This is a response to a response. When DaBolts posted that he had seen only the highlights of this game, I responded by saying that this game was lost in the trenches. Wonko responded that Miami's secondary was good, their receivers were patient in finding holes in our zone, their running backs were patient but at least our special teams played good. This response turned WAY long and became a rant, so I thought it should be put here rather than fill up the whole page with one long comment.
-Our running backs are just as patient as theirs are. We just didn't have any holes. If their running backs seemed like they were waiting to hit a hole, it's because they were deciding which hole they wanted to go through.
-Their secondary played well because the receivers did not have enough time to get past the cover 2 the safeties were playing. This means on every single pass Rivers through, there was a corner (or linebacker) in front of the receiver and a safety behind him. The Dolphins were weak on the deep ball (notice how open Vincent Jackson was when Rivers missed him), but it didn't matter because their defensive line was on top of Rivers before our receivers could get deep. The touchdown pass to Chambers happened because Rivers bought time with his legs. The deep pass to Jackson happened when the Dolphins tried rushing 3 guys, and still generated enough pressure to force Rivers to throw before he seemingly wanted to.
-Their disciplined receivers are overrated. I'm 5 foot 8 and slow and I could catch 5 or 6 passes against that defense yesterday. Here's the thing about a zone defense....it only works when the defensive line gets pressure and forces the quarterback to throw before he necessarily wants to. If you're giving anybody, even Chad Pennington, 7 or 8 or more seconds to sit back in the pocket and wait then his receivers are eventually going to look around, realized they're open and start waving their arms around. There's not a high school football team that can't find the holes in a zone defense with the much time and comfort for the quarterback.
-Our special teams were nothing special. I don't think Sproles got past the 30 on any kick returns and our punt coverage did nothing outstanding. Here's a list of all of the Chargers players that had good games.
I didn't intend for that to be a joke, but that's all I could come up with. Cromartie apparently doesn't know how to play zone because his guys were thrown to all day. Jammer surprisingly gave up two big plays and didn't do much run support. Cooper made one tackle and more than once started celebrating before the play was over. Both lines were terrible. Gates looked slow being covered by an ex-DE. Tomlinson needs a few weeks off because he's bringing nothing to our offense. Clinton Hart's pass interference play probably was a bad call, but it was a stupid play by him anyways. Phillips and Harris looked okay for their one sack, but most of the time offered no pass rush at all.
Look, this team got out-toughed. Plain and simple. And when Marty was around, that wasn't happening. I'm not going to call for Norv's firing and Marty's return, I actually like Norv a little bit better if anything because of how we played in the playoffs last year, but this team is NOT TOUGH. They're not angry and they don't fight back. I don't know if it's the loss of Merriman or the loss of Lorenzo Neal, but this team has zero toughness.
You'd think with every game this season coming down to us either winning or losing in the 4th quarter, this team would be energetic during the last quarter of the game. Yet, during the last quarter we looked pathetic. Maybe the whole team was tired because of the humidity and heat, but both the offense and defense looked like they expected to lose.