Bolts Report Card: Week 7

The San Diego Chargers dropped their fourth game of the season on Sunday, which is only one loss less than the team endured in all of 2007. Expectedly, the team's performance in its latest stumble netted a Bart Simpson-esque report card.

PASSING OFFENSE: D -- Philip Rivers had a solid game -- although committing three turnovers that cost the team a victory has a way of deflating a scorecard. That is the case here, as Rivers threw an interception deep in Buffalo territory and also lost two fumbles. Those miscues overshadow his 22-for-29 passing for 208 yards and a score. The pass protection was stout, although the one sack that was absorbed resulted in Rivers' second fumble, derailing any shot of a comeback. WRs Vincent Jackson and Malcom Floyd continue to shine without Chris Chambers being in the lineup.

RUSHING OFFENSE: F -- A hole was spotted here and there, and LaDainian Tomlinson showed a burst now and again. But realistically, the running game stinks. The Chargers were held to 72 yards, and they can thank Jackson's 31-yard reverse for inflating that number. Take your pick: Tomlinson is washed up and got old and hurt; the offensive line isn't clicking on all cylinders; the team misses Pro Bowl FB Lorenzo Neal -- or all of the above. But this running game -- especially considering how much Norv Turner loves to run -- is just terrible.


CB Antonio Cromartie
Stephen Dunn/Getty

PASS DEFENSE: F -- One doesn't have to be Vince Lombardi to know that any quarterback coming back from a concussion needs to be knocked around early in the game. But the Chargers never got to Trent Edwards, who for much of the game looked as if he were conducting a nine-on-seven drill. No inside pressure, no outside pressure. There were few blitzes, and when they were called, they were ineffective. The result was predictable, with Edwards going 25-for-30 for 261 yards and a score. The cornerbacks were exposed because they had to stay with the receivers so long -- that, and their tackling wasn't very good after the receptions were made.

RUSH DEFENSE: C-minus -- Another 100-yard game for an opponent, as the inside of the Chargers run defense continues to get picked on. Marshawn Lynch got many of his 70 yards late in the game, which illustrates the point perfectly. When the Chargers are trailing and absolutely have to get off the field, they can't stop the big running play when they most need to. Poor tackle and poor angles lead to another poor effort.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B -- Kassim Osgood was sensational in helping down a punt at the Buffalo 1 to give the Chargers good field position. P Mike Scifres only had two punts and was OK. The coverage units did well in slowing Roscoe Parrish to a five-yard punt return on his lone attempt. Nothing all that keen about the Chargers' return game.

COACHING: F -- The offense can't stay on the field long enough to get very deep in the playbook. Does Turner need to stop calling running plays? Need to tell Tomlinson to sit down and get healthy? Need to read a motivational book to fire up his charges? And is defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell content to play the read-and-react, bend-but-don't-break approach? Just know that the Bills rolled up 370 yards, 22 first downs and hogged the ball for 10 more minutes than the Chargers had it. Somehow, someway, the Chargers have to devise a plan to get after quarterbacks -- if not, nothing will help.


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