Identity

Through the first 4 games of the season no rhythm could be found between Drew Brees and any receiver not named Conway or Tomlinson. The problem with that is no rapport was being made with the guys who will need to step up big in games to come. Coincidently a lack of trust may have developed from the lack of getting other receivers the ball.

Like an avalanche it all came crashing down. The Chargers curious play-calling in the first half in Denver ultimately led to their demise. The lack of the coaching staff to get these cogs in the offense involved in previous games came back to bite them. ‘Marty Ball' got us to 4-0 you say. To counter that statement we show you exhibit A:

The Chargers called 17 run plays in the first half while calling only 9 pass plays. Stop Tomlinson and you have tamed the Chargers based on those numbers. Even worse was the play that resulted in an interception in the Denver end zone. On the play Deltha O'Neal was not even covering Stephen Alexander, who the pass was intended for, but was rather in the area covering another Charger receiver. What happened to spacing receivers out, especially if Alexander was the primary target on the play. What this says is there is a lack of plays in this offense.

Drew Brees offered up this after the game, "We were able to drive the ball a little, but turnovers killed us. We kinda beat ourselves. But the reverses and fake reverses are part of our offense. They are going to have respect our reverses. If not, we are going to run our reverses and get some big plays that way. We are going to run it inside and we are going to run it outside."

These plays do work great, but only when there is a threat of a passing game. Right now there is no consistent threat. All in all the Chargers have a vanilla offense. The fake reverses are the only things working. Not having faith in Brees in that first half was the evolution from the first 4 games. Let's face it; although Brees threw 35 passes in the 2nd half, it was because he had no choice. The lack of playmaking in the first half and the lack of calling on Brees to rally his troops, even after the Broncos were up 2 minutes into the game, is puzzling. Taking a further look inside the numbers:

Of the 9 pass plays, 4 went to Curtis Conway (1 complete), 2 went to LaDainian Tomlinson (2 complete), 2 went to Tim Dwight (1 complete), and the last one was intended for Alexander but picked off by O'Neal. Not exactly making any teams defending the Chargers have any reason not to simply defend the run.

The best thing one can say after viewing this game is that the Chargers have learned. Brees added, "A quote from Marty Schottenheimer that I like is 'that which does not kill you only will make you stronger.' There was going to be a point in the season where we were going to lose a game. We will deal with this. I hope this will make us better."

Two interceptions turned into 14 points, or the difference in the game. The first one should have been avoided by Brees who had 2nd and goal at the 6, but it did not help that the routes run by receivers were so close together. The second interception was in desperation and was bound to happen as the Chargers ran the ball once in the second half.

A better game-plan, mixing in play-action and runs in the Chargers first four games would have translated into a different feel for this team, and not one trying to find its identity during the 5th game. The opportunities to get some of the receivers more exposure were there in the first few games and even a few wide receiver screens would have helped play this drama out. This would have given the Chargers a shot in the first half, and the second half is played differently.

Last Word

In the third quarter with the Chargers down 19-0 and the ball on the 6 yard line, Coach Schottenheimer decided to kick a field goal on 4th and 1. Brees was 5-7 on the drive and seemed to be building confidence. The choice of kicking the field goal points to the little faith that they could manage that 1 yard. Even with the 3 points, the Chargers remained three scores down or two scores and two 2-point conversion down. That 1 yard had a seasons worth of confidence on it and the coaching staff chose to ignore it.

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