Chargers Report Card Week 17

What more can you say about the running back who has warmed the frigid season known as the 2003 San Diego Chargers. Marty Schottenheimer says LaDainian Tomlinson is remarkable, and those words do not justly state how good he is and can be when a team is built around him.

Quarterbacks:

Drew Brees managed the game. His short throws on screens were a little off base, but he did not turn the ball over and deferred to LaDainian Tomlinson, the right move. He did only throw for 97 yards, but his pump fake that led to his one touchdown pass was a thing of beauty. When the throws weren't there, he simply checked down.

Grade: B

Running Backs:

LaDainian Tomlinson rushed for 243 yards on 31 carries with a bum shoulder. All this behind a line that make colleges rethink their recruiting strategy. He also became the first back to rush for more than 1,000 yards and catch 100 passes in the same season. He simply was his best against the Raiders, a commonplace fact any time he faces off against the evil ones.

Grade: A+

Offensive Line:

Sure they allowed three sacks and Brees was allowed three steps before the ball had to be out, but commend a broken line for helping Tomlinson gain huge yardage against the Raiders defense.

Grade: C+

Tight Ends:

Antonio Gates dropped a pass and made two others. It was a nondescript day in the passing phase, but Justin Peelle paved the way with his blocking. He showed why he is a valuable member of the team. Not once has he complained about his role, he just does it zealously.

Grade: B

Wide Receivers:

David Boston had four receptions for 43 yards and a touchdown. He was the only receiver to get a reception. With Brees having little time to throw, the receivers could not get separation. Realizing this they needed to be more aware of their surroundings and come back to the ball. They did do well in the blocking game, their primary focus on the day.

Grade: C

Defensive Line:

DeQuincy Scott had the game of his career. He was all over the place and could not be stopped. Wiley was active, one of the few times all year. The pressure of the line directly correlated to the pass defense. They gave up too many runs in the middle of the line, but overall kept the big plays to a minimum.

Grade: B-

Linebackers:

Donnie Edwards set the tone early with a sack and later intercepted a pass. Zeke Moreno also had a few nice tackles and Ben Leber played well. The three linebackers were the top three tacklers on the team, but they did allow some runs to make it to the secondary.

Grade: C

Secondary:

Nothing was getting past the Chargers secondary. As the game progressed the confidence of this group became highly visible. They were not playing against quarterbacks who could get their receivers the ball, but still they faced Jerry Rice and Tim Brown. Keeping them to just 3 receptions for 21 yards is unbelievable.

Grade: A

Special Teams:

Wow! This group was awful. From missed tackles to missed assignments, it was the bad news bears on the gridiron. They allowed two touchdowns against in the return game, one because of a re-kick after a Terrence Kiel penalty.

Grade: F

Coaching:

Marty Schottenheimer validated his season with the final victory. He wanted to see the team listen to his teaching for once, and they did. He wanted a win and he got it. The defense took advantage of a battered line with a variety of looks – where that was all season is a mystery.

Grade: B

Denis Savage can be reached at safage@cox.net

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