Lightning Quicks: Third down doom

LaDainian Tomlinson tied Charlie Joiner with 282 career points scored, moving past Paul Lowe who he tied last week. Joiner and Tomlinson sit in sixth place on the all-time scoring list.

  • LaDainian Tomlinson also tied Joiner for third place on the team's total touchdown list with his 47th touchdown. Gary Garrison sits ahead of him with 58 touchdowns. His 42nd career rushing touchdown puts him one touchdown away from tying Chuck Muncie for most rushing touchdowns in San Diego Chargers' history over a career.

  • Drew Brees, who came into the season as the team's all-time leader in completion percentage, has completed 95 of 149 (.638) for 1,120 yards and nine touchdowns and three interceptions. He was 23-for-31 for 227 yards on Sunday with one interception and one touchdown.

    The Chargers were the NFL's third-best team on third down entering play on Sunday, converting 30-of-63 (.476) attempts. That all changed when they were 2-for-11 on third downs on Sunday, good for 18 percent. They are now 3-for-4 on fourth down attempts after failing once on Sunday.

    "We felt like it was right where we wanted it the entire game until the last couple of minutes," Brees said. "There were opportunities out there. I look at so many third and shorts, situations where we could have easily converted or should have converted and we didn't. That would have been the second or third first down in a drive and the defense starts thinking, ‘here we go.'"

  • Marty Schottenheimer is now 4-1 against Atlanta after his loss on Sunday.

    "We knew it was going to be a tough place to play, and it fulfilled our expectations in that regard. We had some opportunities, and in the final analysis we ended up coming up a point short. But as I told our football team, it's a long season and we've got a ways to go, there is no doubt. But there's a reason why the Atlanta Falcons are 5-1. They're an awfully good football team, and while we came close - and there's no consolation in that - we will continue to grow and get better."

  • Igor Olshansky got his first sack of the year on the second play on defense for the Chargers. Olshansky also added two solo tackles.

    Steve Foley nabbed two sacks, the first multi-sack game since he had three on Nov. 21, 1999 against Baltimore. He did have one and a half sacks against Tennessee earlier this year and now has 5.5 sacks on the year to lead the team.

  • A week after making his first significant play, Jamar Fletcher came up with a key fumble recovery in the second quarter. It was made possible by a Randall Godfrey hit on running back T.J. Duckett. Fletcher was also in coverage on Dez White's touchdown pass and got turned around on the play, allowing White to go uncovered in the end zone.

    Drayton Florence picked off a Michael Vick pass late in the second quarter, the second interception of his career and the second interception in as many games. His pick led to seven points for the Chargers.

  • Eric Parker had five catches entering play on Sunday through five games. He had two receptions in the first quarter and ended up with five in the first half, including a touchdown reception from 17 yards out. For the game, Parker had six receptions for 76 yards.

    Parker was also called for an illegal crackback on a drive that began on Atlanta's side of the field. It stalled a drive and San Diego had to settle for a field goal.

  • Rookie Nate Kaeding hit a career long 53 yard field goal in the third quarter. He is a perfect 8-for-8 on field goal attempts to begin his career and has hit two from beyond fifty yards. Kaeding sailed the ensuing kickoff out of bounds – his first real error of the year. Kaeding kicked a 28 yarder in the fourth quarter to improve to 9-for-9.

  • Tight end Antonio Gates had six more receptions on Sunday and leads the team with 37 catches and 422 yards, while being tied with Caldwell with three touchdowns. Among all NFL tight ends, Gates ranks second in receptions, yards and touchdowns.

    "We did a good job of executing from the start, but we need to finish," said Gates who dropped a key third down reception late in the game.

  • Injury Report:

    Reche Caldwell had a ball stripped from him on a quick hit on the first series of the opening drive. Caldwell hurt his left knee on the same play and was carted off.

    "I wouldn't say it was a huge affect," Brees said of losing his top wide receiver, "but the fact that Kassim (Osgood) is on so many special teams and Tim (Dwight) is as well, those guys were pulling double duty all day long."

    Dave Ball left the game with a right toe injury he sustained in the first quarter.

    Kassim Osgood tried to make a diving catch on a deep ball with just over twelve minutes to go in the third quarter and appeared to land on his shoulder. He was slow to get up and walked off the field of his own volition. He returned to the game and finished the day with three receptions for 37 yards.

    Denis Savage can be reached at

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