Load too heavy for Brees, offensive line

The San Diego Chargers are not ready to play the big boys and may never be with Drew Brees calling the shots. Opportunities lost should be the mantra. Brees missed countless passes to his receivers. With the Denver defense focusing on LaDainian Tomlinson, Brees, along with the offensive line, had to step up. <br><br> Neither did.

As the Broncos stacked the line against the run, Drew Brees had to find a way to open things up. His first deep pass went for Tim Dwight deep in the secondary. Dwight not only had a step but his outside in move dropped the coverage to the ground. Had the ball not been overthrow Dwight would still be running.

"I think Drew thought I was trying to go underneath and I went over the top on him," Dwight said. "We just missed on that and it is something we have to talk about."

One pass off the back foot was almost intercepted as Antonio Gates turned defender and knocked the pass down.

"We missed a few opportunities throwing the football," Marty Schottenheimer said.

He would also miss Eric Parker streaking towards the end zone as pressure caused him to throw a little early. Other quarterbacks stick in there and nail that throw. There is a reason that many defenses leave the field against the likes of a Manning or Favre scratching their heads. They do the same types of blitzes and get bit.

Not Brees.

"We missed on a couple of big plays that could have put us over the top," Dwight said.

After the game, Marty Schottenheimer again had to say that Drew Brees would be his starting quarterback. Every week the charade goes on because everyone else is sure he should not even be on the field. He has a grand total of eight yards passing in the first half of his last two games.

"Barring any injury, Drew Brees will start for us next week," Schottenheimer proclaimed.

"It is a shame he has to answer that question and I have to answer that question every week," Brees said.

What exactly does he expect? He has not given anyone reason to believe in him.

It wasn't all Brees in this one.

The offensive line and backfield had a terrible time against the blitz. The pressure on Brees was almost non-stop. Toniu Fonoti and LaDainian Tomlinson missed a block on one play and Brees fumbled. To be blunt, Tomlinson looked like he had not interest in blocking.

"We're shooting ourselves in the foot," Lorenzo Neal said. Missed blocks, missed passes, missed wins.

The rest of the line didn't fare much better. They struggled getting a push off the line and could not come to grips with the many different looks the Broncos gave them. Missed assignments became the norm.

When a blitz came from the outside, there was no one out there to handle the oncoming rusher and push him wide. When the blitz went up the middle there was cavern to run through.

"We'll see them again, which is a good thing, and hopefully we'll catch them on a day when they don't play as well as they did today," a resigned Roman Oben said.

The game still fell on Brees' shoulders. He has been in the league for three years and has not distinguished himself as a playmaker. Tomlinson is a target and will continue to be.

"All we knew was that Drew Brees had a slight concussion," Broncos defensive end Reggie Hayward said. "We knew that he might be a little funky at times during this game, but we also want to make sure that we contained LT. Fortunately, I think we were able to do that."

Perhaps a shot at Brees, Tomlinson said, "It is hard running against eight and nine men in the box all the time."

Every team knows it to be true. Stop Tomlinson and you likely have the Chargers beat. There will be an aberration here and there but until it becomes commonplace, they are simply abnormalities.

"I am sure they came in just like everyone else trying to stop LT," Brees said. "They know if they don't they are in for a long day."

There is no game plan that has "confidential" on the outside and "stop Drew Brees" on the inside. That plan of attack does not exist. You attack the strongholds first and laugh as the supply train goes around in circles.

Brees was a yard short from being the leading receiver on the team. He went 14-for-29 for 129 yards and a long of 17. Not exactly taking pressure off your star running back.

"Looking back on it there were just a couple plays here and there that would have given us the win," Brees said.

When he makes those plays in more than one game in four, we may begin to believe him. Odds are it may be too late by then.


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