Chargers' O-Line rebounds nicely

In the wake of turmoil and the loss of one of its finest pieces, the San Diego Chargers offensive line banded together to lead the team to victory on Sunday night.

Faced with the nagging doubts about their play with a new offensive line coach, the embattled line had its integrity and ability questioned during the week.

The challenge was issued early when it was deemed a necessity that LaDainian Tomlinson would get the ball more. In essence, not that many people would doubt the validity and truly no crystal ball was needed on this no-brainer but, the Giants had been given a key to the playbook. Silver platter – here it is – stop it if you can.

And they would have to accomplish the task without Toniu Fonoti. Digging themselves in, the line was quiet through the week, assured by their fellow mates who were in the line of fire.

"I wouldn't trade those five guys for anyone," quarterback Drew Brees said of his protection.

Buoyed by the faith and with a new determination to succeed, the line threw on their bullet-proof vests and went to work, shielding the array of bullets sent their way.

With the help of their main weapon, they carved out 268 yard rushing, the third-most yards on the ground in team history. Only the 287 they gained against the New York Jets on Oct. 13, 1963 and the 272 gained against Detroit on Oct. 18, 1964 proved more successful.

"We had a great week of preparation," left guard Kris Dielman, playing in place of Fonoti, said. "Coach Mauck did a great job of getting us ready."

"One misconception that people say ‘you just have to stand in front of a guy'," offensive tackle Roman Oben said of blocking for Tomlinson. "No, you have to get the running back past the line of scrimmage."

Brees, with a pocket of safety carved out his own gem, notching the second best completion percentage in franchise history (86.3 percent), going 19-for-22 for 191 yards with two touchdowns. Brees owns the record (88 percent), which he set against Oakland on Oct. 30, 2004.

And like last week when the stars rose up to defend the line they were the first to commend the job they did on Sunday.

"They are a great group of guys," said Tomlinson. "They are prideful. They stayed positive and it got to them a little bit. Their mindset this whole week was to go out and pound them and that is what they did."

It wasn't just the job they did in the running game but Brees remained on his feet all game as the Giants failed to register a sack.

"They did a great job," said Brees. They were going against a tough pass rushing group. You have Strahan on one side who is the best ever and the guy on the other side wasn't too shabby either. They were both very good players and that was an emphasis going into the game – protection was first. You can do all you want down the field but if you can't protect than you can't be doing it. They did a heck of a job."

But the admiration goes both ways. Many of the linemen have heard the respect given to them by Tomlinson and Brees – making them more eager to do the job.

"(Tomlinson and Brees) give us the credit for blocking for them," Dielman added.

The armored bank truck was loaded this week carrying its precious cargo of Tomlinson and Brees. When it reached its final destination, both were intact – a far cry from previous weeks when the doors had been flipped open and looted.


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