Chargers Report Card: Week 8 Oakland

When the San Diego Chargers beat the Raiders this thoroughly, it is tough to find fault anywhere on the field. Even the miscues have a rosy tint to them as the Bolts sent the black hole spiraling into the abyss. Raider fans had to leave the game early for fear of ridicule, eureka!

QUARTERBACKS:

Drew Brees was the epitome of perfection. He nailed almost every throw with ease and not once did he appear to make the wrong decision. His completion percentage ended up being the highest in Chargers history and from week to week he is getting better and more confident in his wideouts.

Grade: A+

RUNNING BACKS:

LaDainian Tomlinson had 71 yards rushing and scored his record breaking 44th rushing touchdown as a Chargers to pass Chuck Muncie. Still, Tomlinson does not appear to be at his best. It was his coach that pulled him late in the game and allowed Jesse Chatman to shine once again in a relief role. Lorenzo Neal had three carries on one drive — you know it is a blowout when that happens.

Grade: B

WIDE RECEIVERS:

The contributions from this group continue to be on the upswing. The addition of Keenan McCardell has entirely changed the dynamics of this team. Eric Parker said it best when he mentioned that he thought he was good but is learning something daily from the veteran. Parker, coincidentally, led the Bolts in receiving on Sunday and has emerged as another go-to guy. McCardell had another solid outing and even Tim Dwight got in on the action.

Grade: B+

TIGHT ENDS:

Justin Peelle has been ignored for so long that his fumble in the first quarter is almost excusable. He hadn't touched the ball three times in almost a year. His score in the first quarter began the assault and he has always has been a steady force in the running game. Antonio Gates gave us a scare when he went down in the third quarter. Slow to get up, he ended up catching a pass for a touchdown on the same drive and had two for the day. His success has also been a catalyst to success in other areas.

Grade: B+

OFFENSIVE LINE:

The Oakland defensive line got little pressure up front and was thwarted nicely in the running game. When Nick Hardwick went out, David Brandt stepped in and played solid from the center position. Toniu Fonoti is truly becoming a complete player and neutralized the big bodies on the interior. Both tackle spots have been solidified as no pressure came from the ends and they did a good job of picking up the rare blitz.

Grade: A

DEFENSIVE LINE:

The line continued its rotation of parts, moving the starting lineup out for fresh bodies and they all played equally well. The pressure up front wasn't the defining part of this group but its penetration against the run was. They allowed seven first half rushing yards and 22 on the game. Jason Fisk had a nice day and Jamal Williams and Igor Olshansky opened up the lanes for the linebacking crew. DeQuincy Scott, the leading sack artist from a year ago, nabbed one on Sunday and provided some other pressures.

Grade: B

LINEBACKERS:

Randall Godfrey had another good game and is stringing together a nice resume in San Diego. He was a force against the run and defended the short zone well against running backs making receptions. Donnie Edwards bounced back after disappearing for two games. His relentless approach to the game also netted a forced fumble when the game was well out of hand, a testament to the team and their approach to the game, no matter the circumstances.

Grade: A

SECONDARY:

Sammy Davis returned to the starting lineup and netted a late interception that had to boost his ego. He played well in the game and led the team with two passes defensed. Clinton Hart stepped up and got his first interception as a Charger. Quentin Jammer had another solid game but needs to learn that the pass interference penalty is not his best friend. They allowed two pass plays over twenty yards in a game they had well in hand by the second quarter. Their play was the primary reason it stayed a blowout. Terrence Kiel did not make many plays but the one he did will stand out — his burst up the field to tackle Amos Zereoue was a thing of beauty.

Grade: B+

SPECIAL TEAMS:

Eric Parker not only outperformed his receiving counterparts, he also toyed with the Raiders on special teams. His 32 yard return, his longest of the year, brought out the famous "whoop" from Chris Berman. Good things happen when the "whoop" is in style and Parker had two nice returns on the day. If we could just get Nate Kaeding to kick it in bounds we would have something here. Philip Buchanon said they were kicking it too high. You hear that Mike? Stop kicking it so high and maybe someone will get a return or two. Scifres just has no concern for the opposition's return man. The nerve. Tim Dwight is looking healthy all of a sudden and his speed could be another weapon down the stretch.

Grade: A-

COACHING:

Drew Brees throws for five touchdowns but we better replace Cam Cameron. Coach Schottenheimer said it is a year of change and that is a good thing. The stagnant offense and defense of the past are gone with more aggressive playcalling on both sides of the ball. The defensive coaching staff has committed itself to stopping the run and have accomplished that task more often than not. The offense has come out slinging in each of its past few games and they are using that to open up the running game instead of the other way around — key with Tomlinson hobbled. Even the special teams are playing well and the efforts of each coach gets a nod here.

Grade: A


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