Running game could make things scary

The running game hadn't been rushing to the forefront of late for the San Diego Chargers. Things changed this past Sunday.

Chargers Report Card:

PASSING OFFENSE: B-plus -- Philip Rivers wasn't asked to do much with LaDainian Tomlinson running wild. But that being said, Rivers took care of the ball and was efficient: 15-for-23 for 206 yards and one touchdown. He didn't throw a pick and he didn't turn the ball over. The pass blocking was fine as he was sacked but once. Tomlinson even scored through the air with a fine catch. The only drop was by Eric Parker.

RUSHING OFFENSE: A -- Tomlinson and the running game got back on board with style. Tomlinson had heard the talk -- as did the offensive line -- that the Chargers had become a finesse team and couldn't run with consistency. But the St. Louis run defense was the perfect tonic, and Tomlinson embarrassed it with 183 rushing yards. The line was blowing defenders off the ball, which gave Tomlinson huge running lanes. Tough to top this performance.

PASS DEFENSE: B- -- Marc Bulger threw for 327 yards and two scores -- although some of it came in the final quarter when the game was all but decided. Rookie Antonio Cromartie wore a big target, but he held up pretty well.

RUSH DEFENSE: B -- The tackling was better, although the Rams did go for 101 rushing yards. Steven Jackson rushed for 84, with a nifty 4.7-yard average. LB Donnie Edwards was sensational, with a game-high 13 tackles, and DE Luis Castillo had six. But there is still some work to be done here; it'll get better when Igor Olshansky (knee) returns in a week or two. S Marlon McCree had a key fumble recovery for a touchdown that turned the game around.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B -- The legs were fine with Nate Kaeding kicking two field goals and Mike Scifres having three punts land inside the 20, with a long of 55. No issues with kick or punt coverages. The Chargers, though, didn't do much in the return game.

COACHING: A -- Marty Schottenheimer did a nice job of keeping the team on track after a heartbreaking loss in Kansas City. He also had to convince his squad that the Rams were better than the oddsmakers said -- they were 10-point underdogs. Schottenheimer also got back to doing what he does -- having his team run the football.

Rams Report Card:

PASSING OFFENSE: B-plus -- QB Marc Bulger fell 0.9 points short of his fifth straight game with a passer rating of 110 or better. He passed for 327 yards and two touchdowns. WR Kevin Curtis had his most productive game of the season with seven receptions for 79 yards and Isaac Bruce added 105 yards on five catches. WR Torry Holt had five catches, but for only 48 yards.

RUSHING OFFENSE: B -- RB Steven Jackson had 84 yards on 18 attempts, the first game this season in which he fell short of 20 carries. However, Jackson isn't contributing breakout runs. His longest of the game was 12 yards.

PASS DEFENSE: C -- San Diego QB Philip Rivers was never really challenged, and showed poise in the pocket. He completed passes against the blitz, including a 27-yard play to TE Antonio Gates that led to a first-quarter touchdown.

RUSH DEFENSE: D -- Big plays doomed the Rams again, as RB LaDainian Tomlinson gained 118 yards on four carries. Michael Turner contributed a 14-yard touchdown run. The Chargers rushed for 216 yards, and 132 came on five plays.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B -- These units were solid in coverage, but did little in the return game. Jeff Wilkins made his one field-goal attempt from 34 yards.

COACHING: C -- Coach Scott Linehan talked all week about stopping RB LaDainian Tomlinson and TE Antonio Gates, but it didn't happen enough. Those two players combined for 306 of the Chargers' 419 yards. The game showed the Rams still have a lot of work to do on defense.


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