Bolts Report Card
QB Philip Rivers (Streeter Lecka/Getty)
QB Philip Rivers (Streeter Lecka/Getty)

Posted Jan 15, 2008


Several unexpected backups stepped to the forefront to help the Chargers pass their biggest test of the season. But it was the play of QB Philip Rivers that allowed the Chargers to hang with the high-flying Colts.

PASSING OFFENSE: A -- Philip Rivers was on his game, completing 14-of-19 passes for 264 yards and three touchdowns. He was on his way to one of the best games of his career before a knee injury forced him to miss the final two series. Billy Volek came in and ran the offense with poise, which is never easy in the madhouse that is the RCA Dome. But he completed 3-of-4 passes and drove the team 78 yards for the game-winning score. Screen plays worked well against the Colts' speedy defense.

RUSHING OFFENSE: B -- This was a group effort with LaDainian Tomlinson not having a second-half carry as the team used Michael Turner down the stretch. The Chargers finished one yard shy of 100, with Michael Turner averaging 4.2 yards on his 17 carries. The day's biggest run for the Chargers was among their shortest when Volek was able to sneak over from the 1 for the go-ahead score in the fourth quarter.

PASS DEFENSE: C-minus -- Peyton Manning was Peyton Manning, throwing for 402 yards and three TDs, but the Chargers' plan was to keep everyone in front of them and try not to get beat deep. The Chargers were also able to pick Manning off two times, giving them eight picks off Manning in two games this season. CBs Antonio Cromartie and Drayton Florence each had six tackles; don't overlook the hit by Marlon McCree on the Colts' last drive that drove the ball from Reggie Wayne and Wayne from the game.

RUSH DEFENSE: A -- The Colts could never open any running lanes with consistency, which kept putting Manning into third-and-long situations. Joseph Addai averaged 3.3 yards on 13 carries but only had a long of 10 and never really was a factor. ILB Stephen Cooper was solid in the middle with a game-high 16 tackles. NT Jamal Williams needed two blockers, which allowed Cooper to run free.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C -- K Nate Kaeding again missed a field goal, which is becoming a tradition in playoff games - this one from 48 yards. P Mike Scifres was huge at the most critical point of the game when the Chargers were backed up in their territory and Scifres got off a 66-yarder which gave the Chargers some breathing room for the Colts' last possession. Darren Sproles had a 30-yard kickoff return; coverage teams were good enough.

COACHING: A -- Norv Turner's play-calling was unpredictable as he shuffled in and out and players trying to deal with all the injuries. He also showed plenty of fire when the Chargers were on the wrong end of a couple of questionable calls, which the players seemed to feed off of. Ted Cottrell's defense gave up its share of yards, but clamped down in the red zone to frustrate Manning and the Colts. Awesome job of the staff to get the team to believe they could upend the well-rested world champs at their dome.



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LB Stephen Cooper (profile)
CB Antonio Cromartie (profile)
CB Drayton Florence (profile)
K Nate Kaeding (profile)
S Marlon McCree (profile)
QB Philip Rivers (profile)
P Mike Scifres (profile)
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