They started at 1-3 and were scuffling at 5-5. But here come the playoffs and the Chargers find…
Bolts Report Card
RUSHING OFFENSE: B -- Tomlinson didn't need much to clinch his second consecutive rushing title, so he got his 56 yards on 16 carries and rested. Darren Sproles added 20 yards on two carries, and Michael Turner averaged nearly 4 yards on 11 carries. The run-blockers got after it.
PASS DEFENSE: A -- Igor Olshansky, a run-stuffing defensive end, picked off a JaMarcus Russell pass. The secondary continued to play pretty well, although Antonio Cromartie was late in getting to Jerry Porter in allowing a touchdown catch. Backup LB Jyles Tucker got hot and collected three of the team's four sacks, with Shawne Merriman getting the other one. Good pressure on Russell.
RUSH DEFENSE: C -- Big holes here with DT Jamal Williams resting for the playoffs. Without Williams' play in the middle, the Raiders were able to gash the Chargers on a number of occasions, and the tackling wasn't that sharp either. Dominic Rhodes went for 122 yards and a touchdown; he averaged 4.2 yards a carry.
SPECIAL TEAMS: C-minus -- The coverage units weren't sharp, and that needs to be addressed before the playoffs. Chris Carr averaged 27.1 yards on seven kick returns with a long of 43 and another for 42. Johnnie Lee Higgins had a 54-yard punt return. Nate Kaeding was good on his three attempts kicking with a sore plant leg. Darren Sproles was explosive on kick returns, taking one 61 yards.
COACHING: A -- Norv Turner kept his starters in long enough to built a comfortable lead and secure the AFC's No. 3 seed. The offensive play-calling was efficient, and Ted Cottrell's defense showed enough different looks that it made a star out of Tucker. Good work by a relatively new staff to stay the course until the final regular-season game in a year that started so poorly.
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