Chargers ship sailing straight

All these years San Diego Chargers head coach Marty Schottenheimer has intimated the attributes that go into making a winner. It sees his troops are listening.

Coach Mike Nolan was not pleased with a pass-interference penalty that netted the Chargers 41 yards and led to a second-quarter touchdown in the 49ers' 48-19 loss Sunday.

Earlier this season, Nolan was clearly upset with the officiating in several of the games. The league admitted it had blown three crucial calls against the 49ers in a 14-point loss to the Eagles. In Sunday's game, Nolan believed cornerback Sammy Davis had good position on a deep pass against Chargers WR Malcom Floyd, but Davis was called for the penalty.

"I still think he's wrong, but we'll see when we look on the film," Nolan said. "I almost got flagged in return, so I wasn't pleased."

Making his first 49ers start, which happened to come against his former team, Davis said he thought he played the ball perfectly.

"I probably played it about as well as a corner can play it," Davis said. "I was looking back for the ball. I read the receiver's route, and I was up under him. I don't know why he threw the flag. I felt him (Floyd) climbing up my back. I thought it was going to be offensive pass interference. When he called it on the defense, I was really surprised."

Chargers Report Card:

PASSING OFFENSE: A -- Philip Rivers (29-of-39) looked sensational -- there's no other way to put it. He had a career-high 334 passing yards, threw for two TDs, had 13 straight completions and was perfect on four scoring drives. Rivers showed how he keen he is -- despite it being his fifth start -- at going through his reads and finding the most open receiver. Then he isn't forcing the ball into coverages. That speaks to his pass blocking -- no sacks -- and his trust in various receivers. He completed passes to seven different receivers; four had at least five receptions.

RUSHING OFFENSE: C --As fluid as the passing game is flowing something was amiss here. The Chargers run-blocking wasn't stout enough and Schottenheimer spoke later of the mental errors up front. It would be easier to say the Chargers ran for only 87 yards and had but a 2.9-yard average. Tomlinson set a team mark with four rushing touchdowns, but he didn't crack the 3.5-yard average. It's more blocking here than the backs.

PASS DEFENSE: B -- Alex Smith was able to pinpoint two passes for touchdowns and collected 214 yard. The pass rush was true, as Smith was sacked five times. The 49ers scored on three of their first four possessions and much of that yardage was coming via the air. Not bad -- LB Shaun Phillips had two sacks and a tip that led to an interception -- but there were some hiccups.

RUSH DEFENSE: C -- Frank Gore came in with a share of the NFL rushing lead and was able to average 5.5 yards on 10 carries. Allowing two long runs of 22 yards was uncharacteristic of this defense. Donnie Edwards had five tackles, mostly on runs. DT Jamal Williams didn't make the stat sheet after a stellar game against the Steelers. Run defense will see more reverses and misdirection plays because it is playing so aggressive.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B -- The coverage units were solid and Mike Scifres was asked to punt but once as the offense was rolling. Nate Kaeding added two more field goals. What raised the red flag was two fumbled by kick returner Michael Turner. Schottenheimer later gave Turner a vote of confidence, but Schottenheimer will keep an eye on it.

COACHING: A -- Schottenheimer again puts some air in Martyball and the result is Rivers playing like a Pro Bowler instead of a first-year starter. The Chargers were confident they could attack the back end of the Niners' defense coming into the game and they seldom ventured from that attack. The defense got its act together after allowing 19 first-half points, then zilch in the second half. Coordinator Wade Phillips started pestering Smith in different manners -- and Smith was in obvious passing situations -- which helped flip the tide.

49ers Report Card:

PASSING OFFENSE: B -- QB Alex Smith's maturation continued with a solid performance against the league's top-ranked defense. Smith completed 20 of 31 passes for 214 yards with two TDs and one interception. He was also sacked five times. Smith's interception late in the first half changed the tide of the game after the 49ers had threatened to get back in the game, trailing by nine points.

RUSHING OFFENSE: B -- The 49ers did not run the ball as much as they had in the past. Frank Gore, who came into the game as the league's leading rusher, had 55 yards on just 10 carries. WR Bryan Gilmore carried twice on reverses for 31 yards, but he fumbled at the end of one of those runs.

PASS DEFENSE: F -- Things could not have gone much worse for the pass defense. There was a lack of a pass rush, and CB Shawntae Spencer gave up seven pass completions for 90 yards. The 49ers did not record a sack. They were also called for 71 yards on just three penalties, as defensive linemen Isaac Sopoaga and Anthony Adams were flagged for roughing the passer, and CB Sammy Davis was hit with a questionable 41-yard pass-interference penalty. Chargers QB Philip Rivers threw for 334 yards and two TDs while posting a 116.8 passer rating.

RUSH DEFENSE: C-minus -- The 49ers gave up an average of just 2.9 yards rushing per attempt, but the 49ers did not stop the Chargers on any important runs. LaDainian Tomlinson rushed for four touchdowns, and the 49ers failed to stop the Chargers on four of five third-down rushing attempts.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B -- Andy Lee had a good game, averaging 48.0 yards on four punts with a net 38.8. The 49ers did not get much going in the return game. Brandon Williams' 25-yard punt return was nullified by a penalty. The kickoff coverage team held Michael Turner to just an 11.7 average.

COACHING: D-plus -- Norv Turner's offensive game plan seemed to catch the Chargers flat-footed. However, the defensive scheme was completely flawed. The 49ers had LB T.J. Slaughter lined up in single coverage against TE Antonio Gates, who exploited the 49ers' coverage for a 57-yard TD. Later, the 49ers had rookie CB Marcus Hudson in single coverage on the outside for the only play he was in the game, and it resulted in a 33-yard scoring pass to Vince Jackson.

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