|Other Week 7 Game Recaps|
|BAL at MIA||CLE at WAS||DAL at STL||DEN at NE||DET at HOU||IND at GB||MIN at CHI||NO at CAR|
|NYJ at OAK||PIT at CIN||SD at BUF||SEA at TB||SF at NYG||TEN at KC|
Week 7 Game Recap: San Diego Chargers 14, Buffalo Bills 23
What you need to know
|San Diego Chargers|
RB LaDainian Tomlinson continued his very disappointing season. His longest run of the game went for just nine yards, and he averaged less than three yards per carry. Even the positive aspect of six catches is offset by the fact that he only gained 26 yards on his receptions.
QB Philip Rivers started off pretty well but faded in the end. He was careless with the football for the first time all season. After turning the ball over just four times in the first six games, he turned it over three times in this one.
The San Diego defense is a mess right now. They have almost no semblance of a pass rush, which forces the defensive backs to remain in coverage for far too long. It's a bad combination that is wreaking havoc on the unit.
QB Trent Edwards returned from his concussion two weeks ago to look very impressive. He consistently moved the ball downfield for Buffalo and didn't really make any mistakes in the game.
RB Marshawn Lynch put up very solid numbers, and even got more involved in the passing game with four receptions.
WR Lee Evans could not be covered by San Diego catching all eight passes thrown in his direction. He also made one of the best catches of the season on his touchdown grab on a fade in the corner of the end zone.
What you ought to know
|QB Philip Rivers, Pass: 22 - 29 - 208 - 2 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 1 - -1 - 0|
Rivers seemed to be well on his way to a very nice game until very late. He tossed a pair of touchdowns, went over 200 yards, and completed over 75% of his passes. That said, he also fumbled once when he wasn't even touched (the ball slipped out of his hands and was lost), fumbled again by a defender who was bearing down right in front of him, and intercepted in the end zone on a poor decision to force a pass to TE Antonio Gates. Strangely, outside of these three plays Rivers actually played exceptionally well. But those three instances proved to be so costly that they are the primary reasons San Diego lost this game. His touchdown pass to Floyd was a perfectly-timed throw off a slant and the touchdown to Jackson was a bullet over the middle through good coverage. But the interception to Gates, with San Diego trailing by six late in the fourth quarter, was as awful a pass as he has made all year long. After turning the ball over just four times in his first six games, he turned it over three times in this game -- including his first interception in thirteen quarters.
|RB LaDainian Tomlinson, Rush: 14 - 41 - 0, Rec: 6 - 26 - 0 (7 targets)|
Tomlinson had another very disappointing day for his fantasy owners. The announcers in this game mostly blamed his lack of success on the offensive line failing to open up many holes. While that was entirely true, it also wasn't 100% of the reason for his struggles. His long gain went for just nine yards, and even when the line did open a hole for him he wasn't really bursting through it. On one occasion, he broke to the left and got into a one on one situation with the defender, but was unable to make a typical hard plant off his left foot. Instead, he tried to use almost a hop-step to shake the defender. It didn't work, and Tomlinson was knocked backwards off his feet.
|RB Darren Sproles, Rush: 1 - 1 - 0, Rec: 1 - 5 - 0 (2 targets)|
Despite the continued struggles of LaDainian Tomlinson, Sproles saw just two touches from scrimmage. He has been bothered by his own injury recently, a sprained ankle. But since he's healthy enough to return punts and kicks, one has to assume that the lack of offensive touches are a strategic coaching decision and nothing to do with injury risk.
|WR Vincent Jackson, Rush: 1 - 31 - 0, Rec: 4 - 42 - 1 (5 targets)|
Jackson turned in a relatively quiet performance. He did manage to score once to salvage a solid fantasy point total. He also added a 31 yard run to turn his stat line from 'serviceable' to solid. He started off especially slowly, with just one reception on his lone passing target in the first half. But he came alive a bit after halftime, which was when he scored. His 12 yard score came off a quick inside move towards the middle of the field on a perfect quick strike bullet from Rivers.
|WR Malcom Floyd, Rec: 4 - 65 - 1 (6 targets)|
Floyd had his second straight productive game with regular starting WR Chris Chambers injured. It seems apparent at this point that Floyd is the team's next option in the passing game after Vincent Jackson, not Buster Davis as previously assumed. Floyd scored his second touchdown in as many weeks, this time off a 14 yard slant. Floyd had initially caught a 12 yard touchdown pass, but was whistled for offensive pass interference on himself. Two plays later, it turned out the penalty actually rewarded him because the touchdown was no two yards longer.
|TE Antonio Gates, Rec: 4 - 55 - 0 (7 targets)|
Gates was targeted twice in the end zone, though he came up empty on both occasions. On the second one, he was well-covered but QB Philip Rivers tried forcing it into a tight space. LB Kawika Mitchell, who wasn't even covering Gates, stepped in front of the pass and picked it off at the goal line. Gates still managed to turn in a workmanlike performance with 55 yards receiving, continuing an interesting pattern of low-end consistency. It was the fourth time this season he has caught exactly four passes for between 55 and 61 yards.
|PK Nate Kaeding 0 - 0 FG, 2 - 2 XP, 2 points|
The San Diego offense made several costly mistakes that took them out of scoring position, and so Kaeding's only contribution was two extra points.
|SD Rush Defense|
The Chargers didn't give up a ton of yardage on the ground, but it seemed like every time the Bills needed to gain a first down they were able to do so. The combination of Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson tallied 103 yards on 28 carries, with one of those carries going for a touchdown. On the touchdown run, Jackson and a team of Buffalo blockers littered the field with Chargers who were unable to hold up after blocks. Lynch took the ball in for a nine yard score without so much as being touched on the play. Along with that way, there were several more missed tackles and poor overpursuit, as the Chargers reverted back to their ways from earlier this season.
|SD Pass Defense|
San Diego is absolutely in shambles in this phase of the game. After seemingly turning things around against New England a week ago, they once again failed to muster any semblance of a pass rush. They failed to either sack or intercept Buffalo QB Trent Edwards, and they barely made him throw an incompletion (he was 25-30 for the game). The Buffalo equipment manager is also going to be happy after this one since he won't have to even wash Edwards' jersey due to San Diego failing to even get near him. To compound the pass rush issues, the extra time afforded Edwards meant the defensive backs had to remain in coverage longer than usual. That ultimately proved too much, as Lee Evans essentially had his way with the defensive backfield. Now, in San Diego's defense, the lone touchdown pass they allowed through the air was an absolutely remarkable individual effort by Evans and there are very few defensive backs in the NFL who could've done anything to stop it (Quentin Jammer was in coverage on the play).
|QB Trent Edwards, Pass: 25 - 30 - 261 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 4 - 6 - 0|
Edwards played a nearly flawless game. He completed 83% of his passes and averaged nearly nine yards per attempt. The fact that he only threw one touchdown should not negatively impact the opinion on how he played, because he could really do no wrong. He always found the open man, made good decisions, and showed both the poise and arm strength that he has shown all season long. In other words, the concussion he suffered two weeks ago looked to have no effect on his performance here.
|RB Marshawn Lynch, Rush: 19 - 70 - 1, Rec: 4 - 22 - 0 (5 targets)|
Lynch picked up a hard fought 70 yards while getting roughly two-thirds of the rushing split between he and Fred Jackson. Lynch was also used frequently used in the passing game. He was quietly efficient without putting up big stats until late in the game, when he scampered in untouched for a nine yard touchdown off the right tackle. The blocking for Lynch was superbly set up, as it was all game long especially by the receivers.
|RB Fred Jackson, Rush: 9 - 33 - 0, Rec: 3 - 28 - 0 (3 targets)|
Jackson saw nine carries to Marshawn Lynch's 19, and picked up yards at roughly the same 3.7 YPC rate. Where he truly excelled at was in blocking for Lynch, as he sprung the star halfback several times to pick up extra yardage. Jackson nearly scored a touchdown early on, but was taken down at the two yard line, a drive that eventually led to a Lee Evans touchdown. Interestingly, with the Bills leading the game and trying to run out the clock, it was Jackson and not Lynch who saw the touches. Jackson gained 12 yards on three carries on that drive.
|WR Lee Evans, Rec: 8 - 89 - 1 (8 targets)|
Evans was targeted mostly on short passes, though he did turn a couple of them into bigger gains after the catch. He was targeted consistently throughout the game, and it mattered little whether he was being covered by Antonio Cromartie or Quentin Jammer. In both instances, those defenders wanted to ensure they didn't let Evans beat them over the top. But by keeping them in front of them, he just had his way on the short stuff. Early in the second quarter, he caught a touchdown pass off a fade in the corner of the end zone with Jammer providing tight coverage all over him. But Evans managed to reach up with one hand, pin the ball against his helmet a la David Tyree, keep both feet inbounds, and maintain possession for the score. It was one of the toughest catches of the year, and sure to be a frequently played highlight this week.
|WR Josh Reed, Rec: 3 - 32 - 0 (4 targets)|
Reed was mostly quiet, with just three receptions all game long. He was targeted on a deep ball in the second half, but it fell incomplete.
|WR Roscoe Parrish, Rec: 2 - 19 - 0 (3 targets)|
Parrish's lone contribution to the game was actually a pretty big play, as his 22 yard reception helped keep the eventual game-winning touchdown drive alive. His only other catch in the game went for a three yard loss.
|TE Robert Royal, Rec: 4 - 53 - 0 (6 targets)|
Royal's productivity is fairly inconsistent, but as has been the case with most opposing tight ends this season, he was able to put up nice numbers against San Diego. He wasn't targeted in the end zone, however, and he didn't catch a pass in the second half.
|PK Rian Lindell 3 - 4 FG, 2 - 2 XP, 11 points|
Lindell connected for three kicks, including one from 44 yards out that essentially sealed the victory. His lone miss came from 52 yards away.
|BUF Rush Defense|
With LaDainian Tomlinson still clearly nowhere near 100% and the Chargers unwilling to trust anyone else with the ground game, it's difficult to tell how much of the outcome is Tomlinson's health (or lack thereof) or Buffalo playing well. It's probably a combination of the two, although it should be noted that the Buffalo defensive line dominated San Diego's offensive line. Tomlinson may have been slowed by injury, but it's unlikely that he would've mustered much anyway with the lack of running room he was given. The one blip for the Bills was a 31 yard run by wide receiver Vincent Jackson, a play that obviously caught the Bills off-guard.
|BUF Pass Defense|
Buffalo's pass defense didn't play outstanding, but they were handed a few opportunities and they took full advantage of them. While they did allow Philip Rivers to complete 75% of his passes and toss two touchdowns, they also pressured him enough into making three critical mistakes (all of the mistakes coming under pressure). On the first, Rivers cocked his arm to make a pass but the ball slipped through his fingers, and was recovered by the Bills. On the second, Rivers was just about to be hit when he released a pass into the end zone intended for TE Antonio Gates. Gates was well covered on the play, and LB Kawika Mitchell easily stepped in front of the pass for an interception. The Bills led by six at the time. Later, with Buffalo up by nine, it was Mitchell again who came up with the big play. He was blitzing, and Rivers curiously raised the ball over his head in an attempt to avoid the oncoming rush. The hit jarred the ball loose, the Bills recovered, and they ran out the clock for the victory.