely on the coaching staff.

Grade: F

Denis Savage can be reached at safage@cox.net

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