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Bolts & Dolts: Oakland Raiders at San Diego Chargers

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I don't think you guys are going to be real happy with me after you read this post.  After looking though the post-game comments, I found myself disagreeing with a lot of you.  In actuality, I should write a post about why certain players are not on the lists below, but that could take forever.

Without further ado, the most controversial episode of Bolts & Dolts.....



Vincent Jackson - 8 catches, 103 yards, 1 TD.  I know a lot of people will not agree with this.  However, after that ball bounced off his hand for the interception, he turned into a beast.  Also, considering he got only one hand on that ball, I consider that interception an un-catchable pass that was simply made worse by VJ's effort.  Although Oakland did everything they could to cover him deep (his longest catch went for 20 yards), he still was a major factor in the Chargers victory.



Shawne Merriman - 7 tackles, 2 sacks.  It was against the Raiders, so it has to be looked at differently, but that was a really good game for Merriman.  I was worried in the first quarter because I saw Mario Henderson cut-blocking into Shawne's injured knee repeatedly, but I guess he's just fine.  I've talked all year about how he's looked too bulky and not flexible enough.  This game, he looked plenty flexible and it helped not only with the sacks but he was also in on seemingly every tackle.  Look for a big second-half of the season from Shawne.

Shaun Phillips - 3 tackles, 2 sacks.  Surprise, surprise.  Phillips has a big game against the Chiefs, and suddenly Merriman is seeing less blockers.  Merriman starts getting pressure, and suddenly Phillips is practically running free.  Good things are starting to happen.  Shaun Phillips is the type of player that's good in an OK defense, and an incredible weapon in a great defense (similar to Adalius Thomas).  Watch out for him against the Giants.

Chargers CBs.  Not only are Antonio Cromartie and Quentin Jammer playing really good defense right now, I think they're playing tougher and I think Steve Gregory has something to do with that.  Gregory again led this group with 3 tackles and a sack against the Raiders.  Cromartie laid somebody out.  Jammer went knocked a big TE out of bounds easily (although that's not exactly new).  Also, the Raiders receivers yesterday were thrown to 8 times and totaled 2 catches for 16 yards.  The Chargers secondary continues to be strong.




Malcom Floyd - 2 catches, 64 yards.  Put away your pitchforks and hear me out. I know his catch at the beginning of the game was spectacular, but Malcom Floyd needs to become a better player outside of the first quarter.  Let's look at his stats by quarter this season...

Rec Yds TD
1st Quarter 7 163 1
2nd Quarter 2 24 0
3rd Quarter 2 64 0
4th Quarter 0 0 0


Am I the only one disturbed by that?  What the heck happens to him after the first quarter?  When the Chargers needed a big catch from somebody not named Antonio Gates or Vincent Jackson yesterday, they had to take their chances with Chris Chambers.  Look, I love Floyd's potential and catches just as much as any other Chargers fan.  He was the most fun player to watch at training camp.  I just can't overlook the fact that he appears to be a 1st quarter receiver this season.

Jeromey ClaryI don't why everybody is so eager to pile on Clary.  He had a rough game.  Players rarely have 16 straight good games.  He struggles with speed rushers, which we already knew.  He let Matt Shaughnessy through for the only Raiders sack of the game.  It wasn't the worst game ever, but it was deserving of a Dolt.

Darren Sproles - 5 carries, 38 rush yards, 1 catch, 8 rec yards.  Every few weeks Darren seems to have a game where the ball is extra buttery in his hands.  It's a strange phenomenon.  Despite the gaudy 7.6 YPC, Darren just wasn't a big weapon for the Chargers on Sunday.



Defensive Line.  This one was actually close.  A 3.7 YPC for the Raiders isn't that bad, and the Chargers didn't allow a run longer than 12 yards all game.  The line's problem, and perhaps this is a silly criticism, was that there were only one or two plays where the Raiders were actually stopped for one or less yards.  When it was 3rd and 3, Oakland could run it for a first down with ease.  That's not good.  This line seems to be good as individuals, but so far has shown no chemistry.

Stephen Cooper/Kevin Ellison - There's a reason these guys had 15 tackles between the two of them.  They can't cover worth a damn.  Did anyone ever bother to tell Cooper that he can actually stay close to the check-down receiver?  Standing 5 yards behind him isn't helping anything.  Ellison wasn't flat-out burned by anyone, but JaMarcus Russell had no fear throwing to Nick Miller when Miller drew Ellison.