The Week Ahead

The San Diego Chargers (8-7) face the Seattle Seahawks (6-9) to end out the season on Sunday at Qualcomm. The Chargers hope to end the season on a winning note and cling to the slimmest of hopes that they can still secure a playoff berth. Game time is 1:15 PM PST.

Last time they met

12/30/01: Seahawks 25 at Chargers 22. Seattle's Rian Lindell kicks a 54-yard field goal as time expires as Seahawks KR Charlie Rogers sets up the field goal with a 64-yard return.

Last week Seattle beat the St. Louis Rams last week by the score of 30-10. Seattle forced five turnovers in the game scoring 10 points off the errors of the Rams. Matt Hasselbeck (20-32, 303 yard, one touchdown) led the way for the Seahawks, his third 300-yard passing game since replacing the injured Trent Dilfer eight weeks ago. Seattle is 5-4 since then and won for the second straight week. Shaun Alexander had two rushing touchdowns (17 on the season) to spur the Seahawks on to victory.

The Chargers lost the game of inches to the Kansas City Chiefs 24-22 at Arrowhead Stadium. San Diego allowed its seventh 300-yard passing game against as Trent Green passed for 337 yards including a 99 yard touchdown pass (tying a league record) to Marc Boerigter. Michael Husted hit the game winning field goal with 1:13 remaining in the game. The Chargers had one last opportunity to get the in. Drew Brees (26-40, 242 yards, two touchdowns) got 15 yards on a QB sneak to bring the ball to midfield. With :43 seconds left Brees hit Reche Caldwell who caught the ball and fumbled it away while trying to gain a few extra yards.

The skinny

Hasselbeck has shown poise since taking over for Dilfer. He is not making the numerous mistakes he once was and appears to be the future at quarterback for the Seahawks. That spells trouble for the Chargers secondary who have allowed a number of big plays. The Seahawks also have Alexander who is among the league's best running backs to add balance to the offense.

The Chargers will look to exploit the #32 ranked rushing defense in the league. LaDainian Tomlinson (1616) leads the charge and is looking to take over the rushing lead from Ricky Williams (1668). The Seahawks are allowing an average of 156.9 yards per game on the ground so the early findings are promising.

Keys to the game

1. Tackle. The Chargers have been plagued by missed tackles all season which is surprising from a Marty Schottenheimer coached team. They need to be in position to make tackles to win on Sunday.

2. Pass downfield. Brees is young and had a number of opportunities to hit some deep passes against KC. He put a little too much air under the ball but that gameplan cannot be abandoned.

3. Time. Brees also needs time in the pocket and Seattle is not a great sack creating team. When Brees has had time he has been successful and the Chargers want to end on a successful note to their 2002 campaign.

4. Continue the positive play on special teams. Tim Dwight has added an attitude to the return game and Darren Bennett is showing why he is a former Pro Bowler. The coverage on punts and kickoffs has also stepped up and solid play from these units help the offense and defense.

5. Third down conversion. They need to run the ball effectively on first and second downs to make third down manageable. The Chargers have been dreadful on third down of late and not being able to extend a drive has led to their demise.

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