Bolts Break the Bank

Despite an incredible rushing effort by fullback Brad Hoover, the Carolina Panthers fell at home to the San Diego Chargers. The Panthers (1-5) controlled most of the game and contained elusive running back Ladanian Tomlinson to under 50 yards but failed to convert on crucial goal line opportunities and open receivers and fell to the visiting San Diego Chargers 17-6.<br><br>

Led by quarterback Drew Brees, the Chargers were able to capitalize on costly Panther penalties late in the game and used several key pass completions to set themselves up for scoring drives. Brees, has apparently been inspired all season to keep his starting position by the Chargers drafting rookie quarterback Phillip Rivers in the draft, went 21 for 32 for 196 yards.

Rivers, a rookie quarterback drafted out of NC State, and apparent heir and future quarterback of the Chargers, is currently second on the Chargers quarterback depth chart. Newly acquired wide receiver Keanen McCardell paid off immediate dividends for the Chargers by contributing 5 catches for 56 yards. McCardell had recently been acquired by the Chargers from the Tampa Bay Bucs in exchange for future draft picks. McCardell had been holding out of playing for the Bucs since the beginning of the season. Rookie tight end Antonio Gates continued to be a hot receiver for the Chargers and ended the day with 7 catches for 61 yards.

Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme struggled once again to complete passes, and on several occasions either over-threw or under-threw wide open receivers. Delhomme also threw his 10th interception of the year, keeping him atop that category in the NFL.

There were also several questionable calls by offensive coordinator Dan Henning, as the Panthers were driving for the go ahead score late in the fourth quarter. On a 3rd and long, the Panthers ran a running play, stopping the Panthers and any chance they had for a win. "We knew that we were in two down territory," Panthers Coach John Fox said after the game. "We have a "check with me." Jake felt like there was an opportunity there to get part of that and make the fourth down a shorter opportunity. It didn't work out that way."

"We had two downs. We had a play called," Panthers Quarterback Jake Delhomme said of the questionable third down run. "We could have picked up four or five yards. Who knows, we might have broke one. We did that early in the game with (Brad) Hoover. It just didn't happen. I was told in my headset that it was two-down territory, so they gave me the play. They have confidence in us, and we didn't get it done."

One of the Panthers few highlights of the game was fullback Brad Hoover. Hoover, who was filling in for injured all-pro running Stephen Davis, ran for 99 yards on 24 carries. Rookie wide receiver Keary Colbert, Carolina's second round draft pick, had seven receptions for 71 yards.

Mike Rucker summed up his feelings on losing after the game. "Personally, I hate losing in anything, and that's the reason I'm so aggravated now. I hate losing and I'm tired of losing, and that's what's going to drive me to be better and get things done. I don't know who we play next, but we're going to come back tomorrow and get things corrected and go at it again. We're going to keep swinging and swinging until it's over."


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