Chargers honor Foley with sacks

No offense to Steve Foley – a true emotional leader lost for the year – but the Chargers will be all right without him, and the defense got to honor him nine different times on the day in San Diego's 27-0 annihilation of Oakland.

Shawne Merriman and Shaun Phillips were outstanding to open the year, stepping out of the gate with 4.5 sacks between them. And Luis Castillo dominated the front lines, getting penetration consistently, and tallying 1.5 sacks of his own.

"It is apparent to all of us the speed and power that Shawne Merriman has," said head coach Marty Schottenheimer.

Add in a sack from Donnie "Trading Block" Edwards and the first half defense was downright suffocating. They allowed 45 total yards in the first half and ended the game with more sacks than Oakland had passes completed.

Jamal Williams got in on the act in the second half, slamming Brooks to the turf.

The final sack was credited to Stephen Cooper in the stat sheet but Carlos Polk deserves an assist.

"They were getting kind of frustrated because we weren't giving (Brooks) enough time," Merriman said.

Aaron Brooks threw for 68 yards on the day but the Chargers claimed 43 yards back as their own, taking Brooks to the turf seven times.

Andrew Walter fared no better as he threw for 68 and had to pay 11 yards penance on two sacks.

What hasn't even been mentioned yet is the ten quarterback hurries – that means on all 19 passes attempted by Oakland quarterbacks, there was someone in his face.

"What a day," Castillo smiled.

As for Phillips playing opposite Merriman – it seemed to have success written on it from the start.

"It is a win-win situation," Merriman said of meeting Philips in the backfield.

"It is a credit to our defensive line that we are getting pressure," Phillips added, noting that the push of the defensive line doesn't allow for he and Merriman to be double-teamed often.

The Chargers also allowed just 87 yards on the ground with 35 of those coming in garbage time when the first team defense was removed from the field. They held LaMont Jordan to two yards per carry through the heart of the game.

While the game ended 27-0, it could have been worse. Phillips and safety Marlon McCree dropped interceptions. All in all – it was about as complete a thrashing that a Charger fan dreamed of walking into the contest.

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