Chargers edged out by Falcons, 21-20

It is settled. No, not the Tomlinson – Vick debate, but the Atlanta Falcons were better than the San Diego Chargers on Sunday – and just barely. But the only thing that matters is wins and the Falcons did 21-20.

Peerless Price made a beautiful over the shoulder catch from Vick fifty yards down the field to open up the fourth quarter for Atlanta. Price beat Sammy Davis on the play and fully extended to make the reception. Vick ran a bootleg for seven yards and one play later he scrambled in from 14 yards out with Dez White laying a nice block to lead the way. It brought the Falcons within three, 17-14.

After another scramble from Vick and a five yard face mask penalty, Vick hit White on a slant-go that turned Jamar Fletcher around leaving White wide open to catch a 32 yard touchdown to put Atlanta up 21-17.

Three passes from Drew Brees to Antonio Gates for 23, 13, and 17 yards, put the ball inside the Atlanta twenty yard line. After Brees wasted the final timeout of the half for San Diego, Kaeding would have to come on and kick a 28 yard field goal to bring the Chargers within one with six minutes to go in the game.

The Falcons were pinned deep on their next possession until Vick hit Crumpler for 20 yards. He then drew two linebackers up and hit his back for a 24 gain. With two minutes to go, and the Chargers out of time outs, the Falcons sat on the ball to win the game.

The first pass of the game by Brees was picked off by Kevin Mathis – called back because the Falcons were called offsides. Parker had slipped on his route. Just a few plays later, Brees was picked off again after a ball was tipped at the line by Patrick Kearney. Keith Brooking came down with the ball to give Atlanta the ball at the San Diego 46. Atlanta would not be able to capitalize.

Jamar Fletcher recovered a T.J. Duckett fumble created by a Randall Godfrey hit. Fletcher brought the ball back to the Atlanta 46. On a fourth down and two, the Chargers went for it. Lorenzo Neal caught a ball near the sidelines and stepped out of bounds before stretching the ball past the first down marker.

Atlanta was able to take advantage of their excellent field position, needing just five plays to do so. Brian Finneran gained 27 yards on third and three when his coverage bit on what began as a Vick scramble. When the secondary jumped up to make a stop on Vick, Finneran broke free and Vick tossed it to him before crossing the line of scrimmage. Two plays later, Alge Crumpler caught a 19-yard bullet from Vick, bobbling it but pulling it down in the end zone to put Atlanta up by seven.

On the next series, Eric Parker caught two passes for 29 yards and Antonio Gates added one for nine yards while LaDainian Tomlinson added a few runs to put the ball inside Atlanta's twenty. A roughing the passer call on third and two extended the Chargers drive when the Falcons had made a big stop. It gave the Chargers first and goal on the six. They needed all four downs to get into the end zone. LaDainian Tomlinson went up and over the top from inches away to tie the game at 7-7.

Drayton Florence picked off a sideline route late in the second quarter. With a drive starting at the Atlanta 39 and thirty-eight seconds to go, Drew Brees hit Kassim Osgood for a 22 yard gain and Brees then pump-faked and hit Eric Parker in the end zone from 17 yards out to put the Chargers up 14-7, needing just twenty seconds to score.

The Chargers got the ball at the Atlanta 43 on their second possession of the third quarter. After penalties pushed the Chargers back, they were able to get back into field goal position and Nate Kaeding boomed one from 53 yards out to put the Chargers up by ten, 17-7.


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