Chargers Report Card:
PASSING OFFENSE: A -- Drew Brees played lights out,
completing 80 percent of his passes with no turnovers; he had three in the previous two games. His
protection was on the mark and the receivers didn't drop any passes. Reche Caldwell's one-handed,
highlight-reel catch resulted in a 58-yard touchdown. No complaints here this week.
OFFENSE: A -- Before mentioning LaDainian Tomlinson, the front line deserves its kudos. It opened
up some massive holes for Tomlinson, blowing the Titans' defensive line off the ball. Back to
Tomlinson -- he was well, Tomlinson. He rushed for 147 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries, good
for an eye-opening 8.6-yard average.
PASS DEFENSE: C-minus -- Much work still to be done here.
Coach Marty Schottenheimer keeps playing the inexperience card, but that's getting old. Sammy Davis keeps getting picked on, and for being a shutdown corner, Quentin Jammer sure gives up a lot
of big plays. The pass-rush hasn't helped, as Billy Volek got sacked but three times in the 58
times he dropped back, while throwing for 278 yards and two touchdowns.
RUSH DEFENSE: A -- After
being a weakness early in the year, the defense is hanging its hat on the run defense. For two
straight weeks, opponents haven't cracked the 73-yard mark. Chris Brown (15 carries, 55 yards) was
never really a factor. The defensive line used a six-man rotation, which kept it fresh; the
linebackers were true to their gap assignments, leaving little room to run.
SPECIAL TEAMS: C --
Kick coverage units were much improved. But the kick return team got snookered on an onside kick.
Return game wasn't much. P Mike Scifres deserves a mention has he had three efforts downed inside
the 20, and had a long of 57. Rookie Nate Kaeding nails another one, this one from 31 yards.
COACHING: A -- Schottenheimer had his kids hyped about being stout at home, and they bought into
it. Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips did his homework, as he was prepared for the Titans'
spread offense. The defense wasn't fooled; that's not to say it shut down everything, because it
didn't -- especially through the air. Also, offensive coordinator Cam Cameron got deeper into his
playbook, getting Tomlinson in motion of several occasions.
Titans Report Card:
RUSHING OFFENSE: C -- Chris Brown's streak of
100-yard games ended at three, largely because an early deficit forced the Titans to abandon the
run. He carried just 15 times for 55 yards, and 10 of those attempts came before halftime. Any
recent efforts to shore up the short yardage game were not evident as the opening drive ended when
Brown was stopped for no gain on third-and-1.
PASSING OFFENSE: B -- Backup quarterback Billy Volek
largely kept the ball off the ground and completely out of the hands of Chargers' defenders. He
completed 39 passes (two short of Warren Moon's franchise record) in 58 attempts and spread the
ball to eight different receivers. However, he averaged just 7.1 yards per completion and only
three went for more than 15 yards.
RUSHING DEFENSE: F -- LaDainian Tomlinson gained 147 yards on
17 attempts. He had five runs of 13 yards or more topped by a 42-yarder. Plus Jesse Chatman scored
his first career touchdown on a 21-yard run, and wide receiver Reche Caldwell went 20 yards on a
reverse. The Chargers averaged 8.1 yards per attempt and recorded nine first downs on 24 total
PASSING DEFENSE: F -- The Titans allowed Drew Brees to connect on 80 percent of his throws
(16-20), which tied Hall of Famer Dan Fouts for the second-best day in franchise history. Tight
end Antonio Gates caught passes against linebackers, cornerbacks and safeties. Cornerback Andre Dyson gave up the game's first big play when he guessed (incorrectly) on a route.
SPECIAL TEAMS: C
-- Craig Hentrich had three subpar punts (37, 34 and 19 yards) all of which the Chargers turned
into touchdowns. Troy Fleming delivered the longest kickoff return of the season, albeit only 27
yards, but averaged just 16.8 yards on six attempts. The Titans remained last in the league in
kickoff return average. The kickoff coverage unit held Tim Dwight in check. An onside kick was
well-executed and successful.
COACHING: D -- The Titans were unable to hide their weaknesses or
exploit their strengths. Everything they tried on defense failed as evidenced by the fact that
five different San Diego players scored touchdowns, all from at least 10 yards away. That despite
(or perhaps because of) a simplified plan to accommodate the number of inexperienced players on
that unit. The offense gained a lot of yards and completed a lot of passes but never forced the
Chargers to make any serious adjustments.
Four winning units
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