Week 6 Game Recap: San Diego Chargers 27, Oakland Raiders 14
What you need to know
RB LaDainian Tomlinson took over this game early on, which gave San Diego an early cushion from which they never looked back. Tomlinson became the first player since David Patten to run, catch, and throw a touchdown pass in one game. He also tied Lenny Mooreís NFL record of scoring at least one touchdown in 18 consecutive games. Additionally, Tomlinson became the first running back in league history to score at least ten touchdowns in each of his first five seasons (Shaun Alexander became the second ever later Sunday night).
QB Drew Brees played a smart, efficient game. One got the feeling that Brees certainly would have posted big numbers had he needed to, but the game was fairly well in hand at 24-7 at halftime. Brees attempted just eight passes in the second half, completing three.
Though they were helped mightily by the Randy Moss injury, the Chargersí defense played an outstanding ballgame. LaMont Jordan was bottled up all game long, and the Chargers perfectly employed a bend but donít break defensive scheme in the fourth quarter. The Raiders drove downfield multiple times in the final quarter, yet only were able to come away with a score once.
Starting C Nick Hardwick limped off the field under his own power after suffering an injury. No update was given on his condition, and there were no incidents during the QB/Center exchange after he left.
WR Randy Moss was injured while leaping for a pass early in the first quarter. He was trying to fight off a double team when he jumped for a deep ball from Kerry Collins. Moss apparently injured his groin at some point during the play, and it was later reported that he also suffered bruised ribs as well. He left the game for several plays, briefly returned, and finally left the game for good soon thereafter. Moss failed to register a single catch prior to the injury.
Without Moss, QB Kerry Collins looked bad. He put up big yardage numbers, with much of that a product of trailing by so many points and the Chargersí defense softening up a bit. Collins was intercepted for the first time all year, and nearly was picked off several more times. He looked generally hurried all game long, threw many times on the run (not a Collinsí strong suit), and did not look very poised in the pocket. If Moss is forced to miss any time, Collins has to receive a significant downgrade for that time.
Somewhat surprisingly, the Raidersí defense enabled them to stay in the game for a time in the second half. While the offense was floundering, the Raiders defense really clamped down on Tomlinson and Brees. The Chargers had a lot of trouble moving the ball after halftime, and Oakland capitalized on that in cutting the lead to 13. That, however, was the closest the Raiders would come. Also, keep in mind that it was the Raiders defenseís awful first half play that put the team in such a bind to begin with.
What you ought to know
|QB Drew Brees, Pass: 14 - 20 - 164 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - -5 - 0|
Brees was quietly efficient, completing 70% of his passes and tossing a score to a wide-open LaDainian Tomlinson for 35 yards. Brees wasnít asked to do much in the second half, as the Chargers merely waited out the clock for the most part and Brees was just three of eight after halftime. He was nearly intercepted on a third down play late in the game, which was a curious call to begin with since San Diego was trying to run out the clock. Outside of that one dangerous pass, Brees was flawless. He could have had an earlier touchdown pass to WR Keenan McCardell, but the receiver simply dropped the ball in the end zone.
|RB LaDainian Tomlinson, Pass: 1 - 1 - 4 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 31 - 140 - 1, Rec: 2 - 39 - 1 (5 targets)|
Tomlinson had an incredible fantasy game. Although, his incredible games are becoming so common that one almost has to say itís become his routine. Tomlinson caught an early 35 yard touchdown reception, a play on which he was wide open down the left sideline. He later added a seven yard touchdown run off tackle left. He capped his phenomenal day with a short touchdown pass to backup TE Justin Peelle from four yards out. Believe it or not, Tomlinson actually didnít do much in the second half, and just about all of his productivity came in the first thirty minutes of the game. Tomlinson achieved several milestones in the game. He tied Lenny Mooreís league record 18 consecutive games with at least one touchdown. Tomlinson also became the first running back in league history to score at least ten touchdowns in each of his first five seasons. Finally, with the passing score, he became the first running back since Alfred Anderson in 1984 to throw at least two touchdown passes in a single season. Tomlinson seemingly had a costly fumble late in the game as the Chargers were trying to run out the clock. HC Marty Schottenheimer challenged the call, it was reversed, and San Diego retained possession. Tomlinson lost three yards on a play that was called back for a penalty.
Turner once again got a decent sample of carries, and again responded with an excellent effort. In this game, Turnerís strong running skills were once again on display and he pounded the Raiders for over seven yards per carry. Most impressive for Turner was a run on which he pounded past several Raider defenders. The announcer yelled out ďWow!Ē, thinking it was Tomlinson again busting through for a big gain when in reality it was Turner. You know youíre having a great game when people are mistaking your running for that of LaDainian Tomlinson. Watching him run, he appears to have terrific balance. He almost never is tackled on the first hit, and the team doesnít seem to miss a beat when he comes in to run. Turner was in briefly to spell Tomlinson on one occasion and managed to get the ball to the three yard line, but couldnít punch it in. Three plays later, Tomlinson threw his touchdown pass to Peelle. Turner gained one yard on a play that was called back due to a penalty. Turner had lost one yard on a run, but Antonio Gates was called for holding, so that yard was tacked back onto Turnerís totals.
McCardellís day was more significant for what he did not do than for what he did do. Early in the first quarter, McCardell was targeted for a potential touchdown pass in the end zone. It was a catch that McCardell always hauls in, but he inexplicably dropped it.
Caldwell had one big reception, but wasnít heavily involved in the offense. He also contributed immediately to the game, returning the opening kick 60 yards and into Raidersí territory. Each week, Caldwell takes another positive step towards a full recovery from his knee injury.
Parker caught just one pass before leaving the game hobbled with an injury. It was unclear what happened, and no update was given on his status.
Peelle caught two balls in the first quarter, and added another reception on the touchdown pass from Tomlinson. Still, Peelleís fantasy value lies solely in the health of starter Antonio Gates. As long as Gates is on the field, Peelleís fantasy production will be very limited, and games like this will be just about impossible to predict.
Gates had a quiet afternoon, though he had an opportunity go just out of his reach for a score. He got open in the end zone, but was overthrown by Drew Brees in the corner. Gates was able to draw a pass interference penalty in the third quarter, but really didnít do much in the game.
Kaeding connected on both of his field goal attempts, and in fact has not missed a single kick thus far in 2005. His kicks in this game were from 33 and 32 yards out.
A simple check on the stats tells you all you need to know about how the Chargersí run defense played, as they allowed just 39 rushing yards to Oakland. Granted, the Raiders fell behind by a wide margin early on and had to almost abandon the run. Still, when the game was still close and it was early on, the Raiders had difficulty running the football anyway.
San Diego did a very good job in this phase of the game, despite allowing nearly 300 passing yards to Kerry Collins. Most of those yards came late in the fourth quarter during three separate drives, only one of which resulted in a score. When the Chargers needed to make a stop, they did so. While San Diego did intercept Collins once, they could have and should have had several more. Clinton Hart dropped a ball that was right in his hands, and Quentin Jammer had a ball go off his fingertips and right into the hands of Doug Gabriel on a play in the fourth quarter. San Diego didnít get nearly as much pressure on Collins late in the game as they did early on, but it was still enough to shut down Oakland when they needed to. Of course, it didnít hurt that Randy Moss did not play any of the final three quarters. CB Sammy Davis left the game with an ankle injury and did not return, but no update was given on his condition.
Collins had an awful game. The passing totals will tell you otherwise, but thatís why weíre here for you, isnít it? Collinsí day was inauspicious right from the outset. His very first pass of the game was nearly intercepted by Clinton Hart, but went right through his hands. His second pass of the game actually was picked off. The ball was overthrown, and Collins was hit as he released. It was Collinsí first interception of the season, and his first in his last 151 pass attempts. As the half wore on, Collins had less and less time to throw, and the Raiders offense looked generally bewildered. The second half went a bit better for Collins, as he had much more time to throw and a much bigger pocket to step into. He moved the ball downfield on San Diego, especially in the fourth quarter, which explains the high yardage total. But Collins was unable to find the end zone. The Chargers really clamped down once Oakland got in close to the goal line. Collins had TE Courtney Anderson open in the back of the end zone on one occasion, but overthrew him. That was pretty much his best scoring opportunity, and he was actually lucky to not lose any more points from his fantasy total as he was nearly intercepted on two other occasions. Collins lost 21 yards passing on two plays that were called back due to penalties.
Jordan had another hard fought day running the football, but once again was able to withstand that and deliver a very productive fantasy game for owners. The Raiders fell behind by a large deficit early on, so the run game was fairly abandoned by halftime. This created a positive situation for Jordan owners, as the RB remained an integral part of the passing game, catching five passes in the second half (four in the fourth quarter alone). This is a very good sign, as it likely means that Jordan will never be far from the teamís plans no matter the score of the game. Jordanís TD runs were a tale of two carries. The first score, he fought for every yard and pushed the pile into the end zone. On his second score, he waltzed in untouched after being stopped on the previous play.
Once Moss left with an injury, that opened the door for Porter to put up WR1-type stats, especially against a porous San Diego secondary. Unfortunately for Porter owners, they saw more of the same of what heís done to this point: inconsistency. On one play, Porter can run a weak route and fail to get open. And on the very next play, heís making a remarkable catch and demonstrating superb hands. He was thrown to a lot, but didnít do all that much with the opportunity. Still, if Moss is out for any time, Porter would likely see a few more looks in his direction. Of course, heíd also likely see more defenders in his way, but thatís the trade-off.
If thereís one player who really stands to benefit from a potential Randy Moss injury, itís Gabriel. He is a solid route-runner with very good hands, though he lacks the breakaway threat of a Moss (then again, doesnít everyone?). With Moss out of the mix, Gabriel was targeted an astounding ten times in the second half alone. He showed great hands in particular on one reception, and incredible concentration on another reception along the sideline. Gabriel goes from a player who opened the season as the WR4 to a player who may see himself in the starting lineup should Moss be forced to miss any time. He will likely be a hot pickup in fantasy leagues if Moss should be forced to miss any time. Gabriel lost 14 yards receiving on a play that was called back due to penalty.
As with everyone else in the Raiders WR stable, Whitted gets an upgrade. He would assume the role of the third receiver in the offense if Moss is out. Whitted was thrown to four times in the fourth quarter alone, and could see even more looks with Moss out. Whitted lost 7 yards receiving on a play that was called back due to penalty.
Moss jumped and landed awkwardly during an attempted pass early in the first quarter. He laid on the ground in pain for several moments before being helped off the field. He briefly returned to the game, only to go out again. He was being looked at and worked on by the trainers on the sidelines for most of the remainder of the first half. Moss did not return to the game in the second half, and his status for next week is yet to be determined. It was reported that Moss suffered both a groin and a rib injury on the play. As owners of Moss last year can attest, his injuries can tend to linger and greatly affect his ability to compete. If Moss is forced to miss any time, Doug Gabriel would be the likely starter in his place. You can be sure that weíll be on top of any news on Moss throughout the course of the week.
Andersonís best opportunity for a score came and went, as Kerry Collins sailed a pass intended for the big TE over his head and out of the back of the end zone. Outside of that, Anderson had a very quiet day.
Janikowski connected on both of his extra point attempts, but the Raiders were never in position to kick a field goal.
Despite the way Oakland opened (allowing Tomlinson to roll for 100 yards seemingly before the teams got on the field); the Raiders actually did a very good job defensively in the second half. Tomlinson didnít do much damage after halftime despite remaining in the game the entire way. San Diego had just 45 of their 190 rushing yards in the second half. Of course, the flipside to that is that the Chargers absolutely rolled for 145 yards prior to halftime. LaDainian Tomlinson ran all over them, and had Raider defenders falling over themselves in futile attempts to tackle him. All in all, one has to say it was a hugely disappointing day for the Raiders defense, but they definitely showed signs of life as the game went on.
Oakland had an extremely difficult time getting to Brees for much of the game. They finally did manage to sack him twice late in the contest, but by that point it was too little, too late. They also never came close to intercepting him until the fourth quarter, and even that was more a case of Brees making a poor decision rather than the Raiders making a play. During the game, one got the feeling that they only reason Brees didnít torch the Raiders for 300+ yards is because he didnít need to. Considering no San Diego player recorded more than 39 yards receiving and the team totaled just 164, itís tough to see how poorly Oakland played in this phase of the game. But they simply couldnít do a thing.