Bolts Aim to Buck Losing Ways Against Colts

After a loss to the Minnesota Vikings, San Diego's foam fingers are back in shotgun position. When a rookie running back sets an NFL record with 296 yards against an top-10 defense, people are going to talk. The Chargers heard the cynics but remain their own hardest critics.

"It's demoralizing, it's terrible to let anybody go out and rush for that many yards," said Shawne Merriman. "Especially how we play the game, how we play football. That's not supposed to happen and it did."

If Joseph Addai nets even half as many yards as Adrian Peterson, the Chargers will fall back below .500.

For Merriman, the Chargers' mediocre record does not speak of his team's talent.

"We are a team who let some games slip through our hands."

With each loss, the finger points back to Norv Turner. However, the players believe the responsibility is theirs. Case in point: missed tackles.

"I would love to see [Turner] go out and try to tackle somebody right now," Merriman said. "I would love to see Ted [Cottrell] try to tackle someone right now."

With his coaches' playing days behind them, Merriman knows it is up the 11 players on the field to make the tackles. Players need to make the plays. Merriman is willing to execute at the line or 30 yards down the field. Wherever the football is, Merriman said he needs to be there.

After a controversial and illustrious 2006 season, Merriman managed to get below the radar. His 5.5 sacks have let him do that.

All season, teams with weak running games have chosen to pass against the San Diego defense because of the big plays it allowed last season. Peyton Manning will not come into Sunday's game afraid. The Chargers need to unleash Merriman and pass rush to win in week 10.

3-4 The Magic Number

Colts head coach Tony Dungy knows the Chargers' number. It is 3-4. Merriman, Shaun Phillips, Stephen Cooper and Matt Wilhelm will attempt to create mismatches and put guys on their backs and out of pattern.

"There's a little bit of a chess match," Dungy said of the 3-4 scheme. "And then, even when you figure out who is coming, you have to get them blocked. Shawne Merriman and those guys are not easy guys to block even when you do get it figured out."

Dungy expects San Diego to bring all it has to Sunday's game.

"They're still in first place," Dungy said. "It's not like they're out of it in their division race, so we expect to see that team that everyone thought they would see from them."

The Chargers are still at the top of the AFC West, but they face another top running back on Sunday. After splitting carries with Dominic Rhodes last season, Addai is the Colts' primary ball carrier. Addai passed the 100 mark in both rushing and receiving in the Colts loss against the New England Patriots last Sunday.

Turner on Back Burner

The Colts are sure they will see RB Michael Turner in Sunday's game. Turner could be the premier back on many teams, but behind L.T. he does not get the notoriety his game could create.

"They have a great one-two punch, and [Tomlinson and Turner] know how to run the football, so we're going to have to be ready for both of them," Dungy said. "Turner is obviously a guy who can make long runs when he gets in the open field and runs with power. We're pretty familiar with both of those guys."


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