Bolts Notebook: Bash with the Birds

The San Diego Chargers seek their second consecutive road win when they scrap with the Atlanta Falcons Saturday. Some familiar faces await in the Georgia Dome, and the Chargers are hoping for a familiar outcome.

Preseason Power

The San Diego Chargers and Atlanta Falcons have met five times in the preseason, with the Chargers holding a 4-1 mark in those games. That's a far cry from the regular season encounters in this series, where the Falcons hold a sizable 7-1 edge.

The teams' previous meeting came in Week 13 last season, when the Falcons flew into San Diego and captured a 22-16 win.

Dome Sweet Dome

Saturday's contest marks the Falcons' first home game since 2008. Atlanta played its first two preseason games on the road, posting a 27-26 loss versus the Detroit Lions and a 20-13 win over the St. Louis Rams.

The Falcons were dominant at home in 2008, finishing with a 7-1 record. The team's only home loss came against San Diego's AFC West rival, the Denver Broncos.

You, Again

OG Louis Vasquez
Shana Siler/
Atlanta's victory over the Chargers last season was spearheaded by former Charger RB Michael Turner, who carried 31 times for 120 yards. Turner excelled in his first season outside of LaDainian Tomlinson's shadow, finishing second in the NFL in both rushing yards (1,699) and rushing touchdowns (17).

Turner isn't the only former Charger on Atlanta's roster. TE Justin Peelle, who spent his first four seasons in San Diego, enters his second year as a Falcon. Peelle didn't have a statistically dominant 2008 season like Turner, catching only 15 passes, yet three of those receptions came against the Chargers, including an 18-yard touchdown.

On the Flip Side

OG Kynan Forney (neck) may face the Falcons for the first time since Atlanta released him prior to the 2008 season -- he was inactive for last season's matchup. Forney missed last week's game with a neck injury and could sit this week, as well, as rookie Louis Vasquez continues to run with the first string as Forney heals.

Forney's departure from Atlanta was contentious. Last season, even while glued to San Diego's bench, he was quick to explain why the situation in San Diego was so much better than that in Atlanta.

"[The Chargers] take care of their players during the week," said Forney following a Week 5 loss in Miami. "They're not trying to kill you to where you're barely surviving and scratching on Sunday. They bring you into the game fresh. Coach [Norv] Turner treats us like men."

Lightning Quicks

Coach Norv Turner anticipates his starters playing into the third quarter on Saturday. ... LaDainian Tomlinson, who has 12 carries this preseason after sitting out the previous three preseasons, is unlikely to play on Saturday. ... Antonio Gates is likely out, as well, as he gives his body some time off. ... Shawne Merriman, who missed most of this week's practices to rest his surgically repaired knee, is unlikely to play as long as the rest of the starters. ... Defensive linemen Jacques Cesaire (calf) and Vaughn Martin (groin) will both be out. That means extended run for promising youngsters Keith Grennan, Andre Coleman and Ogemdi Nwagbuo.

What are you looking for in Saturday's game? Talk about it in the message boards.

Michael Lombardo is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and a long-time contributor to the network. His analysis has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports. He has followed the Chargers for more than 15 years and covered the team since 2003.

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