Chargers at Ravens preview

All you need to know about these two – Chargers No. 1 in NFL defense, Ravens No. 2 -- can be found in the league's "touchdowns allowed" column. In five games (San Diego had a bye last week), they have surrendered a total of three TDs.

"We play with the attitude that we will be a dominating defense," says Chargers cornerback Quentin Jammer. "It's all about attitude."

Of course, the Ravens, with the likes of linebacker Ray Lewis and safety Ed Reed, don't lack in that department. They lead the league in takeaways/giveaways with a plus-10 margin.

The Ravens will test first-year San Diego starter Philip Rivers. They lead the NFL in interceptions with seven, spread among six players – the most on any team in the league.

The key to breaking the defensive grip of these teams could come from the muscle and speed of two of the best tight ends in the business – San Diego's Antonio Gates (6-4, 260) and Baltimore's Todd Heap (6-5, 252).

LT's TDs: Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson has scored a touchdown in 24 of his past 30 games.

SERIES

  CHARGERS RAVENS
SERIES LEADER Series tied, 2-2  
STREAKS   Past 2
COACHES VS. OPP. Schottenheimer: 0-1 Billick: 2-0
LAST WEEK Bye (Wk. 2: W 40-7 vs. Titans) W 15-14 at Browns
LAST GAME 9/21/03: Ravens 24 at Chargers 10. Baltimore QB Kyle Boller throws 25-yard TD pass to TE Todd Heap & RB Jamal Lewis rushes for 132 yards & 1 TD.
LAST GAME AT SITE 12/10/00: Ravens 24, Chargers 3. Baltimore QB Trent Dilfer passes for 2 TDs as Ravens win 5th consecutive game & clinch 1st playoff berth in franchise history.
BROADCAST CBS (1:00 PM ET): Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon

STATS

PASSING Rivers: 33-46-343-2-0-107.4 (2L) McNair: 56-101-588-3-1-78.3
RUSHING Tomlinson: 50-202-4.0-3 J. Lewis: 58-234-4.0-1
RECEIVING Tomlinson (RB): 10-69-6.9-0 Mason: 16-228-14.3-0
OFFENSE 389.0 (3L) 291.7
TAKE/GIVE +3 +10 (1L)
DEFENSE 173.5 (1L) 197.3 (2L)
SACKS Merriman: 3.0 Scott: 5.0 (T1L)
INTs Jammer, Merriman: 1 McAlister: 2
PUNTING Scifres: 42.3 Koch (R): 43.2
KICKING Kaeding: 25 (T3C) (7/7 PAT; 6/6 FG) Stover: 32 (1C) (5/5 PAT; 9/9 FG)

The game features the NFL's No. 2-ranked rushing team in yards per game (SD, 217.5) against NFL's No. 1-ranked defense in rush yards allowed per game (Bal, 34.3). The teams stand No. 1 (SD, 3.5) & 2 (Bal, 6.7) in league in points allowed per game.

Chargers:

Head coach Marty Schottenheimer (193) needs one win to surpass Chuck Knox (193) for 7th-most wins in NFL history.

Quarterback Philip Rivers stands second in NFL passer rating (107.4) and second in completion percentage (71.7, 33-of-46). Rivers completed passes to nine different receivers in his last game (Wk 2).

Running back LaDainian Tomlinson (83) needs one touchdown to surpass Hall of Famer Lance Alworth (83) for most touchdowns by a Charger in a career. Despite the week three bye, Tomlinson (202) and Michael Turner (175) compose the lone NFL running back duos with at least 175 rushing yards.

Tight end Antonio Gates (89) and Baltimore's Todd Heap (75) were No. 1 and 3 in receptions by a tight end in the NFL last season.

The offensive line has not allowed sack in its first two games.

The club has allowed seven points in two games for the fewest allowed in a 2-game stretch since '86 (3).

Linebacker Shawne Merriman has 5.0 sacks in his past three on road. Cornerback Quentin Jammer has two interceptions in his past five games.

Ravens:

Quarterback Steve McNair has 21 touchdown passes in 15 career October home starts. McNair has a touchdown pass in each of his first three starts with the Ravens.

Running back Jamal Lewis (6,903) needs 97 yards to reach 7,000 in career. Club is 18-3 (.857) in the past 21 home games that Lewis has started.

In last game versus SD (10/3/04 w/ Ten), wide receiver Derrick Mason equaled career-high 12 receptions. Tight end Todd Heap has at least five catches in five of his past seven games.

Club is NFL-best +10 in turnover differential. Defense has seven interceptions (6 players with at least one) through three games; club had 11 in all of '05. Opposing QBs' passer rating (44.5) is 2nd-lowest in NFL (SD, 42.9). Linebacker Bart Scott is tied for the NFL lead in sacks with 5.0; Scott totaled 4.0 sacks in his previous four seasons combined. Defensive tackle Kelly Gregg is tied for NFL lead with two defensive fumble recoveries.

PR-KR B.J. Sams leads the NFL with a 36.2 KR average and stands No. 6 in the AFC in punt return average (10.2). Team's average drive start after is NFL-best 33.3. Kicker Matt Stover is 9-for-9 on FG attempts on season.


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