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Other Week 7 Game Recaps
ARI at NYGATL at DALBUF at CARCHI at CINGB at CLEIND at STLMIN at PITNE at TB
NO at MIANYJ at OAKPHI at WASSD at KCSF at HOU

Week 7 Game Recap: San Diego Chargers 37, Kansas City Chiefs 7


San Diego Chargers

QB Philip Rivers, Pass: 18 - 30 - 268 - 3 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 2 - 18 - 0

Rivers was pretty much on-point for the entire game. A lot of that had to do with the fact that he was given loads of time to work with. Unlike last week, when he was sacked five times in a loss to Denver, this week he wasn't sacked once. It showed in his aggressiveness and the confidence he showed on each throw, directing his receivers around the field and stepping into each throw without fear of being hit. He even managed to scramble for an 11-yard first down run! His first touchdown pass to Malcom Floyd was a simple matter of Floyd selling the corner fade fake and coming back on the slant for the easy score. Rivers' second score wasn't so easy, as he had to wait for Vincent Jackson to come back towards him off his route and fire a strike in front of the defender (which he did). The third score was a simple swing pass in the flat to Darren Sproles, who did the rest of the work himself by racing around and through a handful of Chiefs defenders to all but end the game. In addition to those, Rivers had a couple other near-misses, one of which was a dropped score by WR Chris Chambers and another to TE Antonio Gates that he was unable to hold onto while maintaining his footing inbounds. Gates had another reception that he took down to the two yard line, and Jackson had another that he nearly hauled in but came down about a foot out of bounds. So Rivers' day could have been even bigger than it already was. In fact, Jackson's second of two long receptions could've also gone for a longer pass and a score, but the pass was slightly underthrown and "only" went for a 51-yard pass.

QB Billy Volek, Rush: 3 - -3 - 0

When San Diego went up by thirty in the middle of the fourth quarter, Volek entered the game in relief of Rivers but did not throw a pass.

RB LaDainian Tomlinson, Rush: 23 - 71 - 0, Rec: 2 - 2 - 0

Midway through the first quarter, Tomlinson appeared well on his way to his first huge game of the season, though he once again turned in very pedestrian stats. He looked good running with the ball, bursting outside for a season-long 36 yards on his second carry of the game. He looked good on his quick cuts, and didn't appear to come out of the game with an injury at any point. But after that run, it was a rough go for him. Aside from the one big gain, he had just 35 yards on his other 22 carries, which demonstrates just how little success he had. Tomlinson also had a lot of trouble once the team got to the goal line, which used to be his forte. He was stuffed every way imaginable. Going low, fighting through the middle, leaping over the pile -- you name it, they stopped him. And then the one time he did manage to get in, the score was waved off when Brandyn Dombrowski failed to report as an eligible receiver. He even fought in on that one and dragged the pile, but it was all for naught.

RB Darren Sproles, Rush: 5 - 41 - 0, Rec: 3 - 58 - 1

Sproles once again didn't see a lot of action in the game, but he made the most of the touches he did see. The Chargers are starting to realize that he's not a very strong inside runner, and his touches there have dwindled to almost none. But he did pick up nice yardage on an outside run (on which he lost his shoe yet kept on going), and also scored on a 58 yard swing pass that he caught with nobody within twenty yards of him. Once he gets into that space, almost no defender in the league can match his speed. He also lost big yardage on a phantom holding call earlier in the first half.

RB Jacob Hester, Rush: 3 - 8 - 0

Hester isn't a regular part of the offense, but he did fill in late in the fourth quarter when the game turned into a blowout. He's also showing his value on special teams, with his second special teams score in three games. He blocked a punt, hustled to the end zone, and fell on it for the score.

RB Mike Tolbert, Rec: 1 - 2 - 0

Tolbert was targeted a handful of times, once dropping a potential first down reception on second and short when the ball was thrown behind him, and once on a reception off a screen that he took down to the goal line.

WR Vincent Jackson, Rec: 5 - 142 - 1

Like most of the Chargers, Jackson did his damage in the first half as they build up their lead and was quiet in the second as they tried to salt it away. Jackson's splits were even more dramatic, however, as he hauled in a team record 142 yards in the first half but didn't register a catch in the second half. Jackson has quickly become one of the league's premier deep threats, hauling in two separate 51-yard receptions (he nearly had an earlier deep bomb catch on the game's first offensive play, but it was broken up at the last moment). He's simply too big for most cornerbacks to cover down the field, and he's got the speed, strength, leaping ability, and hands to come down with nearly every 50-50 ball. He showed good instincts on his ten yard touchdown grab, coming back to the ball to give Philip Rivers a better passing lane. He nearly added a second touchdown on a sideline pass in the end zone. Jackson showed great ability and concentration, but he wasn't able to bring it down with his feet inbounds despite the great effort.

WR Malcom Floyd, Rec: 2 - 9 - 1

Floyd had an easy touchdown knocked away by Brandon Flowers at the goal line early in the first quarter, but two plays later he beat his man off the line for an easy score off a slant. Curiously, he only caught one other pass in the game, a forgettable six yard grab.

WR Chris Chambers

Chambers is still being looked to in crucial situations, but unless he starts doing more with those opportunities, they may go away soon. He failed to put away a third down touchdown catch, instead allowing the ball to be knocked from his grasp (which Norv Turner then followed up with an equally pathetic decision to challenge the obvious call). He was targeted fairly consistently, but failed to come away with a single reception.

TE Antonio Gates, Rec: 5 - 55 - 0

Gates came on strong early, but like most of the team, he didn't do as much after halftime. He took a short screen off play action and took it 25 yards down to the two yard line. He showed nice moves and strength to get downfield, but there might have been even better blocking on the play than Gates' own moves. Two plays later, he was targeted in the end zone on a fade and drew a pass interference penalty. Late in the second half, he went up high to snag a 19 yard pass to set up the Chargers at the five yard line. His basketball skills came in handy as he boxed out the defender for the football, but it was really his only action of the second half as the team went to a more run-oriented, ball control approach. He saw one more target in the end zone but the ball was somewhat underthrown by Rivers, and Gates was unable to maintain his footing on the play. He could have caught the pass, but he couldn't keep himself inbounds long enough to do so and it fell incomplete.


Kansas City Chiefs

QB Matt Cassel, Pass: 10 - 25 - 97 - 1 TD / 3 INT, Rush: 6 - 24 - 0

Cassel had by far his worst game of the season. He entered with the third-most passes in a row without an interception, then spent most of the afternoon either getting picked off or coming close to it. In fact, he completed nearly as many passes to San Diego defenders (3) as his own receivers (7). He was nearly picked on the opening drive third down pass off a deflection, and was later bailed out of an interception when LB Shawne Merriman lined up in the neutral zone. But rather than taking advantage of his second chances, Cassel proceeded to make sure he was picked off later on. He was under a lot of duress in the second half, which was when all of the turnovers happened. Each of the last two interceptions came on overthrows as he tried forcing it into coverage while being hit. He came into the game with only two interceptions all season and then threw three in about fifteen minutes of real life time.

Not ALL of Cassel's passes were awful, mind you, just most of them. He did toss a perfect touch pass to Dwayne Bowe for a score along the sideline of the end zone, and made a perfect pass to Long in the end zone for what should have been a score but the wideout couldn't hang on. But those nice throws were far outnumbered by the overthrows on what should have been touchdowns and the near-interceptions that were just dropped by Charger defenders.

QB Matt Gutierrez, Pass: 1 - 1 - 3 - 0 TD / 0 INT

Gutierrez came on late in relief of Cassel when the score got out of control. His job was mostly to hand off and toss safe passes underneath.

RB Larry Johnson, Rush: 16 - 49 - 0, Rec: 1 - 7 - 0

Johnson owners are going to look at yet another disappointing stat line and conclude that Johnson was terrible again. But in reality, the problem didn't seem to be entirely with him; his offensive line just never opened any holes for him. For those who have said he looks slow, in this game he was rarely afforded the opportunity to show whether he was slow or not as he was met at the line of scrimmage by a wall of tacklers more than a few times. He also had a nice run on which he pushed the pile forward with a lot of power and determination despite being hit early in the play. The concerns about him going forward are warranted, but in this game a lot of it had to do with those around more than Johnson himself. After the game, however, Johnson had some derogatory comments regarding the team's head coach Todd Haley, and while it remains to be seen how much that will affect his standing with the team, it certainly won't help.

RB Jamaal Charles, Rush: 4 - 33 - 0, Rec: 1 - 1 - 0

Charles looked much quicker than did Larry Johnson, but that's to be expected. Charles is younger and has that good burst that Johnson may not quite have these days. Charles showed nice inside cuts and quickness to get to the second level of the defense, though he didn't break many tackles once he got there. The Chiefs also split him out wide in the second half as they tried coming up with some creative ways to get him the ball. At one point, he got way behind the last line of the defense wide open for what should have been a long touchdown but the pass was badly overthrown.

WR Bobby Wade, Rec: 4 - 66 - 0

Wade allowed a pass to hit him in the head (it was that kind of a day for Kansas City), but made up for it shortly after with a nice move after the catch to pick up a first down. He was also able to haul in a couple of nice plays in the third quarter during the brief moments in the game when Matt Cassel was afforded a little bit of time. One of the catches was a big gain down the sideline on a ball thrown over his shoulder, but like most of the Chief receivers the quantity of passes headed his way left a lot to be desire.

WR Dwayne Bowe, Rec: 2 - 11 - 1

Bowe was unusually quiet, considering his history against the Chargers. He normally has big games against them, but in this one he was almost entirely held in check. He caught just two passes and was unable to gain much separation from the defensive backs all game long. He did score on a great grab along the end zone sideline, dragging his feet as he cradled the ball into his chest, and he also drew a fourth down pass interference penalty against Quentin Jammer, but those two plays came nowhere near keeping his team in the ballgame. On another, he looked about to be hit in stride over the middle but had his feet tangled up with Jammer and the ball fell incomplete. He also dropped a wide open easy reception right over the middle in the red zone as he tried running before he actually caught the ball in the second half, and that was pretty indicative of the type of game it was for him.

WR Lance Long, Rec: 2 - 12 - 0

Long was compared to Wes Welker by the announcers, mostly because he's short and white, but one can see a resemblance to their games. Long seems a bit scatterbrained out on the field, bouncing all over the place like a pinball, but he's actually pretty well under control. His big contributions to this game weren't in his results, but in what he almost did. He dropped a deep ball on which he was interfered with by S Eric Weddle but no call was made. And he later nearly brought in a great catch on a dive into the end zone, but the ball hit the ground at the last moment and popped out. Later, he was drilled by Tim Dobbins after a short catch and was down on the ground momentarily. He got up a bit woozy with what looked like a concussion. He won't put up huge stats in this offense, but he can fill a role in the slot with his skill set.

TE Sean Ryan

Sean Ryan's name was barely even mentioned until he hurt himself. He didn't catch a pass, and there was no news immediately after the game about his condition.