Insiders Packers at Chargers Report Card

The NFL Insiders take a look at each team, the San Diego Chargers and Green Bay Packers, after this weekend's 38-21 Packer victory. The question is how can a team so blatantly choose to forget about Brett Favre? The Packers could afford to forget Drew Brees and it worked, despite 363 passing yards.

Chargers Report Card:

PASSING OFFENSE: C-minus -- You got to take care of the ball at this position, and Drew Brees didn't do that in his first start in five games. He threw one interception and lost two fumbles, which led to 17 points. Brees threw for a career-high 363 yards and added two touchdowns. But one can't overlook how carefree he was with the football. He failed at the most critical thing a quarterback is supposed to do.

RUSHING OFFENSE: D -- Not much here, as the Chargers' offensive line was a disaster because of injuries. Only one opening day player, left guard Kelvin Garmon, was at his natural position. LaDainian Tomlinson entered the game with a 5.3-yard average, but could gain but 2.6-yards per haul against the Packers.

PASS DEFENSE: D -- This bunch did OK for the first three quarters, then they took the restrains off Brett Favre and he burned it for three touchdown passes in the final 12 minutes. Jerry Wilson and Quentin Jammer had a miscommunication on the biggest play, a Robert Ferguson touchdown of 40 yards that snatched the lead away from the Chargers. Again, the pass rush was nonexistent -- where is Marcellus Wiley? Two sacks and holding for the Chargers' so-called pass-rusher.

RUSH DEFENSE: B -- Solid. The Chargers set out to stop Ahman Green -- at the expense of getting burned by Favre -- and they did so, as he managed but 75 yards on 19 carries; the Packers had 83 overall. Good showing by the linebackers -- Zeke Moreno (three tackles, pass defensed), Ben Leber (two tackles; good hit on Favre) and Donnie Edwards (four tackles and pass deflected which turned into an interception by Stephen Cooper).

SPECIAL TEAMS: D -- The one time the special teams had to come through it stubbed its toe badly. Just after the Chargers took a fourth-quarter lead, they allowed Najeh Davenport to return the kick 45 yards which set the Packers up on a short field -- which they immediately took advantage of with a TD pass from Favre to Ferguson.

COACHING: C -- He gets points for instilling in his team not to quit, when it was down 17-3. But what's with paying so much attention to Green, that it allows Favre to carve up the secondary? Schottenheimer is hoping his team finishes strong -- it might help his job security. Brees didn't help his any, particularly with a coach who deplores turnovers as much as Schottenheimer. But at least his kids haven't packed it in yet.

Packers Report Card:

PASSING OFFENSE: A -- Robert Ferguson caught two fourth-quarter touchdown passes from Brett Favre and Donald Driver caught eight for 112, the first 100-yard game by a Green Bay receiver since last December. Favre had four touchdowns in all and threw for 278 yards. Pass protection was outstanding. Favre was intercepted once when he threw a bad ball into traffic.

RUSHING OFFENSE: D-plus -- An inspired defense stopped this once vaunted ground game cold for the third straight week. Ahman Green had a 34-yard carry late in the fourth quarter. Otherwise, he would have been 18-41. The Chargers kept eight men in the box and totally destroyed the Packers' wide plays. LT Chad Clifton had problems blocking DE Adrian Dingle.

PASS DEFENSE: D-minus -- Drew Brees, making his first start in six weeks, passes for 363 yards and two touchdowns (87.4 rating). The Packers didn't even begin to cover rookie free agent tight end Antonio Gates (5-117). Nor did they have any luck matching up against RB LaDainian Tomlinson (11-144). The Packers fell behind early in the fourth quarter on Tomlinson's 68-yard reception against a blown coverage. The pass rush generated two lost fumbles by Brees in the second half on sacks by Grady Jackson and Chukie Nwokorie.

RUSH DEFENSE: A -- Tomlinson, a superior back with astonishing balance and speed, was held to 51 yards in 20 carries. He had a 52-yard carry called back when G Michael Keathley held NT Grady Jackson. The Packers kept a safety in the box all day because they didn't respect the Chargers' wide receivers. David Boston didn't play hard. Linebackers Nick Barnett and Na'il Diggs were busy and active.

SPECIAL TEAMS: A -- Najeh Davenport's 45-yard kickoff return was as important as any play in the game. It came immediately after the Packers fell behind, 21-17, and preceded by one play the game-winning touchdown pass of 40 yards to Robert Ferguson. Ryan Longwell was good. Punter Josh Bidwell was better, breaking out of a mini-slump to average 47.8 on five attempts.

COACHING: B-minus -- Mike Sherman had lost two horrible upsets against Arizona and Detroit this season and was staring another in the face Sunday. Then Sherman and offensive coordinator Tom Rossley came off Ahman Green, who was going nowhere fast, and turned the game over to Brett Favre, who responded splendidly. Defensive coordinator Ed Donatell forced four turnovers but gave up 424 yards.

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