Three Chargers named to Pro Bowl roster

Fourteen games into the NFL season, the San Diego Chargers are getting some of their due. When Pro Bowl rosters were announced, three Chargers made the roster and three more were named alternates.

Going to Hawaii:

Drew Brees, the unofficial Comeback Player of the Year, was named to his first Pro Bowl. Brees is tied for third in the league with a passer rating of 103.8, throwing 24 touchdowns to just six interceptions. He is also completing 65.3 percent of his passes.

His six interceptions are the lowest total in the league of any quarterback who has been a full-time starter for the entire year. He had one stretch where he logged 193 straight passes without throwing an interception, setting a team record in the process.

Antonio Gates, tabbed Mr. Clutch by the Chargers, will join his signal caller in Hawaii. Among NFL tight ends, he ranks first in touchdown catches with 12 (which is ties the league record for most touchdowns by a tight end), second in yards receiving with 915 and third in receptions with 74.

In just his second year in the league, Gates has gone from unknown to All-Pro. Armed with a basketball mindset, Gates has been able to run a full court press on opposing secondaries. Teams have placed their best cover men on him and he still finds ways to get open.

LaDainian Tomlinson, the heart and soul of the franchise, does not get overlooked this time around. Slowed by a groin injury for about six weeks of the season, he still ranks eighth in the league in rushing yards, 257 behind the league leader, with 1,254. He is 400 yards away from getting his third straight 2,000 yard from scrimmage season with two games to play.

Tomlinson is tied for the league lead with 16 touchdowns and has scored in ten straight games. Many of those games came while he battled his groin injury. He has had three straight 100-yard games and has four in his last five contests.

First Alternates:

Mike Scifres, punter extraordinaire, is tied for third in the league in net punting average at 38.4 and is tied for third in the league in most punts dropped inside the twenty yard line. Just 21 of his punts have been returned, placing him second in the league in the category but he has punted 19 more times than the man who leads the league (Steve Cheek with 18 kicks returned on 42 punts).

He leads the league in percentage of punts dropped inside the twenty, landing 44 percent of his kicks in the on the money zone. Scifres had a stretch of eight straight games without a touchback and the one that broke the streak was the fault of the coverage unit.

Jamal Williams doesn't have the gaudy statistics but is the driving force behind the success of the 3-4 defense. Williams constantly faces double teams but has still managed to get pressure up the middle, resulting in four sacks.

Lorenzo Neal, the bull behind the man, has again led a running back to a 1,000 yard season. Neal paves the way for Tomlinson and has gotten stronger as the season wears on. He is also crucial to the Chargers success in short yardage situations, taking the fullback dive to gain the first down.

Not making the cut:

Donnie Edwards, shunned a year ago, has been shunned again. Edwards leads the team in interceptions with four and leads the league in tackles with 135. His four interceptions have come over the last five games. He has also forced two fumbles while being the quintessential team leader.

Edwards is the only member of the team to return an interception for a touchdown, going 30 yards to score against Tampa Bay.

Steve Foley leads the team with seven sacks and four forced fumbles. He also has added two interceptions, recovered two fumbles and has been in on countless hurries, causing quarterbacks to release the ball before they intend to. His 12 passes defensed also lead the team and are a result of his pressure off the side and ability to bat balls down. Foley is also second on the team with 3.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage.

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