No Time for Bolts to Lick Wounds
Donald Miralle/Getty
Donald Miralle/Getty

Posted Sep 20, 2007


The red faces will disappear from Sunday night's embarrassing loss to the Patriots. The Chargers need to get right quick as they head to Green Bay to face an improved Packers team. And don't think Packers quarterback Brett Favre won't make note of how the Pats' Tom Brady torched the Chargers' secondary time and again.

"They are playing at a very high level," Chargers coach Norv Turner said of the Patriots after his team got blasted, 38-14.

Turner said the Chargers (1-1) have a number of areas to improve in. Among them, taking care of the football.

"When you turn the football over, you don't give yourself a chance," Turner said. "If we played New England again in two weeks and turned the ball over three times in the first half, it would be very difficult for us to handle it. You just can't do that."

But the Chargers did just that, which is why there were behind 24-0 at halftime. That hill proved too difficult to climb on the road, as the Chargers looked nothing like the team which streaked to a 14-2 mark last year.

"A loss is a loss," Turner said. "Once it's over, you've got to put it behind you and move on. This group has done that and we'll do it again. What we have to do is go perform and play the way we're capable of playing."

The Chargers will get a prime chance to rebound come Sunday at Lambeau Field. But that game is no longer looking as easy as it did when the schedules came out. Not with Favre playing younger than his years and the Chargers still trying to return to its old style of piling up points and pestering quarterbacks.

"We're playing a very good football team in Green Bay," Turner said. "The biggest thing for us is to go do the things we need to do in terms of our preparation and get ready to play. Whatever we say today, tomorrow or whatever, it doesn't really matter. It's what we do on Sunday."

PLAYER NOTES

--QB Philip Rivers was terrible against the Pats and has had consecutive games where he hasn't displayed the moxie and accuracy he was noted for last year. His passer rating the past two games represent the third and fourth worst of his career. After throwing but nine interceptions last year, he already has three in 61 attempts -- and he lost a fumble when sacked on Sunday.

--RB LaDainian Tomlinson looks nothing like he did when he ran, caught and threw his way to an MVP last year. The run-blocking hasn't been good and it shows in Tomlinson's puny numbers: 35 rushes, 68 yards and one touchdown. Tomlinson is growing frustrated with the work of the men up front -- and with good cause.

--TE Antonio Gates fell from the Chargers' offensive plan for some reason in various stretches in New England. He finished with team highs in catches (seven) and reception yards (77). But for long stretches Rivers didn't look his way.

--WR Vincent Jackson made four catches for 53 yards as he provided the only relief for Philip Rivers on the outside. Jackson did have a long of 21, but also seems to half-heartedly go after a ball which was intercepted. The learning curve continues here.

--WR Craig Davis continues to be touted as the receiver that can stretch defenses with his speed and ability to run after the catch. Both are difficult to do without a reception, which was the case on Sunday as Davis didn't have a catch. He also was taken off punt returns with the return of Darren Sproles.

--RT Shane Olivea could be down this week with a back injury. If he can't go, the team will turn to either veteran Roman Oben or youngster Jeromey Clarey. If it's Clarey, it will be his first NFL start.

--ILB Matt Wilhelm suffered a calf injury in the early stages of Sunday's game and didn't return. It looks like he could be down this weekend, which means Tim Dobbins gets throw into the action. Dobbins looked confused and out of position on numerous occasions against the Pats.

--DT Jamal Williams hyper-extended his elbow in the game and didn't play much of the second half. Williams' role can't be minimized as the run defense runs off this work up front; his ability to collapse the pocket pushes quarterbacks to the edge for Shawne Merriman and Shaun Phillips. Williams is a tough competitor and it would be a big-time surprise if he doesn't go in Green Bay.

--OLB Shawne Merriman was able to record two sacks after being shut out in the opener. Merriman, though, has ditched his Lights Out dance which got under rivals' skin. Merriman is bent on getting to Brett Favre on Sunday, wanting to add a legend to his list of quarterbacks he has sacked.

--OLB Shaun Phillips suffered a strained quad on Sunday, although he did re-enter the game. But that injury is worth watching, because Phillips is so good at getting to the pocket because of his burst off the line. If he is slowed by a balky quad, that will hinder how effective he can be. He relies on quickness, not strength.

--PR Darren Sproles is back after suffering a concussion in the opener. But he did very little with his chances on Sunday, going zero yards on one return. He also had one return for 20 yards on a kickoff.

--RB Michael Turner is close to full strength after a sprained ankle in the preseason. He had but one carry for three yards, not faring much better than Tomlinson behind a line which wasn't blocking very well. Turner also returned four kickoffs for a 24.5-yard average, with a long of 28.



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