RB LaDainian Tomlinson
PASS DEFENSE: F -- Ugh -- this phase looks equally as bad on both sides of the Atlantic. With no pass rush, Drew Brees sliced and diced a secondary that was asked to stay with receivers longer than it could. Antonio Cromartie and Quentin Jammer have had better days, and the safety play was also lacking. But it gets back to the lack of a pass rush -- 10 consecutive quarters without a sack -- which is the foundation of this collapse.
RUSH DEFENSE: B -- No complaints here, although the Saints do most of their "rushing" with little swing passes that are about the same thing. LB Tim Dobbins had a team-high seven tackles inside. DT Jamal Williams didn't have one but clogged things up front. The Saints may have collected 409 yards, but only 70 came on the ground -- although this unit did allow two touchdowns.
SPECIAL TEAMS: D -- A killer second-quarter fumble by Darren Sproles was turned into a touchdown by the Saints, who seized momentum. Kassim Osgood continues to play at a Pro Bowl level on the coverage teams. There were no problems with the legs of P Mike Scifres or K Nate Kaeding.
COACHING: F -- Something isn't clicking, and 14 penalties are among the indicators. The Chargers have yet to solve -- through scheme or personnel -- how to stop opposing passing games. Defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell remains reluctant to let the corners play more man than zone; maybe he's not confident in their abilities. What we do know is there is no pass rush, either through players winning plays or fancy stunt packages. As long as the Chargers can't figure out how to get, and slow, opposing quarterbacks, it will be a long second half of a season. The offense is playing well, and Norv Turner deserves attention there. But he also, as the head coach, needs to become more involved in a defensive game plan or its approach. He must find the answers to a team shortcoming that could torpedo the Chargers' season.