PASSING OFFENSE: A -- Philip Rivers continues to prove what an injustice it was keeping him off the Pro Bowl team. The NFL's top-rated passer threw for 287 yards and a career-high four touchdowns. The pass-blocking was superb -- the lone sack was more about Rivers having so much time to look at various receivers. Antonio Gates had two scoring catches, showing off his athletic skills on both of them. Vincent Jackson continues to rack up No. 1 wide receiver numbers, as he went over 1,000 yards for the season. Darren Sproles is turning short passes into big gains and touchdowns.
RUSHING OFFENSE: B-plus -- LaDainian Tomlinson fell 10 yards short of 100, but the run-blocking was keen for the majority of the game. Tomlinson had some of the better running lanes he has seen in a while, as the offensive line played well. It was a promising effort by this unit, which no longer holds the spotlight as in years past.
PASS DEFENSE: B -- Jeff Garcia threw for a score and 232 yards as the secondary did a decent job. San Diego did blow coverage on a 71-yard touchdown to Antonio Bryant, but S Clinton Hart was able to recover a fumble, and rookie Antonio Cason scored on an interception to seal the win.
RUSH DEFENSE: B -- DT Jamal Williams continues to play like a Pro Bowler -- he's not -- and the linebackers also were pretty good. The Bucs running backs never could get a rhythm going, and the leading rusher was Garcia with 45 yards. ILB Stephen Cooper (10 tackles) was solid, and CB Quentin Jammer made an impact by laying a monster hit on Garcia on one late scramble.
SPECIAL TEAMS: A -- Sproles is again gobbling up big yardage on returns, finishing with 127 off kickoffs and 45 off two punts. He often delivered great field position, and once when he didn't, Nate Kaeding boomed a franchise-best 52-yard field goal. There was one hiccup on a 72-yard return by Clifton Smith that led to a touchdown.
COACHING: A -- To go into Tampa Bay and deliver the Bucs their first home loss late in December is impressive. Coach Norv Turner was creative on offense, leaning on Rivers most the day, not forgetting about Tomlinson, then dropping Sproles into the mix late. The defense was aggressive, and it created two turnovers. Special teams were on the mark as well. It was likely the Chargers' most complete game, and certainly it came with the most on the line.
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