AFC West: MNF3 Chargers

Rapid Reaction: Chargers 48, Jets 29

September, 22, 2008

Posted by's Bill Williamson

SAN DIEGO -- The Denver Broncos had better fix their defensive issues because the San Diego Chargers are not done.

San Diego bounced back from two narrow defeats to dispatch Brett Favre and the Jets, 48-29, on Monday night.

San Diego is coming off losses to Carolina and Denver in which it fell by a total of three points. The Chargers led with 30 seconds remaining in both games. It was the first time in NFL history a team lost back-to-back games in that manner.

With its Super Bowl aspirations on the line, San Diego put it together on both sides of the ball against New York. San Diego's passing defense bounced back from two poor showings and quarterback Philip Rivers outplayed Favre.

Like last year, when the Chargers started 1-3, they have an uphill battle. However, San Diego reminded the NFL and the surprise 3-0 Broncos that it still has plenty of fight remaining in it.

Chargers, Jets trade late scores

September, 22, 2008

Posted by's Bill Williamson

SAN DIEGO -- The Chargers are just about to ice this game. We think.

After Brett Favre led the Jets to nine points to put the Jets within two scores, Philip Rivers continued his great game with a long pass to Vincent Jackson to set up a touchdown.

LaDainian Tomlinson, who looks good despite a toe injury, scored from two yards out to give the Chargers a 45-23 lead.

The Jets responded with another long Leon Washington kick return that led to a quick touchdown to pull to 45-29 with just over three minutes remaining.

Posted by's Bill Williamson

SAN DIEGO -- The Chargers are showing some pass rush when they need to.

San Diego sacked Jets' quarterback Brett Favre twice and both were big plays. The Jets were driving deep in San Diego territory each time the Chargers came up with those sacks. Linebacker Shaun Phillips brought down Favre late in the second quarter.

On the Jet' last drive, Jyles Tucker sacked Favre for a 12-yard loss, creating a third-and-19 situation. The Jets failed to score on both drives.

Last week, San Diego put no pressure on Denver's Jay Cutler in a loss. It was clear they were missing Shawne Merriman in his first game since he had season-ending knee surgery. Tucker's sack gives him and the Chargers confidence that he can replace Merriman.

Halftime: Chargers 31, Jets 14

September, 22, 2008

Posted by's Bill Williamson

SAN DIEGO - Some halftime thoughts from the Chargers' 31-14 lead.

The Chargers are much better against the pass tonight than they were the first two weeks and the San Diego offense is clicking. Philip Rivers looks great, Antonio Gates looks healthy and LaDainian Tomlinson, for the most part, doesn't appear to be laboring because of his turf toe.

Brett Favre needs a big second half to avoid starting his New York career 1-2. Favre is a tad wild already with two interceptions. It will be interesting to see how he reacts when he is in full passing mode trailing by 17 points.

That was a strange onside kick attempt by the Jets trailing, 17-14. It was not executed well and it gave momentum right back to the Chargers.

Also, credit San Diego linebacker Shaun Phillips for a huge sack of Favre on third down late in the second quarter. It took New York out of scoring position. It was important for San Diego to show it can come up with a big sack without Shawne Merriman.

Posted by's Bill Williamson

UDPATE: Castillo is back in the game.

SAN DIEGO -- San Diego defensive lineman Luis Castillo is out with a knee injury.

He is currently being attended on the San Diego sideline and he is moving around well. However, Castillo, a key part of San Diego's defense, took several minutes to get off the playing field after taking the hit.

Castillo was hurt when he was blocked low by New York running back Thomas Jones.

Redemption for Chargers' Cromartie

September, 22, 2008

Posted by's Bill Williamson

SAN DIEGO -- Antonio Cromartie just made one up to himself.

A series after dropping a sure touchdown return, Cromartie made a difficult play and got his touchdown to give San Diego a 17-7 lead.

Cromartie stole a Brett Favre pass from receiver Laveranues Coles and returned it 52 yards for a score.

Chargers' Jammer saves Cromartie

September, 22, 2008

Posted by's Bill Williamson

SAN DIEGO -- Antonio Cromartie owes Quentin Jammer lunch.

A play after Cromartie let a sure touchdown drop out of his hands, Jammer saved his teammate by picking up a Thomas Jones fumble and returning it to the Jets' 16. The Chargers' offense took advantage by scoring to take a 10-7 lead late in the first quarter.

The Brett Favre pass that Cromartie let slip through his hands came after Cromartie read the play perfectly and got a break on the ball. Cromartie had the ball in his hands at Jets' 45 but flat-out dropped it.

Cromartie would have waltzed into the end zone. It would have been perfect redemption for Cromartie after last week's outing when Denver's Brandon Marshall caught 18 passes. Cromartie described his play against Marshall as "garbage."

He was likely not happy with himself again tonight, but Jammer saved him.

Rivers makes rare costly mistake

September, 22, 2008

Posted by's Bill Williamson

SAN DIEGO -- Philip Rivers just made one of his first mistakes of the season.

And it hurt the Chargers badly.

On San Diego's third play of the game, New York cornerback David Barrett stepped in front of a pass intended for tight end Antonio Gates and picked it off for an easy score. Barrett read the pass easily.

The pass, Rivers' first of the game, was ill-fated from the start. Rivers bobbled the shotgun snap from center Jeremy Newberry before quickly unloading.

Warm-up time in San Diego

September, 22, 2008

Posted by's Bill Williamson

SAN DIEGO -- Random pre-game thoughts:

It is clear skies and 72 degrees in San Diego. Perfect weather conditions are expected at game time.

San Diego running back Darren Sproles is on the field and is engaging in full warm-ups. He is expected to play a key role for the Chargers with star LaDainian Tomlinson likely limited with a lingering turf toe injury.

San Diego left tackle Marcus McNeill is expected to play for the first time this season. He has missed the first two games with a neck stinger.

Quarterbacks Brett Favre and Philip Rivers are back in their respective locker rooms after warming up early. The players chatted for several minutes. Rivers has said Favre has long been his favorite quarterback.

There are plenty of No. 4 jerseys in the stadium -- and some of the in Jets' colors. There are many of Favre's Green Bay jerseys in the house.

Prepping for the Jets and Chargers

September, 22, 2008

Posted by's Bill Williamson

SAN DIEGO -- I have landed and I am preparing to go to the stadium for tonight's game.

I am fired up for this one. This is a game involving some major stars and both teams need this game. If the Brett Favre era in New York is going to take off, the 1-1 Jets need to win tonight. If the Chargers -- they of enormous preseason Super Bowl aspirations -- are going to stay alive in the AFC West, they need to win their first game and not fall three games behind upstart Denver.

Courtesy of ESPN's terrific research department, here are some interesting Favre factoids:

  • Favre is 5-0 in his career vs. the Chargers with 13 TD passes and four interceptions for a 103.5 passer rating.
  • Brett Favre has a 7-0 career record in regular-season games in the state of California, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
  • The Packers scored an average of 28.6 points in those games.
  • Favre's statistics: 141-for-210 (67 percent), 1,726 yards, 16 TD passes, three interceptions, 111.7 rating.
  • Favre has thrown at least three TD passes in his last four games against San Diego, one game shy of tying the NFL record for most consecutive games with three passing TDs against one opponent since the merger (1970).

Meanwhile, the early word today is that Chargers' star running back LaDainian Tomlinson will try to play with a turf toe injury that has bothered him in both games. However, he will likely be limited. That means Darren Sproles, who was explosive at Denver last week in the running, passing and return game, could have a major role for the Chargers' tonight.

Finally, keep an eye on Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers. The Chargers aren't 0-2 because of Rivers. The quarterback, coming off a torn AFCL, has played fabulously so far this season.

Bound for San Diego

September, 22, 2008

Posted by's Bill Williamson

I am en route to San Diego for tonight's Monday Night Football game between the Chargers and the New York Jets.

I will be filing reports before, during and after the game.

This should be a very intriguing game. The Chargers desperately need to win after they lost both of their first two games in the final 30 seconds. It's the first time any NFL team has lost back-to-back games under those circumstances.

The Chargers have to find a way to play better pass defense and they have to find a way to win. If not, this team with Super Bowl aspirations could be a shocking 0-3.

 AP Photo/Jack Dempsey
 Antoine Cason and the San Diego Chargers hope to bounce back after their 0-2 start.

Posted by's Bill Williamson

The last time Brett Favre played in an AFC West stadium on Monday Night Football, he won the game on a pass on the final play.

Sound familiar, Chargers fans? The nausea is understandable.

San Diego has seen enough last-minute passing heroics, thank you. If Favre, who beat Denver with a long strike in overtime last year on Monday night when he was still with Green Bay, sticks a dagger in the Chargers on Monday night, San Diego's once very realistic Super Bowl hopes will be on life support.

"We just can't have this stuff," said San Diego safety Eric Weddle, who has gotten an up-close view of the Chargers' two heartbreaking defeats. "We're killing ourselves. We can't keep giving away games or we're going to be in trouble."

Make that big trouble, Eric.

San Diego staggers into the matchup with Favre and the Jets stung like no other team in the history of the NFL.

The only souvenir, other than an 0-2 record, that San Diego has from the first two weeks of the 2008 season is the fact that it became the first team in league history to lose back-to-back games after having the lead in each with 30 seconds remaining.

On opening day, San Diego ruined a fourth-quarter comeback by allowing Carolina to drive down the field. The Panthers culminated the drive on fourth down with a 14-yard strike from Jake Delhomme to tight end Dante Rosario to give Carolina a 26-24 win.

Then, last Sunday, San Diego, which fought back from a 21-3 deficit, lost 39-38 in Denver when the Broncos scored on a 4-yard touchdown pass from Jay Cutler to rookie receiver Eddie Royal. Shocking the league, Denver coach Mike Shanahan decided to go for two and try to win the game. The Broncos ran the same pass play to Royal on the two-pointer as they did on the touchdown. It worked again.

Of course, the Chargers were the victims of a terrible call by official Ed Hochuli in which they should have been rewarded the ball on a Cutler fumble two plays before the touchdown. However, Hochuli blew the whistle early.

(Read full post)

Tomlinson, McFadden updates

September, 19, 2008

Posted by's Bill Williamson

Here were some interesting developments today regarding two key running backs in the AFC West.

In San Diego, LaDainian Tomlinson was on the practice field.

In Oakland, Darren McFadden may be a backup option because of a toe injury.

Tomlinson's presence on the practice field follows the same pattern he did last week. Tomlinson didn't practice on Wednesday and Thursday on both weeks. He did practice last Friday.

Tomlinson played against Denver last week. But the turf toe injury he suffered In Week 1 against Carolina was aggravated. Tomlinson had just 10 carries for 26 yards against the Broncos.

He is expected to play Monday night against the Jets but it is unclear how productive he can be. Tomlinson will likely need a couple of weeks before he is completely healed. At 0-2, San Diego can't afford to keep Tomlinson out even though he is not 100 percent.

Meanwhile, with Justin Fargas likely out with a groin injury, Michael Bush may have to be Oakland's primary back at Buffalo on Sunday. McFadden is dealing with a painful injury and it looks like he may be affected.

UPDATE: LaDainian Tomlinson was listed this afternoon on San Diego's injury report as questionable. Left tackle Marcus McNeill is questionable as well. He missed the first two games with a neck injury. Like Tomlinson, McNeill is expected to play Monday night against the Jets. Also, star center Nick Hardwick is out with a foot injury. He hasn't played this season. He is expected to be able to play in a few weeks.

Posted by's Bill Williamson

San Diego fans will be able to see "Monday Night Football" on television.

The local television blackout was lifted today, clearing the way for San Diego's home game against Brett Favre and the New York Jets to be shown locally.

Today was the deadline for the game to be declared a sell out and for the blackout to be lifted. This is the second time in as many San Diego home games that the game was in danger of being blacked out locally.

Tomlinson misses practice again

September, 18, 2008

Posted by's Bill Williamson

LaDainian Tomlinson did not practice for the second consecutive day Thursday due to a turf toe.,

Tomlinson injured the toe against Carolina on opening day. He was hampered by the injury against Denver as he had just 26 yards on 10 carries. Last week, Tomlinson didn't practice Wednesday and Thursday but worked Friday.

Tomlinson is expected to play the visiting New York Jets on "Monday Night Football" but he is likely to be hampered by the injury for the next several weeks.

Meanwhile, it looks like Tomlinson will have one of his better blockers available for the first time this season as left tackle Marcus McNeill practiced fully after being limited Wednesday. McNeill was replaced in the first two weeks by L.J. Shelton. Defensive tackle Jamal Williams also worked out on a limited basis after sitting out Wednesday.