NFL@L.A.: 2011 Week 9 Rapid Reaction
November, 6, 2011
By Bill Williamson | ESPNLosAngeles.com
SAN DIEGO -- Thoughts from a wet day by the sea.
What it means: There is a three-way tie for first place in the AFC West at 4-4 between the Chargers, Raiders and Chiefs. All three teams lost at home Sunday.
Tomorrow’s talker: The Chargers made a furious comeback, but they didn’t have enough. All four of the Chargers’ losses have occurred because the team has made too many mistakes. The Chargers' defense came on strong at the end of the game, when it stopped Aaron Rodgers twice, but he wasn’t forced into making any mistakes.
Rivers still shaky: For the first time in his career, San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers threw three interceptions. They were all extremely costly. Two were brought back for touchdowns and the third ended a potential game-tying series in the final minute. The Chargers have lost three straight games and Rivers made crucial, fourth-quarter miscues in all three of the games. Rivers has thrown 14 interceptions this season. He had 22 in the past two seasons combined.
What’s next: The Chargers have a quick turnaround as they host Oakland on Thursday night in a key AFC West game.
November, 6, 2011
By Kevin Seifert | ESPNLosAngeles.com
SAN DIEGO -- A few thoughts on yet another Green Bay Packers victory, 45-38:
What it means: A rare rainy day at Qualcomm Stadium led to quite a shootout. It reminded a few of us of the Packers' 2009 wild-card playoff game at the Arizona Cardinals. For a while there in a wild fourth quarter, nobody could stop nobody. In the end, however, the Packers raised their NFL-best record to 8-0, winning for the 14th consecutive time dating back to last December.
Pass defense: Packers safety Charlie Peprah and cornerback Tramon Williams each returned two interceptions for touchdowns in the first quarter, two of three interceptions the Packers had on the day. Those scores were obviously critical to the final outcome. But overall, this game won't do much to settle concerns about the Packers' pass defense. Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers threw for 385 yards and four touchdowns, including two after the halfway point of the fourth quarter that made this game a nail-biter for the Packers. The Packers had a particularly tough time tracking tight end Antonio Gates, who caught eight passes and drew two key fourth-quarter penalties.
Thanks, Quentin: The Chargers appeared to have the Packers stopped on third down with 2 minutes, 44 seconds remaining. But a holding penalty on cornerback Quentin Jammer, who was defending receiver Jordy Nelson, gave the Packers an important first down. The penalty robbed the Chargers of their remaining timeouts and cost them about a minute and 20 seconds on the clock. The Chargers finally regained possession with 1:05 left, but Peprah's second interception of the game clinched it with 14 seconds left.
RodgersWatch: Oh yeah, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw four touchdown passes and a total of five incompletions in yet another razor-sharp performance. Rodgers has had at least a 110 passer rating in all eight Packers game this season, an NFL record.
Injury report: Hard-luck linebacker Frank Zombo did not return after injuring a hamstring. Zombo has also dealt with shoulder and knee injuries this season.
Packers pride: I've never seen a visiting team cheered as loudly as the Packers were Sunday. Conservative estimates suggested a third of the stadium was populated by Packers fans. I would say it was closer to half. It was quite a showing, regardless, and made for a raucous midseason atmosphere.
What's next: The Packers have an extra day of preparation for next Monday night's game against the Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau Field.