In the Islamic empire of the Mughals, there was a leader by the name of Akbar. In a heated argument he threw his rival, Adham Kahn out of a window. Still not quite satisfied Akbar dragged Adham back up from the courtyard to the window and threw him out again. That sound you heard on Sunday were the hopes of San Diego fans hitting the courtyard for the second time this year. Both the Padres and Chargers started the season with lofty goals; but both produced seasons that ended in a thud. But we are San Diegans; we have lived through seasons where there wasn't even visions of playoffs at the beginning of the season; if nothing else we know how to hit the courtyard and bounce back for next season.
A lot of games this year I have felt like the ball really wasn't bouncing the Chargers way, not so this game. There were three turnovers; a fumble on a punt, a very close fumble on a catch that could have been called an incomplete and a fumble by Turner that might have been after he was down. All the breaks went San Diego's way; but the offense was totally stymied; this was a game dominated by Atlanta's defense.
Now on to the grades:
Quarterback - D-
Rivers was awful; his passes were wobbly and not crisp. The offense never showed up this game and as the leader he has to take the lion's share of the blame. Having Dielman out played a role; and his offensive line was letting heat get through otherwise it would have been an F.
Offensive line - F
They didn't open holes for the running game and they didn't pass block well; what else is there?
Tight End - D
Gates didn't get separation and just wasn't a factor in the game.
Wide Receivers - C
Hard to really give them a grade when most passes were throw aways. Floyd made a nice attempt near the end of the game but took a hard hit. VJ got pushed out of bounds twice with some sharp tackling by Atlanta.
Running Backs - C
LT caught some nice passes that he ran well on, he also had the short TD run. Hester had a beautiful run on the punt fake; but overall Atlanta shut down the run game; partly due to the offensive line.
Defensive Line - B
There were some longer runs and not enough pressure on the quarterback, but in short yardage situations the line came up big. Jamal continues to command the double team and still finds a way to dominate the middle. Olshansky came up with a nice play with two minutes left to get the ball back for the offense.
Linebackers - C
The linebackers also came up big in short yardage situation, but still let the tight end get free for too many yards. They are consistently a non factor when they drop into coverage.
Cornerbacks - C
Jammer had a bad day giving up some big gainers and just getting beat on some others. Cromartie also left a receiver wide open in the end zone on blown coverage; the C is for the forced fumble jammer caused and the other fumble he recovered.
Safeties - C
Hart went down a few times but came back. Weddle got the scoop on the fumble and ran it back for the TD; but he also struggled in coverage and gave up a big PI call.
Coaching - B
This game can't get hung on Turner. I thought he put together some good calls; the fake punt was fantastic. Turner can't pass block or throw the ball or run the ball; the offense just didn't execute. I still think he deserves one more season to make a go of it. The defense played reasonably well; you have to love the goal line stand and getting the ball back for the offense with two minutes left on the clock. On the other hand there were receivers overthrown at least twice; this could have been a route even with the +3 turnovers; hopefully once Rivera has a preseason those mistakes will be gone.
What can you say? At least the 'most talented team in football' comments will be done. This team clearly has a number of holes. To me it looks like they need an ILB who can cover; another Safety who can cover and hit; a nose tackle to back up Jamal; a backup running back who might evolve; an offensive tackle (and maybe a guard) and a defensive end that can bring pressure. That's a long list; at least it will be an interesting off season.