Merriman indeed

The Chargers tried to contain themselves. But it was hard to do in regard to rookie outside linebacker Shawne Merriman.

"That guy," quarterback Drew Brees said, "is a beast."

Merriman was all over the field in Sunday's defeat of the Chiefs. In just his second NFL start, Merriman, the draft's 12th overall pick, had two sacks, five tackles and a forced fumble.

And he nearly lived up to his nickname as well: "Lights Out."

Merriman hit Chiefs running back Priest Holmes so hard in the third quarter that Holmes didn't play the rest of the afternoon.

"I'm very pleased with my performance right now," Merriman said, "I have to say each and every week I feel a little more comfortable out there. I just want to fly around out there and make something happen."

The Chargers are desperate for playmakers on that side of the ball -- the exception being inside linebacker Donnie Edwards. But it was obvious to tell on Sunday that they have a potential game-changer in the former Maryland star.

"They were just real excited the way I play the game," Merriman said of his teammates' response. "I want to just keep turning it up each and every week."

Merriman will get plenty of chances. After sitting out the opener with a knee injury, Merriman's game has grown considerably. He took the Ben Leber's starting job away two weeks ago and looks as if he could hold for many years to come.

"I missed the first game and I was heartbroken," Merriman said. "It just made me that much more hungry to come out there and wreak havoc and be relentless out there on that field."

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