--The Chargers starting offensive line held two held two new faces, left tackle L.J. Shelton and center Jeremy Newberry, and still proved powerful and effective. The Carolina Panthers brought a lot of pressure, but the line allowed QB Philip Rivers to be sacked only once. Rivers completed an impressive 17-of-27 passes for 217 yards and three TDs. Newberry made the protection calls and kept the line in sync.
--The Chargers' red zone defense excelled by keeping the Panthers out of the end zone for more than 59 minutes. In the first half, the Panthers earned three red-zone opportunities and the Bolts stopped them from converting any into touchdowns. Rookie CB Antoine Cason prevented the Panthers first possible touchdown with a solid tackle on Panthers receiver Muhsin Muhammad at the 1-yard line. In the second quarter, S Eric Weddle broke up a short pass down the middle, halting another drive. Aided by LB Shaun Phillips, DE Igor Olshansky put a stop to the Panthers' final red-zone try in the first half by recording San Diego's only sack.
TE Antonio Gates
--The Bolts' running game appeared in rhythm as RB LaDainian Tomlinson led the team with 21 carries for 97 yards- just 3 yards shy of marking his fifth 100-yard rushing performance on opening day.
--Although TE Antonio Gates failed to play during any of the exhibition games due to a mending toe injury, he contributed with four catches, 61 yards and a TD.
--WR Vincent Jackson showed solid blocking skills as he spent the majority of the first three quarters clearing holes for L.T and aiding in others getting open. When it counted most, Jackson didn't buckle under pressure and grabbed three passes for 47 yards in the fourth quarter. With 2:27 on the clock, he made a 5-yard grab from Rivers that put the Bolts ahead, 24-19.
--By not allowing the Panthers to score in the first quarter, the Chargers extended an impressive streak of not allowing a single point at home in the first quarter to an opposing team since the Arizona Cardinals scored a first-quarter touchdown in December of 2006.
What Didn't Work
--San Diego allowed the Panthers to capitalize on its errors, which likely cost the Chargers the game. At the end of the first half, a Scifres punt went off the leg of former Charger Mark Jones. WR Malcom Floyd attempted to recover the ball at the 2-yard line, but it rolled away from him and into the end zone, where the Panthers recovered the ball for a touchback.
HC Norv Turner
--While the Bolts' defense established an impacting force in the red zone, the need for better discipline against the run was apparent. The Panthers registered 142 rushing yards, averaging 4.9 yards per carry. With 388 total offensive yards, the Panthers ranked fifth in the NFL on Sunday.
--The Chargers failed to do the one thing asked of all championship teams: Finish. After allowing the Panthers to make an 11-play, 68-yard drive during the final 2:27, Carolina scored a game-winning touchdown on a 14-yard pass with no time left on the clock.
--While the Bolts had lost only one of their previous 16 regular-season home games, they will leave Qualcomm Stadium and meet the Denver Broncos on the road on Sunday. Last time the Bolts played in Denver, San Diego sealed a 41-3 victory. Rivers holds a 4-0 career against the Broncos and looks to add to his success.