Bolts Report Card

The final Chargers report card of the 2007 season includes a rare occurrence -- the Chargers run defense was the weakest link of the team. The Patriots piled up 149 yards on the ground and averaged 4.8 yards per carry in running San Diego out of the playoffs.

PASSING OFFENSE: C -- Philip Rivers gets credit for playing on two gimpy knees. But it was obvious he could push off little and put zip on his passes and he was compromised moving in and out of the pocket. He completed 19-of-37 passes for 211 yards and two interceptions. WR Chris Chambers didn't click with Rivers on a route which nearly resulted in a touchdown as he was out of the end zone. And Chambers later had a pass wrestled away from him for an interception.

RUSHING OFFENSE: B -- With LaDainian Tomlinson restricted to two first-quarter carries, the onus fell on Michael Turner and Darren Sproles to carry the ball. And the Chargers weren't bad as they piled up 104 rushing yards. But it was clear how much Tomlinson was missed as a rusher -- and receiver -- as the team consistently struggled in the red zone. Run-blocking was good to great at times.

PASS DEFENSE: B -- The Chargers' ball-hawks were able to pick off Tom Brady three times, but it still wasn't enough to sneak out a win. But they got good pressure on Brady and sacked him twice. He did throw for two touchdowns and the Chargers' pass defense couldn't stop him in the fourth quarter. This unit played well enough to win, but the tepid offense let it down.

RUSH DEFENSE: D -- The Chargers hang their hat on their run defense, but they had too many open lanes for the Patriots as they piled up 149 rushing yards. DT Jamal Williams was battling an ankle injury and it showed. The front line of the Patriots had its way with the Chargers' front and again, down the stretch, the Chargers' run defense had no answers.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B -- K Nate Kaeding didn't miss on four attempts -- the first time in four playoff games that he didn't miss a field goal. But Kaeding's kickoffs weren't strong enough and that killed the Chargers in the field position game. The Chargers were hoping to get a boost from their return game, but Darren Sproles had but one good return -- a kickoff for 23 yards.

COACHING: B -- Norv Turner had his team believing it could upset the Patriots and it nearly did. But Turner needed his full squad of weapons, and he didn't have it with Tomlinson out and Rivers limping around. There were some eyebrows raised when Turner decided to give the ball back to the Patriots with about nine minutes left and trailing by the 21-12 count. The Chargers never got the ball back. But really, Turner didn't have a good fourth-and-10 play from the New England 36, not with his stars hobbling and the Patriots going to their blitz package leading up to that play.

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