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Bolts & Dolts: Great Defense, Terrible Offense

The San Diego Chargers wasted a rare good performance by their defense in a 23-14 loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday Night Football. John digs through the box score to find out who performed above (Bolts) or below (Dolts) expectations.

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports


Donald Brown - 5 catches (6 targets), 49 rec yds

Not a great game, but much better than what he has been doing this season for the San Diego Chargers. A little odd that he received zero touches, though, even after Ryan Mathews left with an injury.

Kavell Conner - 9 tackles (7 solo)

He is so, so, so much better than Donald Butler. The fact that they're still splitting snaps (each got 39 in this game) is a shame.

Jahleel Addae - 8 tackles (6 solo), 1 forced fumble

Time and again, the defense has proven that it works best when Addae is consistently in at one of the starting safety positions. Yet, the only time we ever see it is late in the season. Why won't Pagano stick with what works?

Melvin Ingram - 6 tackles (5 solo), 3 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 pass defended

The star of the game, for the Chargers. Ingram lived up to his long-overdue hype on this one and once again, showed that the San Diego defense is much better when he's on the field than when he isn't. He could not have had a better game.

Manti Te'o - 3 tackles (1 solo), 1 tackle for loss, 2 passes defensed, 1 interception

The best game of Manti's career, by far. He was thrown at twice, and it resulted in a pick in the red zone and a near-pick in the end zone. I'd love to see more of this guy.

Andrew Gachkar - 5 tackles (4 solo), 1 tackle for loss, 1 pass defended

I had been calling for more Gachkar all week long and he did not disappoint. He was thrown at 7 times, yielding 4 catches for just 17 yards. He also picked up 2 "stops" in just 27 snaps.

Corey Liuget - 7 tackles (4 solo), 2 tackles for loss

Liuget was everywhere, both before and after his injury. I think 60 snaps is probably his high for the season, and he was great on every one of them. He pushed the pocket, stopped the run, and did everything else that could've been asked of him. He was a huge reason the Patriots offense struggled, and a big reason the Chargers defense fell apart (when he got tired).


Philip Rivers - 20/33, 189 pass yds, 1 pass TD, 1 interception

What a terrible, awful game for Rivers. Granted, his offensive line offered him zero assistance, but he's been playing fine without them recently. This time, Rivers and OC Frank Reich just got confused by the Patriots' defensive schemes. On top of that, Rivers was uncharacteristically inaccurate. There were at least five passes that would've been easy completions had Rivers not missed his receiver.

Branden Oliver - 3 carries, 1 rush yd, 0 catches (2 targets)

I had some pretty low expectations for Oliver, but man....

He's taking some blame here for inaccurate throws by Rivers and a terrible offensive line, but any hope of Oliver being a big part of the Chargers rushing attack for years to come should be gone by now.

Donald Butler - 4 tackles (1 solo)

What a terrible player Butler has become. He's quickly finding himself in conversations with Jared Gaither, Robert Meachem, and Derek Cox. He is a waste of money and a waste of a roster spot.

Sean Lissemore - 2 tackles (2 solo)

I guess the Chargers plan of using a guy that's never played Nose Tackle as their starting Nose Tackle has gone about as badly as it should have. When he's on the field with Kendall Reyes, it's an easy 8+ yards on the ground for the opposing team.

The Chargers Offensive Line

They might as well have not existed. They let through at least one player unblocked per series. The worst group of the night for either side.

Mike McCoy

Not a great showing in his second season. Perhaps he put the bar a little too high with his rookie season, or perhaps he was getting a lot of help from Ken Whisenhunt. Either way, he's screwed up just about everything that he could this season, and he shrinks whenever the team is on in prime time. His time management is nearly as bad as his relationship with the media, and his stubbornness continues to cost the team wins.