Bolts Report Card: Week 15

If only every game could be against an AFC West foe. After beating the Kansas City Chiefs, 22-21, the San Diego Chargers are now 4-1 in the division, and would be 5-0 if not for a blown call by referee Ed Hochuli. Here's a look at how the Bolts graded out during their latest divisional affair.

PASSING OFFENSE: B -- Philip Rivers was sensational down the stretch where he led a dramatic rally which came mostly from the air. He threw for two touchdowns and did it behind a mix-and-match offensive line. He finished 34-of-48 passes for 346 yards. But he also lost two fumbles and threw an interception that was nearly returned for a touchdown. Rivers was getting smacked around pretty well by a pass rush that entered the game with but six sacks; he was sacked three times. The pass-blocking was up to par - two starters were out late in the game. WRs Vincent Jackson and Malcolm Floyd were clutch; Antonio Gates reliable.

RUSHING OFFENSE: D -- The Chargers couldn't run the ball with LaDainian Tomlinson averaging but 2.6 yards on 15 carries. He had a score, but just 39 yards as he was consistently met in the backfield. The line was missing RG Kris Dielman (ejected) and C Nick Hardwick (concussion) and it showed; Jeromey Clary was also being pushed around.


LB Stephen Cooper
Harry How/Getty

PASS DEFENSE: B -- The numbers allowed by QB Tyler Thigpen weren't gaudy - 171 receiving yards, one TD. But in the first half the pass coverage was soft, and the Chargers weren't tackling well after receptions, allowing the Chiefs to roll up first down after first down. That switched in the second half and the result was the Chargers getting back into the game. Stephen Cooper had a big pick in the first half in the end zone.

RUSH DEFENSE: A -- DT Jamal Williams was a big-time force - in particular he smacked Thigpen on a run; Cooper had 11 tackles. The Chargers were hurt here mostly by Thigpen running for first downs from the shotgun or pistol formations. Larry Johnson averaged only 3.2 yards on 17 carries. The tackling here, though, was spotty.

SPECIAL TEAMS: A -- Great effort on the onside kick which gave the Chargers a chance. Mike Scifres supplied the kick, with Kassim Osgood wrestling away control of the ball. K Nate Kaeding had a 32-yard field goal in the wind. Coverage units were fine. Darren Sproles had a 40-yard kickoff return.

COACHING: B -- Coach Norv Turner's bunch came out flat - he says otherwise - in the first half. But the Chargers were manhandled on both sides of the ball and almost seemed disinterested in falling behind 21-3 at the half. But they came back with a renewed effort - coordinator Ron Rivera tweaked some personnel groups - and the result was one of the most unlikely Chargers victories in recent memory. Whether or not Turner was the reason the Chargers started playing with a purpose, can be debated. But he's been criticized enough so that when it does happen, he deserves his share of the credit.


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