QB Philip Rivers (Stephen Dunn/Getty)
The San Diego Chargers hosted the Atlanta Falcons for the first time in over 10 years on Sunday -- the Bolts are hardly eager for another encounter. The Falcons controlled the ball, stuffed the run and flew away with a 22-16 victory. Samantha Fillerup offers her notes and anecdotes from the game.
--The San Diego Chargers last played the Atlanta Falcons in 2004, when the Falcons clawed out a 21-20 victory in front of 70,187 fans at the Georgia Dome. The Chargers can only imagine what 70,000-plus fans must feel like, as the Bolts have yet to sell out next week's home game against the rival Oakland Raiders. The Falcons have now won five consecutive games against the Chargers and lead the series 7-1.
--Michael Turner was a Charger for four years, where he spent most of his time watching LaDainian Tomlinson break records. Since becoming a Falcon, Turner has out-rushed Tomlinson, 1,208 to 794. Turner added 31 carries for 120 yards against the Chargers and pushed his league-best rushing touchdowns total to 13.
--Tomlinson led the Bolts with 14 carries for 24 yards and one touchdown. He also added five catches for 42 yards, making him just the fifth player with more than 10,000 career rushing yards (11,444) and 500 career receptions (502).
--Prior to Sunday, Philip Rivers had not faced the Falcons in his career; after Sunday, he likely wishes that was still the case. Rivers completed 17-for-30 passes (57 percent) for 149 yards and was sacked three times. After the rough outing, Rivers no longer leads the league in touchdown passes or passer rating, losing those spots to Drew Brees/Kurt Warner and Tony Romo, respectively.
LaDainian Tomlinson and Philip Rivers
--The Chargers entered Sunday's game with the NFL's seventh-ranked offense, averaging nearly 25 points per game. However, San Diego could only muster 16 points against the Falcons, all of which came off of turnovers. The Chargers have been held to 16 points or less in a third of their games this season.
--The San Diego defense failed to sack QB Matt Ryan and remains stuck on 23 sacks for the season. The 2007 Chargers also had 23 sacks after 11 games, but last year's squad rang up four sacks in Game 12. Ron Rivera's group helped its cause by forcing and recovering three fumbles against the Falcons.
--Quentin Jammer led the defense with eight tackles, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. Eric Weddle picked up the other fumble forced by Jammer, returning it 86 yards for his first career touchdown. Anthony Waters also logged a fumble recovery after Falcons rookie PR Harry Douglas muffed a Mike Scifres punt.
--Most NFL coaches grade their teams on a quarterly basis. The Chargers were 1-3 in the third quarter, the same sub-par mark they posted between Weeks 5-8. This recent skid is most surprising, as the Chargers entered Sunday's game with a 13-4 record in the month of November dating back to the 2004 season.