Upon Further Review - Chiefs At Chargers

The BAD:

Philip Rivers
has to play better. He holds the keys to the offense and if he can't find a rhythm with his receivers and do a better job of taking care of the football, this team is going to lose lots of games.

Its a combination of little things that is hurting Rivers right now - he isn't doing a good job of planting his feet and throwing with good form. I'm not sure what it is, but his basic technique seems to have gotten worse since last year. He is throwing off balance, often times leaning to one side and side-arming the football. I know he has an unorthodox throwing motion, but his interceptions are way up this year, and there are lots of balls being batted down at the line of scrimmage. He is looking great when he is rolling out of the pocket, but when he has to stand in there and deliver the ball, he is hesitating or rushing the pass. He simply does not look comfortable.

The new offensive system combined with a fresh group of receivers might be taking more time to adjust to than I thought it would have. The only guy Rivers seems to be real comfortable throwing to is Antonio Gates. Of course, he is also looking down Vincent Jackson's way plenty but Jackson needs to be more consistent and reliable.

Taking care of he football was one of Marty Schottenheimer's biggest mantra. So far this year, the Chargers have seemed to forget about that mentality. Losing the football at the most inopportune times have killed the Chargers this year. Having opposing defenses score on you after you cough up the football is an almost guaranteed way to lose a game. The Patriots did it to the Chargers and the Chiefs did it to them as well. That took those team's point total up into the thirties, and with the way the Chargers' offense has been playing, scoring 30+ points seems to be too much to ask.

Allowing short plays underneath seems to be the philosophy for the Chargers defense the past few years. I'm not sure what it is; maybe its just the way the 34 defense is built. But the Chargers' secondary seems to want to allow the play to happen in front of them, and to let nothing get behind them. This has positives and negatives, but if you can't tackle the ball carrier in front of you, and you have no safety able to clean up the play, then you are putting yourself in the position to allow big plays for the receiver. Greg Jennings took a pass 57 yards for a touchdown. Dwayne Bowe did the same with a 51 yard catch and run. And add Randy Moss to that trio and that's three consecutive 100+ yard receivers the Chargers have allowed.


Certainly there was plenty to like about how the Chargers performed Sunday. Nate Kaeding looked as strong as ever with his kicks. He was kicking touchbacks and his field goal attempts were true.

I like how Ladainain Tomlinson looked running the ball. The offensive line did a good job opening holes against an underrated Kansas City defensive line (Tank Tyler, Tamba Hali, and Jarred Allen are very good). Norv Turner was far more creative in his running schemes and it paid off as the Chiefs never really knew where the ball was going.

True to name, Shawne Merriman had a lights out performance. He continues to rack up sacks and continues to keep his average of about 1 sack per 1 game started. Merriman seems to love to compete against Larry Johnson and the Chiefs. His tackle totals seem to spike when Larry Johnson is on the field.

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October 1, 2007

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Steve said... Oct 2, 2007, 10:10:00 AM

Nice analysis. I agree that it's the little things that are blowing up in their face and killing them. But you forget the little things (holding on the ball, tackling) when in the pre-season you are already making bold pronouncements about going to the Super Bowl and stuff.

The second factor is that players (PR for sure) are pressing. I think PR is trying to win the entire game on each play. The offense wasn't the most dynamic last year, but we played good ball control, didn't turn the ball over, and look what resulted- the most points in team history.

The Chargers have forgotten that it's not necessarily how good you are, it's how good you play (NFL parity.) If the Chargers can get this simple concept into their heads, then they can stop crying about whether they're as good as they thought they were, blah blah blah. Just focus on playing the game, only then will the rest take care of itself.

Rob Zepeda said... Oct 2, 2007, 10:31:00 AM

Very well put, Steve. You hit the nail on the head when you made the point 'its not how good you are, but how good you play.'

Anonymous said... Oct 2, 2007, 1:10:00 PM

You forgot to list in the bad category the fact that Norv inexplicably abandoned the running game in the 2nd half (6 carries for LT after ringing up 100+ in the first half? Really?).

Rob Zepeda said... Oct 2, 2007, 2:01:00 PM

The way I look at the whole, six-carries-in-the-second-half thing is that as long as LT gets his touches, I don't care if they come via rushes or catches.

problem is, those short passes he was getting in the third and fourth quarter were going for about 2 or 3 yards.

its mind-boggling that the Chargers cannot adjust in the second half. They allow teams to dictate how the offense is going to be run.

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