Upon Further Review: Chargers Week 10

November, 11, 2013
11/11/13
8:00
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SAN DIEGO -- An examination of four hot issues from the San Diego Chargers' 28-20 loss to the Denver Broncos.

[+] EnlargeJulius Thomas
John Leyba/The Denver PostThe Chargers gave up a 74-yard touchdown to Julius Thomas early in the game.
Tackling still an issue: For a second straight week, San Diego’s defense struggled to stop explosive plays. Denver finished with five passing plays of 18 or more yards, including two for touchdowns. A week earlier, Washington’s offense finished with eight plays of 20 or more yards against San Diego’s defense. The Chargers are struggling to take the proper angle to the ball, and not enough defenders are rallying to the ball. “It’s just tackling,” San Diego middle linebacker Donald Butler said. “You’ve got to tackle -- plain and simple.”

That Peyton Manning guy is pretty good: Manning, the top-rated passer in the league, did not disappoint, finishing 25-of-36 for 330 yards and four touchdown passes. The Chargers managed to get some pressure on Manning, sacking him twice, including a strip sack by Tourek Williams that was recovered by Butler. Manning also suffered a right ankle injury on a hit by Corey Liuget. But Manning still finished with a 135.2 passer rating, and is 3-0 against the Chargers since his arrival in Denver.

On the road again: Losers of two straight for the first time this season, the Chargers hit the road for a two-game stretch that begins in Miami on Sunday, and has the Chargers traveling to Kansas City to face the team’s AFC West rivals in two weeks. San Diego is 2-3 on the road this season. After back-to-back road games, the Chargers finish with four of their last five games at home. Even with the two straight losses, at 4-5 the Chargers are a game behind the New York Jets (5-4) for the final AFC wild-card spot.

Fake punt works: San Diego’s fake punt attempt in the opening quarter worked, but it didn’t create game-changing momentum for the Chargers. At fourth-and-1 from San Diego’s 29-yard line, the Chargers lined up to punt. However, up back Eric Weddle took the snap and plunged down the middle of the line for 2 yards to pick up the first down. Weddle’s effort was wasted when the Chargers had to punt four plays later after failing to pick up a first down. “I had a nice little collision there, but I feel I can get 1 yard over anyone,” Weddle said. “If I can’t, I shouldn’t be in there.”

Eric D. Williams

ESPN San Diego Chargers reporter

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