QB- Drew Brees threw a 35 yard TD pass to Curtis Conway on the opening drive on a well placed pass. On the play Brees intentionally threw the ball short so the taller Conway could come back to the ball for an easy catch. Brees threw his first interception of the season and his career in the 3rd quarter. Brees ended the day with 15-28 and 163 yards. In the future he will need to spread the ball around to all his weapons. Grade: B
RB- Ladainian Tomlinson ran for 84 yards on 27 attempts. On the opening drive Tomlinson ran 5 times for 20 yards and opened the offense up for the TD reception by Conway. Conway also scored on a reverse from 3 yards out. Dwight had another run for 20 yards this week matching last week's totals. Grade: B
Offensive Line- The unit played well as a hole but not spectacular. They paved the way for the rushing attack to average a pedestrian 3.5 yards per carry. The unit also allowed 2 sacks in the game but provided decent protection most of the game for Brees. Grade: C
Receivers- Curtis Conway alone gets an "A" for his 5 catch 113 yard performance. He used his height and strength to outplay defenders on 2 of his catches and was solid as a blocker. Conway spent the majority of the fourth quarter in the locker room, having fluids put into him through an IV. Stephen Alexander had his first 3 catches for the Chargers amounting to a whopping total of 3 yards combined. Not the numbers one would envision from their starting tight end. Josh Norman looks solid and nabbed 2 catches. Tim Dwight and Reche Caldwell were shut out and need to step up as the competition gets fiercer. Grade: C
Defensive Line- Marcellus Wiley and Raylee Johnson started their assault on being the best sack tandem in the league this year by contributing 3.5 sacks between them. Overall they did a solid job against the run and allowed the linebackers to make plays. The line also managed to get constant pressure on David Carr. Jamal Williams was a non-factor in the game with 0 tackles. Grade: B
Linebackers- The game ball goes here. Ben Leber starred in the show with 3 sacks and a forced fumble in the end zone where Johnson promptly pounced on it for a TD. Junior Seau had a sack and an interception that he returned for 25 yards and setup a TD for Conway. Carlos Polk also contributed a sack. Donnie Edwards flashed his sideline-to-sideline speed and also contributed a half sack. Grade: A
Secondary- Vernon Fox started for the injured Rodney Harrison and snared his first career interception in the 4th quarter. Rogers Beckett also had a solid game with 6 tackles. As a group the secondary held the Texans to 6 receptions on 25 pass attempts. They did allow 2 passes over 20 yards but when you only allow 6 total receptions; you had a career day as a unit. Grade: A
Special Teams- Darren Bennet fell one punt short of tying a Charger record. He had 10 punts in the game, booted 2 inside the 20, and was able to minimize returns by Jermaine Lewis. Lewis did have one kickoff return for 37 yards but was otherwise kept in check. Tamarick Vanover fielded 5 punts and gained 0 total yards while signaling only one of those for a fair catch. Vanover also fumbled one which was recovered by Tay Cody. Steve Christie made the only FG he attempted, a 36 yarder. Grade: C
Coaching Staff- Marty had his coaches on offense call a conservative game. They did enough to win. They ran the ball 35 times and called for 30 pass plays, most of which were 6-10 yard throws. They were able to utilize Conway's size and get some longer plays, but he was the only receiver to catch a ball over 20 yards downfield. Dale Lindsey called a splendid defensive game. He used his linebackers to blitz and throw the Texans offensive line into missed assignments. Carr was pressured all day by the variety of looks Lindsey and the Chargers defense showed. Grade: B
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