Drew Brees put in another solid game. He had another quarterback rating that hit above 100, throwing two touchdowns on 17-for-26 passing. Brees was efficient, hit his receivers in stride and played perfect Marty Ball. There is some concern that he has not hit a player other than Reche Caldwell at the wide receiver position. It is a definite that his trade value has increased just before the October 19 deadline but with the team on a roll, will they make a deal?
LaDainian Tomlinson was overshadowed for perhaps the only time in his career. LT ran for 56 yards but averaged a slim 2.9 yards per carry. He did break one on a pass reception for 54 yards and had 134 yards from scrimmage. But Jesse Chatman had a day for the ages. He carried the ball just 11 times and gained 103 yards. He also added a 17 yard reception. Chatman showed he had a burst, taking advantage of two big holes created by the line and gaining 31 on one and 41 on another — on consecutive plays.
Reche Caldwell caught three passes and had two runs. His best play was a throw the former quarterback did not make. Instead of forcing a play, he showed veteran savvy by pulling the ball down and gaining positive yardage. The rest of the receiving corps was silent. Kassim Osgood had a drop and missed both passes thrown his way. The unit was at its best in the blocking game where they contributed on the edges, particularly Osgood who earned praise from Schottenheimer.
Antonio Gates continues to shine in the offense. One-on-one, there isn't a player in the NFL that has shown he can maintain coverage. He caught two touchdown receptions and was wide open on both plays. He ended the day with eight catches for 93 yards and had one drop. He doesn't necessarily have a lot of speed but he uses his body well to box out defenders and make the catch.
Jason Ball returned to the middle of the line and looked rusty. He whiffed on several blocks but none came back to haunt the Chargers offense. For his first game in ten months, he looked quite good. Toniu Fonoti had some fun in the middle. He was very effective in sealing off blocks and limiting the play of John Henderson. Shane Olivea had a great game. Not a whisper was heard from Marcus Stroud. Roman Oben also held his own and Mike Goff looked to be the weakest of a strong unit.
The line played remarkably well in the first half. They limited the Jags to just 28 rushing yards. Jamal Williams was a beast in the middle. He opened up lanes for the linebackers to make plays and got two sacks. He also knocked down a pass at the line. Jacques Cesaire got the start and put on a good showing. With a little more meat on the outside, the play of the linebackers flourished. We stand by the fact that he got a sack stolen from him. Eric Downing even got time on the line and held his own.
Donnie Edwards was literally all over the field making tackles. Steve Foley had the hit of the year which caused a fumble that he recovered and recorded a sack. Randall Godfrey played his best game as a Bolt and Ben Leber got some pressure on the QB. The one area they were not nearly as good as they need to be was in pass coverage. They are still slow to the ball and left the middle of the field open. How many times will a running back, Fred Taylor in this case, be able to sit in the middle of the field uncovered?
Quentin Jammer was quietly effective save for a few plays. Sammy Davis was getting picked on early and the coaches pulled him in favor of Jamar Fletcher. Fletcher responded with a spirited game. He picked off a pass that no other corner on the team could have diagnosed. Terrence Kiel has to be one of the better safeties in the league at recognizing the run. He does need to work on his pass coverage. Rarely is his name called in pass coverage. Drayton Florence also got a pick, his first significant play as a Bolt.
Nate Kaeding nailed his two field goal attempts but his kickoffs weren't that great. Of his seven kickoffs, three reached beyond the five. He did get good height and the coverage teams was excellent as Jermaine Lewis averaged just 17.7 yards per return. Mike Scifres nailed all four of his punts inside the twenty — remarkable this year. Tim Dwight was average on kickoff returns and called for a fair catch on one punt he should have brought back. Marty-ball extends even here.
It began when the Chargers elected to receive. Cam Cameron installed a solid plan to beat the Jags. He went to the air on the first drive and didn't let up until the Bolts built a comfortable lead. The defense showed a lot more versatility and came up with three huge turnovers. The coaching staff had the team prepared for this game in all facets.
Chargers Report Card: Week 5 Jacksonville
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