But this ship that was to sail straight to the Super Bowl has hit some rough seas.
The only bright spot for the Chargers is that the season is still young.
"I said all along that this was only the second game and this game wouldn't make or break either team," running back LaDainian Tomlinson said. "But it's certainly disappointing just by the way the game turned out. I thought it would be a little bit closer, but they proved to be a much better team today."
The Patriots proved to be the better team from the opening kickoff until the game -- thankfully for the Chargers -- came to an end.
"They made some plays and kept coming at us," outside linebacker Shawne Merriman said. "They didn't play at the same level. They kept turning it up. That's what good teams do. Right now, we need to get better as a team, and we will."
Nowhere is that upgrade needed more than in the running game. One week after rushing for but 25 yards, Tomlinson was restricted to 43 yards on 18 carries -- a puny 2.4-yard average.
"It was pretty tough, probably one of the toughest I can remember," Tomlinson said, "especially with the way they started offensively and the way we started. We couldn't really respond to anything they were doing, and it kind of got away from us early."
It's obvious the high-octane offense has looked like an old jalopy.
"We're not playing with crispness and the continuity that we will in time," new head coach Norv Turner said. "I think some of that is us, and some of that is who we are playing."
The team they are playing on Sunday is the undefeated Packers at 2-0.
If the Chargers show up with their same game, the Packers will be 3-0.
"We have to figure out what went wrong and get back to doing what we do," cornerback Quentin Jammer said.
The Chargers better show some sense of urgency in doing just that.
--According to reports, coach Norv Turner went against his usual routine by not providing the first 15 plays in paper form to his players in safeguarding against the Pats finding them. The Pats have been under fire for their spying.
"Obviously, that was the issue during the week," Turner said. "The great thing about this game, it's played between those white lines. A lot was made out of that. Certainly, we're going to take precautions like every team is going to take precautions but it comes down to playing the game."
--CB Drayton Florence was torched by Randy Moss for the third and last Tom Brady touchdown pass. This one for 24 yards came after Moss left Florence in his wake.
"It was a good pass and a good catch," Florence said. "You know he's going to try to throw the ball to Randy Moss."
But that didn't prevent Brady and Moss from hooking up. The play on national TV didn't help Florence's cause as he will be a free agent at the end of the season.
--They play four quarters, but QB Philip Rivers said this game was over when the Pats raced to a 24-0 lead.
"Truth be known, we got beat in the first half," Rivers said.
It marked the second straight week the Chargers had failed to score in the first half; in the opener, they rallied for a 14-3 win over the Bears.
--After being shut out in the opener, LB Shawne Merriman had two sacks in the loss to New England. Merriman led the NFL with 17 sacks last year. As promised, he has ditched his Lights Out dance after sacks this year. Merriman sounded fortunate to get to Brady as often as he did.
"It's tough to get pressure on him because you know the ball is coming out quick, but we still have to make plays, no matter what formation they're in," he said.
--RB LaDainian Tomlinson is concerned about the team's run blocking. It didn't help that RT Shane Olivea missed most of the game with a back injury.
"We had moments where we had a tough time blocking some of these guys," Tomlinson said. "We can block better than we blocked. Whatever it may be, we've got to fix it."
PLAYER PERSONNEL NOTES
--RT Shane Olivea is day-to-day with a back injury.
--PR Darren Sproles fielded one punt for zero yards and one kickoff for 20 yards. Sproles was chased from the opener with a concussion; Michael Turner remains the main kick returner.
--FB Andrew Pinnock is still nursing a sore hamstring and was among Sunday's inactives.
--G Mike Goff suffered a bruised knee in the game but should be fine for Sunday's Green Bay contest.
--OLB Shaun Phillips has a quadriceps contusion and that has caused him problems before. Phillips had 11 1/2 sacks last year.
--ILB Matt Wilhelm had a setback with his calf strain, which prevented him from playing in the majority of the preseason games.
--DT Jamal Williams went out with an elbow injury but was able to return during the game.
--WR Eric Parker is still out at least two more games after toe surgery.
REPORT CARD VS. PATRIOTS
PASSING OFFENSE: F -- OK, the Ryan Leaf comparisons are a tad off base -- but not much. Philip Rivers looked every bit like the bumbling Leaf when coughing up three turnovers -- two on interceptions -- in the first half, which derailed the Chargers' chances. Rivers was also sacked three times and felt the heat often as the pass blocking was sub-par. But the interceptions were mostly his doing as Rivers had his worst game in the pros.
RUSHING OFFENSE: F -- Something isn't right here for the second straight week and it needs to be addressed pronto. LaDainian Tomlinson is the MVP, but he can't avoid guys in the backfield and then find so few running holes on a consistent basis to be effective. Tomlinson had just 43 yards on 18 carries as the run blocking left much to be desired for the second straight week. One could write that off to playing the front sevens of the Bears and Pats on consecutive weeks, but there is more to it than that.
PASS DEFENSE: F -- The secondary was embarrassed -- it was that simple. At times, it looked like Tom Brady was running a nine-on-seven drill with receivers running free with the Chargers' back end blowing one coverage after another. CBs Drayton Florence and Quentin Hammer were exposed on numerous occasions as Brady threw for three TDs. Pass rush was minimized by Brady being in the shotgun and/or taking short drops. We keep hearing how the secondary is supposed to be better, but eyes don't lie and this unit was torched.
RUSH DEFENSE: D -- The Pats aren't known for their running game and that was evident on the opening drive when Brady was content to pick on the pass defense. But when growing bored watching the Chargers DBs get beat, the Pats managed to churn out 144 rushing yards. Sure, the Pats went to the run to milk the clock in the second half, but if that was so obvious, why couldn't the Chargers stop it? NT Jamal Williams tweaked an elbow, which didn't help, but the Pats' front line had its way with the Chargers' defensive line.
SPECIAL TEAMS: C -- The coverage units were pretty good -- yeah, a Chargers highlight. But the return game was very ordinary, save a 28-yard return by Michael Turner. And usual pinpoint P Mike Scifres had two touchbacks, which is odd for him.
COACHING: F -- The Curse of Marty? Too early to get out the voodoo doll but this club isn't clicking with the consistency and firepower it did last year under its ex-head coach, Marty Schottenheimer. To be fair, the Chargers have faced two dynamite rivals in the first two weeks. Big deal! We've been told over and over about this being the most talented team in the league. Well, that talent needs some direction, and for whatever reason, it's not coming from the coaching staff. The defense made no adjustments to stand up to the offensive blitz it saw in the first half. And head coach Norv Turner is an offensive guru, yet his squad his been held scoreless in the first two games' opening halves. The Chargers coaches were demolished just as much as the players were.
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