Drew Brees did not throw the ball a whole lot in the snow but he didn't need to. What he did was stay efficient and not take any chances that may have cost the team. He threw the ball just six times and completed four of them, including a 72 yard pass to Antonio Gates.
LaDainian Tomlinson was the difference – as expected. He carried the ball 26 times and generated first downs even when Cleveland knew the run was coming Lorenzo Neal made short yardage his business and had one of his best blocking games to date.
Eric Parker showed up with two catches early on before the entire unit was turned into just a couple more blockers. Kassim Osgood continues to be the best blocking wide receiver on the team.
Antonio Gates made a huge 72 yard touchdown reception which allowed the Chargers to play it close to the vest but it was Justin Peelle who made the play possible. Peelle drew two defenders to him on the play and gave Gates the room to roam free.
The Chargers line was dominant at the point of attack. The Bolts ran the ball 19 straight times during one span of the game and came away with a touchdown during that span. It was a total line effort that created holes and pushed the Browns line around.
Had Cleveland subscribed to the same philosophy as the Chargers, the game might have been much closer. Lee Suggs was able to move at will as the Chargers defense struggled for footing and missed tackles. The line barely made a dent up the field in pass situations.
Donnie Edwards made the play of the game in the first quarter and missed another interception when a teammate knocked it out of his hand. What was so strange is Luke McCown had all sorts of time to throw the ball. Steve Foley had a good game and so did Randall Godfrey but where was Ben Leber?
Drayton Florence will get beat but when he makes a play it counts. He is relentless on the ball and is usually right on the receiver. He has the makings of something special. Quentin Jammer was also around the ball and helped keep the Browns off the scoreboard.
Florence had no business being close to a punted ball in the first quarter. He held his block when the ball was bouncing around on the ground and it could have cost the Chargers the game. Florence redeemed himself by doing a nice job recovering an onsides kick to open the second half. Mike Scifres had a punt returned – and the return was for 38 yards. He gets a pass with the weather as it was unclear who to fault but the entire coverage team. Would you believe that the Chargers didn't have a single kickoff return?
Marty Schottenheimer knows weather. Schottenheimer knows how to manage a game.
Andrew Pinnock is back with the team and on the active roster. His return to the field put cornerback Jerrell Pippens on the outside looking in as he was released to make room. Pippens will likely be placed on the practice squad if he clears waivers.
Word is if the Chargers do not get a first round bye in the playoffs, they will play on Saturday December 8, 2005. ABC has already revealed its playoff format and they will have the early game on that Sunday and no west coast team hosting a game would play in the alloted time frame. That means the Chargers would be the late game on Saturday.