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Grading the Bolts

Quarterback - A-

Rivers threw the late interception, but he was mostly impeccable finding the open receiver and cutting the Saints secondary to ribbons.  He looks terrific back there, and doesn't seem to know the word panic even as the team falls behind.  This has been a tough season, but you never see him hanging his head or blaming the defense for the losses.  He has really matured into a leader and a great quarterback.

vs NOS / 10.26.08 Passing Rushing
Comp Att Pct Yds TD Rush Yds Avg TD
Philip Rivers 25 40 62.5 341 3 1 -1 -1.0 0

Wide Receivers - A-

They were getting open the whole game, made spectacular catches and generally had a terrific day.  Vincent Jackson dropped one pass that would have gone the distance, otherwise I would have given them a solid A.  I like the spreads with Floyd, VJ and Chambers.  As dispiriting as the loss was, the offense is just fun to watch.  There are so many weapons and Rivers seems to be getting the ball to all of them.  If the defense can even play average ball, this team is going to light some folks up.


Tight Ends - A

Gates looked full speed to me for the first time this season.  I really enjoyed seeing him racking up the yards and pulling in the TD.  Six receptions for 96 yards and the TD was his final line, but he is clearly back in action.  B. Manumaleuna only had one catch for 7 yards, but also had a TD taken away by a penalty. 

Running Backs -A-

LT had 19 rushes for 105 yards and tacked on 65 yards receiving to boot.  He looked like himself for the first time this season.  Sproles and Tolbert only got two carries, but Tolberts was a costly third and short failure.

Offensive Line - A

What can you say, holes to run through and all day for Rivers to find the open receiver.  There was so much that went right for the offense, If only these games went one more quarter.

Defensive Line - D

The pressure was better this week, but still couldn't disrupt this high powered Saints offense into making mistakes.  There were some close calls, but this team always seems to come up a dollar short on the defensive side of the ball.  On the plus side the run defense held the NO offense to under 100 yards (even excluding the final 26 yard backwards run by Brees to burn time).  That said, we just didn't get the pressure needed to throw of the passing attack, it can be done as Carolina had proved just last week.

Linebackers - C-

The run defense was often good, although the Saints were able to turn the corner on a sweep at least once.  S. Phillips and J. Tucker seemed to be very close to sacks on more than one occasion, but Brees was very good at slipping them or getting rid of the ball just before they could bring him down.  All the talk about aggressive play seemed to lead to some stupid penalties for late hits; this is not a defense that can afford mistakes.

Safeties -D

Hart looked much better in coverage to me; but there were way to many instances where receivers were just all by themselves.  Weddle came close to making the big interception, but the reversal of the call coupled with his penalty for excessive celebration was ugly.  There was more press defense which I liked, but still they couldn't produce the crucial turn over or the big stop.

Cornerbacks- D

One TD play was just a great diving catch.  There was another crushing penalty against Cletis Gordon that didn't look entirely legit to me; but lets face it there were other times when Wideouts were catching balls without a Charger defender even being in the camera shot.  The lack of pressure is totally exposing these guys, but you have to hang at least some of the worst pass defense in the league on the corners. 

Coaching- D

This was a game plan that could have worked, but with 14 penalties you have to say the sloppy play reflects poorly on the coaching.  It did look to me like the defense was in press more often, and certainly 30 points for the offense should be enough to win most games, but this is a team that can't afford errors.