Chargers begin the blame game

Shoddy play along the offensive line contributed to a second half of struggles for the Chargers on Sunday but there was plenty of blame to go around - and players appeared to be placing some blame.

More accuretely, the offensive line was terrible in the second half and Toniu Fonoti was eventually pulled.

Not only was the passing game under constant pressure, but the running game stalled.

They ended up gaining 41 yards in quarters three and four.

"This was the worst performance we've had in the last two years," offensive tackle Shane Olivea said.

With the Denver defense gaining 25 yards on the first play of the third quarter with a Champ Bailey interception, San Diego was hard pressed to match even that.

After the pick, they gained eight yards, but were set back five yards on an Olivea false start.

Next time out they lost eight yards and lost a fumble. They actually got a first down on the next drive but gave it back when Drew Brees was sacked for an eight yard loss.

A similar situation occurred the next time they got the ball. Brees completed a 12-yard pass to Antonio Gates before losing 14 yards on a sack.

Another sack on the next drive produced another loss of 12. It wasn't until the last drive they would have in the game that they actually gained positive yards.

"We didn't make enough holes (for our running backs) and we didn't protect well enough," center Nick Hardwick said.

LaDainian Tomlinson netted just 11 second half yards on nine carries.

"They made some good adjustments," Tomlinson said. "They did a great job of shutting down the running game."

Tomlinson netted just 12 yards on his last 11 carries (19-52 overall); 16 of his 19 carries were for four yards or less, with 10 for two or fewer yards including seven of his last eight carries.

But the playcalling was suspect for a second straight week. When teams are blitzing, why not screen past the blitz? Especially when they have one of the best receiving backs in the league.

After the game, head coach Marty Schottenheimer placed the blame with the rest of his offense and perhaps Drew Brees specifically.

"They played a majority of man-to-man," the coach said. "Only a few times they dropped into cover two. With that kind of pressure we needed to get the ball up the field into the hands of our receivers."

But the blame game goes around a lot of ways. Whether this is the start of self implosion will have to wait for the plane ride home and some introspection.

"Denver was bringing pressure quite a bit and they came in free a few times," Brees said.

Was the quarterback pointing to his line having troubles and deflecting blame a week after he took it upon himself? It didn't help that on each sack he personally lost another five to ten yards trying to scramble away.

The guess is he can't take it every week or he may not have a contract with any team next year.


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