The Chargers pounded out 317 yards of offense on Thursday, driving inside the Green Bay 30 three times in the fourth quarter and to the 34 on their opening drive of the game before Drew Brees threw a pick.
LaDainian Tomlinson was suited up but did not play, as expected. It is something the Packers wish they could have done with any of their players.
"Tomlinson is clearly their horse," general manager Ted Thompson said. "That's a coach's call. I would like not to have to play anybody but we do."
The Bolts took advantage of three fumble recoveries and despite the turnover advantage were unable to push the ball over the goal line, thanks to a stout Green Bay defense when it counted.
"I thought our starting defense did some pretty good things in difficult situations at times," said Packers coach Mike Sherman. "We did give up some yardage initially in that first drive in particular. But they kept them out of the end zone, which was ultimately what we wanted to do."
Justin Peelle was crushed on the third play from scrimmage by Mark Roman. The referees blew the play dead, saying Peelle bobbled the ball, preventing the Packers from making the turnover and scoring the touchdown.
It appeared that he caught the ball and began to make his move up the field. The Chargers would later turn it over on the interception from Brees.
Jerry Wilson and Quentin Jammer allowed a long reception in the first Packer series – both were five yards off the ball and held responsibility for the play.
Matt Wilhelm was very active in the first quarter of the game. He showed a whole lot of hustle and made several solid plays to help the Chargers get off the field.
Matt Wilhelm laid a shoulder into the gut of Ahman Green on the Packers second series, causing a fumble. It was a play reminiscent of his time with Ohio State and one that has been absent from much of his game to date.
"The play of Matt Wilhelm was excellent for us," head coach Marty Schottenheimer said. "I think he is making real good progress. He is very instinctive. He is a bright young man. He runs well and he needs an opportunity to play some."
Eric Parker just missed a circus catch on the second series of the game. Drew Brees led him too far by about three inches. Had he placed it properly it would have gone for a touchdown – some 90 yards. Parker dove out to try and make the grab and it went off his fingertips.
It is rare that we find ourselves praising the opposition but one play in the second quarter deserved it. On a punt that looked to be downed inside the five had it played out how I imagined, ended up going into the end zone for one reason – Antonio Chatman. The punt returner laid a block on an unsuspecting Kassim Osgood as he waited at the two for the ball to drop in his hands. It resulted in a touchback and is a play that will never hit the highlight reel but should. Not only that – it is rare that a returner has such field awareness. They usually clear the area and their job is done.
DeQuincy Scott went down in the second quarter after aiding in a pass breakup. He was taken off the field on a cart for precautionary measures with a bruised thigh. He is expected to miss a week or two of camp.
The new "Marty Schottenheimer" rule came back to bite the veteran head coach in his first game. Bhawoh Jue, the teams' gunner, went out of bounds as he raced down a punt in the second quarter. He was the first one to touch the ball, on the two-yard line. The rule, implemented this year at the urging of Schottenheimer, prevents a player who steps out of bounds to be the first one to touch the ball. The ball was placed on the twenty yard line.
The idiot comment of the game goes to Paul McGuire – no surprise there. When analyzing Darren Sproles he had this to say after mentioning how everyone who has seen him calls Sproles "electric."
"He has to hold onto the ball better than he has."
Has he watched a practice? Our guess is no. The kid has caught nearly everything sent his way. It is that kind of unsupported analysis that should be banned from all telecasts.
Clinton Hart and Bhawoh Jue combined to tag Travis Fischer late in the second quarter that caused a fumble. It looked like Hart got his helmet on the ball and it popped out. Green Bay, however, recovered the rock.
Philip Rivers was clearly upset with himself for missing a wide open Darren Sproles with under a minute to go in the half. The play would have netted over 20 yards – at least – but he short-hopped the running back.
Rivers ended his night 12-for-17 for 97 yards with a touchdown.
Sproles had a rough time running in the third quarter. He ran the ball four times on one drive and gained five yards. By that time, however, Sproles gained 47 yards on six receptions.
Michael Turner, on the other hand, proved quite effective toting the rock, amassing 70 yards on eight carries.
"I thought we ran the ball extremely well," Schottenheimer praised. "Michael Turner picked up where he left off for us last season."
Markus Curry gained 11 yards on his first punt return of the game. It was the longest gain by any player in the punt return game for either team.
Sammy Davis played well and was in good position to defend the ball caught by Donald Driver on the Packers scoring drive. Driver simply held on to the ball despite Davis having a hand on the rock to secure six.
"Defensively I thought we played extremely well," said Schottenheimer. "We did a good job on third down. We held them to less than three yards (per rush) and ten points. They really didn't run the ball effectively against us. They really didn't pass the ball well either."