Chargers Switch Focus to Packers

Following a humiliating prime-time pratfall, the Chargers are eager to get back on the field and prove they are better than what they've shown. The goal is to jump on the Packers early, allowing L.T. to get his full allotment of carries and Shawne Merriman to take his shots at the quarterback.

The Chargers head back out on the road to Green Bay following Sunday's 38-14 loss to the Patriots.

"It's a humbling game," said quarterback Philip Rivers, who had four turnovers in the loss. "We thought we were going to come in here and win and play well and we do just the opposite. This is a good old-fashioned whipping we took."

Hoping to rebound, the Chargers need to get back to their winning ways in Green Bay. Among the reasons for the Chargers' success last year was their prowess on the road. They lost but twice, going 6-2 with two incredible comeback wins at Cincinnati and Denver. They also prevailed with a late touchdown at Seattle.

"I like to call us the road warriors," Pro Bowl linebacker Shawne Merriman said. "We have to go into somebody's house and play like it is ours. As long as we play with confidence and not let the crowd discourage us and play our game, we get a win and get the hell of the field."

Merriman, who studies past players and teams, knows it's special to play at Lambeau Field. Especially with future Hall of Famer Brett Favre at quarterback for the Packers.

"It's going to be a pleasure to hit Favre if I get to him," said Merriman, the NFL sack leader last year with 17. "That's not out of disrespect, but respect.

"I would love to get a chance to put a nice lick on Favre because I know he is going to get up and laugh about. Nothing personal about Favre, but I've always wanted to hit Favre since I was a kid. I want to be able to tell my kids I went out there and tried to knock Favre out and I got him."

Merriman said he appreciates Favre for more than his quick release and precision passes.

"He's a total football player and that is what you look for as your leader of your team," Merriman said. "And he has been doing it before I watched football."

In addition to staring down Favre, Merriman gets to soak in Lambeau Field.

"That's probably one of the most historic stadiums -- Lambeau Field, that frozen tundra," he said. "It's been a dream for me to play there for a long time."

But one dream likely won't be realized. Merriman seeks it to really be a frozen tundra -- that's probably not going to happen in late September.

"I want it to be blistering cold," he said. "I don't want to have good weather."

The Chargers have to be good -- like last year -- on the road to reach the playoffs for consecutive years for the first time since 1994-95.

Merriman said being stout on the road is the key to any season. He knows not only will the Chargers have to overcome the Packers, but their rabid fans as well.

"They are going to be fired up and hyped and do what good teams are suppose to do, and that is be that 12th man," Merriman said. "They can have an effect on players and get in players' heads."

It's important, Merriman said, for the Chargers to start fast.

"If you can take the thunder out of that storm early, then you are just dealing with lightning," he said. "But we can deal with lightning.

And when a big Merriman sack silences a rival's crowd?

"It sounds like a band when somebody screws up," he said, "and everybody stops playing."

--The Chargers are facing some unexpected offensive issues after being shut out in the first half for the second consecutive week.

Quarterback Philip Rivers threw two interceptions and running back LaDainian Tomlinson again found precious little running room as San Diego fell behind 24-0 in New England on Sunday night.

"To hold this offense to zero points at halftime two weeks in a row, it's not the defense; it's the offense," fullback Lorenzo Neal said. "We've got to look at the film and make some corrections. I'm not saying both teams aren't good, but there is no way two teams should be able to hold us to zero points in the first half. We have too many weapons and too many big time players."

The offensive line, which led the way for Tomlinson's record-breaking 2006 season, isn't creating many running lanes and failed to hold up in pass protection after San Diego fell into a deep hole.

Rivers was sacked three times for 30 yards, including once when left tackle Marcus McNeill was beaten badly by Patriots outside linebacker Rosevelt Colvin. Of course, the offensive line was put on its heels in part because Rivers helped create the deficit with his two first-half interceptions.

"We said all week we can't give them a short field and we've got to keep the ball away from them," Rivers said. "We didn't do either of those things. You can't dig a 24-0 hole against these guys."

The defense isn't without fault, either. The normally stout unit was blistered for 407 total yards against the Patriots, including 279 through the air by quarterback Tom Brady.

"The biggest thing you have to do in this league is play a complete game, and I don't think we helped ourselves in any phase," coach Norv Turner said. "They came out and spread the field on us. They got their quick guys running underneath and Randy (Moss) running up the field. Then we turned the ball over. That's not playing the way we need to."


--RT Shane Olivea left the game with a back injury and will be monitored this week.

--DT Jamal Williams played sparingly in the second half after suffering a forearm injury.

--ILB Tim Dobbins and not Matt Wilhelm played most the game at inside linebacker against New England. Wilhelm injured the same calf that caused him to miss all of training camp, albeit in a different part of the leg.

--WR Eric Parker will likely miss the next two games after his preseason toe surgery.

--Rookie WR Craig Davis started for the second consecutive game over Malcom Floyd, but failed to catch a pass. Floyd caught one pass for 19 yards.

--OLB Shawne Merriman had two sacks in New England, giving him multiple sacks in eight of his 24 career games.

--QB Philip Rivers threw two costly first-half interceptions. He finished with 179 passing yards, but had just 63 in the first half. He was under constant pressure when the Chargers were forced to go almost exclusively to the pass.

"Rivers did a good job of stepping up. I don't know how he got rid of some of those," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. "It seemed like we were hanging all over him, but he was able to stand in there and make some throws. You have to give him credit on that. He did a good job."

--RB LaDainian Tomlinson is averaging just 1.9 yards per carry after rushing for 43 yards on 18 attempts in New England.

"I think the score had a lot to do with it," Belichick said. "No one guy can stop him. It has to be good team defense -- our secondary and our force perimeter players and outside linebackers and the three down linemen and the inside backers, being in the right fits, being in the right gaps, taking on good offensive linemen and trying to defeat those blocks and then tackle a runner who is a good runner. It's team defense. There's no one guy. There's no one secret to it. Everybody has to play well."

--Rookie LB Anthony Waters was inactive for the second consecutive week.

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