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Bolts & Dolts: Chargers lose a close game to Titans

Bolts & Dolts is your weekly listing of San Diego Chargers that played above, or below, expectations. Which players stood out in San Diego's loss to the Tennessee Titans?

Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports


Danny Woodhead - 5 carries, 31 rush yds, 7 catches (8 targets), 55 rec yards

All things considered, 12 touches for 86 total yards is pretty much exactly what the San Diego Chargers should be looking for from their backup running back. Woodhead showed himself to be a crafty runner (6.2 yards-per-carry without much blocking was fun to watch), a smart receiver and he generally took every yard the defense was giving up.

Jahleel Addae - 4 tackles (1 tackle for loss), 1 pass defended

Every preseason there's one undrafted free agent that fans are certain will be a star in his rookie season. Undoubtedly, this player ends up riding the bench for most of that first season (if he makes the team at all) while fans freak out. I thought Jahleel Addae was going to be this player this year, but Marcus Gilchrist has opened a door for Addae to get on the field regularly and he's been taking advantage of his opportunities.

Ladarius Green - 2 catches (2 targets), 48 rec yds

With Malcom Floyd out of the lineup, I was sure that we would see more 2-TE sets with Green and Antonio Gates. Vincent Brown, Eddie Royal and Keenan Allen aren't exactly the type of players to burn past a CB just in time to catch a pass downfield, but Green and Gates could certainly do that against the linebackers and safeties that usually cover them.

Alas, Green mostly disappeared after the first half. However, 48 receiving yards from him is 48 more than John Phillips has this season (and 7 yards away from Phillips' total for 2012). That has to be considered "playing above expectations" for Green, right?

Andrew Gachkar - 6 tackles

Gachkar seems to lack the strength to play defense as a starter, but he has everything else. When he was called on to fill in on Sunday, he showed off good coverage skills, an ability to read where the ball is going and he took good angles to the play consistently. I wouldn't be mad if the Charger tried to find more ways to get Gachkar on the field, because he was one of the few positives for the defense yesterday.

Derek Cox - 2 tackles, 2 passes defended

I hesitate to call this a "good day" for Cox. It was more like a lucky day, and he was given the assignment of covering Kenny Britt. Britt seemed lost all game, and seemingly couldn't catch balls that were thrown at him. He was thrown at four times when Derek Cox was covering him, and he didn't catch it a single time (although Cox only got his hand on the ball once).


Eric Weddle - 9 tackles

John Pagano seemed to be trying to cover up the lack of inside linebackers and the lack of secondary depth by putting Weddle in a position to play man-to-man against TEs and slot receivers. He was targeted 8 times and gave up 5 catches for 43 yards. Late in the game, Jake Locker threw at Delanie Walker every time Weddle was on him, and it was usually successful.

Marcus Gilchrist - 5 tackles

It has not been a good start to the season for Marcus. He once again struggled in zone coverage over the top, and in man coverage he gave up 2 catches for 42 yards even thought he was thrown at just three times.

Crezdon Butler - 2 tackles

Brought in mid-week, Butler was the one getting burned for the final Titans TD late in the fourth quarter. He was thrown at three times, giving up three catches for 64 yards and a TD. Maybe there's a reason he was available.

Johnny Patrick - 7 tackles

Thrown at four times, Patrick gave up 3 catches for 54 yards. The only incompletion came when the officials ruled Nate Washington out of bounds on a deep catch down the sideline.

Richard Marshall - 9 tackles

Thrown at eight times, Marshall gave up 6 catches for 69 yards. Marshall was targeted just about every time the Titans were able to get Nate Washington on him.

Corey Liuget - 2 tackles

What happened to the guy that spent last year pushing around offensive lines by himself? It looked to me that the only time Corey made any push on the line was when the Titans were purposefully letting him run himself out of the play. Tennessee was running right at him for most of the game, which is something that just didn't happen last season.

Kendall Reyes - 2 tackles

Reyes was actually worse than Liuget and has been all year. He's been bad against the run and non-existent as the dynamic pass rusher he looked like in 2012. I said before the game that the Chargers would need a big game from their defensive ends, and that turned out to be true. Their struggles led to Tennessee's offensive line to do pretty much whatever they wanted for most of the game, and also led to some downfield blocking by interior offensive linemen.

Nuts (random thoughts)

  • I find it hilarious that the Chargers lost because the coaching staff played "dink and dunk" with Philip Rivers, while the Titans coaching staff finally took the shackles off of Jake Locker to throw the ball downfield. I also found it weird that Whisenhunt and McCoy were the ones paying the price for not letting Rivers throw the ball in the fourth quarter, where Munchak was rewarded by turning to the passing game after the first half. I really thought it would be the opposite.
  • I understand the logic behind playing prevent defense on the final drive. Let the other team burn out clock, hold them to a FG, and chances are you'll win the game. What I don't understand is why, after prevent defense very nearly won you the game (DAMN YOU, MARCUS GILCHRIST, AND YOUR SLIPPERY HANDS), John Pagano would suddenly call a heavy blitz that leaves his cornerbacks one-on-one with no over-the-top help. Either you blitz early (because your defenders can catch up to a guy that catches a deep pass) or you play deep zone the whole time. You don't play deep zone until they're across the 50-yard line and then suddenly start blitzing. Bad Pagano, bad!
  • Ryan Mathews appeared to miss D.J. Fluker quite a bit. That being said, Mike Harris was solid in pass-blocking.
  • Eddie Royal is a lot easier to cover without a downfield threat. Get healthy soon, Malcom Floyd.
  • The pass rush still stinks. My bet is that it'll look good again when the Chargers are so far behind that they won't be able to make the playoffs. Then everyone will look forward to how much better it'll be next season, and we'll do this all over again.
  • The offensive line was apparently one injury away from being pretty terrible. Also, teams have figured out that trying to sack Rivers is a waste of time. What defenses are doing now is having their pass rushers fake to the outside and go inside. It clogs up the "lane" in the pocket where Rivers usually steps up and gets him to throw wobbly passes off of his back foot.
  • The secondary is atrocious. The fact that Tom Telesco isn't doing much about it tells me that he and McCoy are ready to start building towards next year (which, based on the age of most of these players, won't look much different than trying to win). I wonder if they're already talking about using a first round pick on a cornerback.
  • Mike Scifres: still great.

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