Bolts Report Card: Week 18

The San Diego Chargers weren't perfect during Saturday's game against the Indianapolis Colts, but it was enough to advance to the Divisional Round for the third consecutive season. Here's a look at how the Bolts graded out during their latest playoff affair.

PASSING OFFENSE: C - Philip Rivers was good enough, although his numbers paled in comparison to most of his season. He completed 20-of-36 passes for 217 yards. But there were no touchdown passes and he had what could have been a costly turnover by trying to force a pass into coverage in the Colts' end zone. Antonio Gates ignored the pain in his sprained ankle to produce team highs in receptions (eight) and receiving yards (87). The stout Colts pass rush did sack him four times and pestered him much of the game. But it held up at critical junctions.

RUSHING OFFENSE: A -- LaDainian Tomlinson tried to go, but his strained groin would not allow it. He was restricted to five carries and a touchdown before leaving. The real story was the emergence of Darren Sproles as he proved he is more than just a gadget player. Despite his small frame, he rushed for 105 yards and two scores. The run blocking was good, and Sproles took advantage. Whether he can duplicate it Sunday against the physical Steelers' defense remains to be seen.


QB Peyton Manning
Harry How/Getty

PASS DEFENSE: B - The Chargers didn't blink in facing Peyton Manning, holding him to one touchdown pass - and that came when he hoodwinked the Chargers' defense with a quick snap. While the Chargers' pass rush didn't officially get to Manning with a sack or two, it supplied enough pressure to make him uncomfortable. On many occasions he was moving his feet and not sitting in the pocket, which cost him some accuracy. The Chargers dropped three, maybe four, interceptions that could have lifted this grade much higher. But whenever able to hold Manning down to the degree the Chargers did, that's a winning situation.

RUSH DEFENSE: C - The Colts weren't into establishing a rushing attack and it showed with Joseph Addai getting but 16 carries in a close game. The Colts totaled only 64 rushing yards and 56 of those came from their running backs. Jamal Williams was a force in the middle as he disrupted running lanes and collected five tackles. Igor Olshansky had a good game with three tackles.

SPECIAL TEAMS: A - Sproles was unbelievable with 151 return yards but the same could be said for P Mike Scifres. He had the best game of his career with six punts landing inside the 20 and a long of 67. It's difficult to overestimate how important Scifres' effort was as this game came down to field position toward the end. K Nate Kaeding was clutch on his 26-yard field goal in the last minute to send the game into overtime.

COACHING: A - Norv Turner was keen in his play-calling as he was able to keep the Colts off-balance during various stretches in the game. Defensive coordinator Ron Rivera was solid as well in disguising coverages and matching wits with Manning. Both deserve credit, as does special teams coach Steve Crosby as his units turned in a sensational game. Kudos to Turner again for keeping this team together when the wheels were falling off in midseason. That had to come into play when it trailed the Colts with less than a minute to play.


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