Key Matchups for Week 6

The high powered Kansas City offense faces the Chargers offense in a game where the Bolts will need to make a statement about their identity and make plays downfield.

Offensive Playcalling

The Chargers strength is their running game. That is a fact. Now they will need to setup the run by passing more in the first half and becoming a balanced team. Some teams run in order to pass effectively. The Bolts are in the opposite position. They will see 8 men in the box from Kansas City this week. No longer will LaDainian Tomlinson be able to run wild in the secondary unless…

"Obviously, our point is going to be, 'Well, if you're going to do that, then in our minds we're going to throw it.' That's kind of the attitude that it takes," Drew Brees had to say. Now that is a welcome attitude. Throw the ball effectively and teams will not be able to gang up on the line of scrimmage anticipating a run. Keep the opposing teams honest.

The passing game was non-existent before the second half of last week's game. The Chargers offense is built to take leads and hold leads, not to make a comeback. That fatal flaw was seen last week when they went down 19-0 at halftime to the Denver Broncos. The Chargers' 138 pass attempts are fewer than every other club that has played five games, and this includes last week's game when they threw 33 passes in the second half alone. The thing is the pass protection behind this young offensive line has been stellar. Troubling is the fact that Curtis Conway is the only receiver making plays. Times are a lot tougher when Tim Dwight has yet to establish himself as the No. 2 receiver and rookie Reche Caldwell has caught one pass as the No. 3.

"It's very hard to develop a rhythm when you don't work at it," Dwight said. "Even in practice you don't get a lot of shots at it. You only get so many reps in team and seven-on-seven drills, so it is hard to establish that."

Not exactly words that inspire confidence, or a renewed fervor for the passing game. Adding fuel to that fire is two rookie tight ends, Justin Peelle and Josh Norman, will be taking all the snaps in place of an injured Stephen Alexander.

It is therefore up to the coaches to make things happen. Spread the field. The Chargers are facing the No. 32 passing defense (317 YPG) in the NFL this week. If they cannot get it done this week, they may not get it done at all.

No more vanilla, give me the spice.

Stop Priest Holmes

Holmes is only the No. 1 rusher in the league with 590 yards and leads the Chiefs in receptions with 31. Holmes has accounted for 803 yards from scrimmage through 5 games. This pace would put him over 2,500 yards for the season. It is safe to say he is a key factor to the Chiefs winning. The Jets last week were unable to stop Holmes as he tore them up. On the last drive of the game where the Chiefs won the game, 6 of the 7 positive plays went to Holmes. A weapon they knew they had to control but could not. Right now he is the best back in the league and coming off AFC Offensive Player of the Week Honors.

If the Chiefs are able to run the ball with Holmes it will open the offense up to their other playmakers including Tony Gonzalez and Johnnie Morton. It all starts and stops here.

Rodney Harrison who is still questionable for Sunday's game stated, "You match up with them, you challenge them and you go up there and compete with them. You can't sit back and let them dictate what they want to do. You go up there and challenge them like we've done in the past."

Another questionable member of the Chargers team added, "You always want to stop the run first. If you allow them to run, it just opens their whole playbook to whatever they want to do. If you stop the run and turn them into a one-dimensional team, then you can start blitzing cornerbacks and linebackers and putting pressure.

"We never had the opportunity to do that against Denver (last week). We got behind early and we were on our heels. We don't play that way. We're always on the attack."

Nov. 4 of last season Holmes decimated the Bolts' defense for 181 rushing yards, the most ever given up by San Diego to an opposing running back. Another day like that and a home loss will become a reality.

Seau added, "Home games are so important. You have to have those games. We have eight games here at Qualcomm Stadium. Our fan base is behind us. It's tough playing away in our conference. We have to go out there on our home turf and defend it."

The job is for a team that may be without 3 Pro Bowlers (Wiley, Harrison & Seau) to come together and play as a cohesive unit. They will have to tackle on first contact and stay in their lanes. They must also apply the pressure on Holmes and make them use another weapon to beat them.

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