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Other Week 7 Game Recaps

Week 7 Game Recap: San Diego Chargers 17, Philadelphia Eagles 20

What you need to know

San Diego Chargers

This game was a tale of two halves for the Chargers’ offense, which struggled to move the ball in the first half against an aggressive Eagles’ defense, and then put up 17 unanswered points in the second half. In the end, a Philadelphia touchdown following a blocked Nate Kaeding field goal attempt and a costly Reche Caldwell fumble on the Chargers’ ensuing possession cost San Diego the game.

LaDainian Tomlinson failed to find the end zone in the game, breaking his NFL record tying streak of 18 straight games with a touchdown. He had absolutely nowhere to run against the Eagles’ defense, and finished the game with a career low seven rushing yards on 17 carries. Remarkably, Tomlinson’s total yardage for the game was negative until mid-way through the fourth quarter.

With a pair of touchdown passes and two interceptions, Drew Brees played a solid, efficient game. He made good throws when needed, and rallied his team from a ten point deficit in the face of a blitz happy Philadelphia passing defense. He connected with Keenan McCardell on a perfectly thrown 19 yard touchdown pass for his first score. Antonio Gates, the recipient of Brees’ second touchdown pass, put up all of his 72 receiving yards in the second half.

Philadelphia Eagles

Coming off of their bye week, the Eagles’ offense struggled to move the football and sustain drives in this game. They played uneven, sloppy football, marred by dropped passes, errant throws, costly penalties, and poor clock management. Fortunately for the Eagles, their defense played inspired football, and kept them within striking distance of the surging Chargers in the second half. A blocked field goal returned for a touchdown put the Eagles back on top for good late in the fourth quarter.

Donovan McNabb played well at times, but struggled with his accuracy for much of the afternoon. McNabb completed an Eagle record 35 passes on 54 attempts for 287 yards, but most of these connections were on short underneath routes to his backs and tight ends. Sorely missing from the Eagles’ offense was any sort of vertical passing game. McNabb’s lone touchdown pass of the day was a bullet that found Terrell Owens running across the back of the end zone. No other Eagles’ receiver did much to distinguish himself in the game.

Brian Westbrook had 100 combined passing and rushing yards in the game, but failed to find the end zone. Westbrook enjoyed more success in the passing game, where he totaled 75 yards on ten receptions. Westbrook managed just 25 yards in ten attempts on the ground. Overall, the Eagles seemed content to stick with a one dimensional passing offense. At one point in the game, the Eagles called 25 successive pass plays.

What you ought to know

QB Drew Brees, Pass: 23 - 40 - 299 - 2 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 1 - 9 - 0

Brees played reasonably well and efficiently in this game, as he was able to make a number of big throws and rally his team from a ten point second half deficit. He was pressured all afternoon by a heavy rush from Philadelphia blitzers, and more often than not, made good reads to find the open receiver. His first touchdown came on a 19 yard strike to Keenan McCardell after he looked the safety off then threw the ball into tight single coverage. Brees’ second touchdown pass came on a nice throw to Antonio Gates on a short fade pattern. Brees’ cannot be blamed for his first interception, which drilled McCardell in the shoulder pads before landing in the hands of an Eagles’ defender.

RB LaDainian Tomlinson, Rush: 17 - 7 - 0, Rec: 4 - 26 - 0 (6 targets)

Tomlinson had his worst game as a professional. After losing yards on each of his first four carries, Tomlinson did not reach the positive yardage mark until the middle of the fourth quarter. He had great difficulty finding any running room against the Eagles’ run defense, which dominated the line of scrimmage. Despite his struggles, Tomlinson was given successive carries inside the Philadelphia three yard line in the fourth quarter, but he could not find the end zone. His NFL record tying streak of scoring a touchdown in 18 straight games came to an end in Philadelphia.

RB Lorenzo Neal, Rush: 2 - 5 - 0, Rec: 1 - 21 - 0 (1 targets)

Neal had a quiet five yards on two carries, but was the Chargers’ leading rusher until the fourth quarter.

WR Keenan McCardell, Rec: 5 - 78 - 1 (8 targets)

McCardell had a solid afternoon, notching 78 yards and finding the end zone on a 19 yard post pattern. He made several other key catches to convert third downs in long yardage situations. He was responsible for Drew Brees’ first interception, which bounced off of this shoulder pads before landing in the hands of the Eagles’ defender.

WR Reche Caldwell, Rec: 4 - 97 - 0 (7 targets)

Caldwell put together a nice game, dicing up the Eagles’ secondary for 97 yards on four catches. However, Caldwell’s afternoon will be remembered solely for his lost fumble deep in Philadelphia territory late in the fourth quarter. The fumble prevented his team from kicking a game tying field goal. Caldwell had a great long catch in the first quarter on a long sideline route with his team backed up at its own goal line. Caldwell appeared to have his knee down while he was fumbling. It was a very close play that was reviewed and upheld.

WR Eric Parker (2 targets)

Parker did not figure prominently into the San Diego game plan. He was targeted on a deep throw at the end of the second quarter. He had half a step on the defender, but the ball was overthrown.

TE Antonio Gates, Rec: 8 - 72 - 1 (12 targets)

Gates was held without a catch in the first half of the game, but came alive in the second half. He repeatedly made big catches in the middle of the field and shed would be Eagles’ tacklers to keep San Diego drives alive. His touchdown came on a short fade route to the left side of the end zone.

TE Justin Peelle, Rec: 1 - 5 - 0 (2 targets)

Peelle’s first and only catch of the day converted a San Diego third down.

PK Nate Kaeding 1 - 2 FG, 2 - 2 XP, 5 points

Kaeding had a 40 yard field goal attempt blocked and returned for a Philadelphia touchdown to put the Eagles ahead with 2:25 remaining in the game. The block occurred after a Philadelphia defender got good penetration on the field goal try, and did not seem to be Kaeding’s fault. Kaeding converted a 34 yard attempt and also hit two extra points.

SD Rush Defense

The Chargers’ run defense played well, holding Philadelphia runners to 24 yards on the ground. The longest run they allowed on the day was nine yards.

SD Pass Defense

The maligned San Diego pass defense had a good game against the pass-oriented Eagles’ offense, despite missing a number of key players due to injury. The unit picked off McNabb twice and sacked him three times. On numerous occasions, despite having ample time to throw, McNabb was unable to find open receivers downfield. He was subsequently forced to check down to his underneath routes or throw it away.

QB Donovan McNabb, Pass: 35 - 54 - 287 - 1 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 4 - -1 - 0

McNabb had a tough afternoon, as he struggled with his accuracy at times, and got little help from his receivers at other times. In early action, he badly overthrew a wide open L.J. Smith on what surely would have been a touchdown. Throughout the game, McNabb seemed to be unable to find open receivers downfield even though he had plenty of time in the pocket. McNabb cannot be blamed for his first interception, which occurred when Greg Lewis coughed the ball into the air after being hit by a defender. McNabb’s second interception came on a poor throw to Owens on which McNabb never saw the defensive back that left his man to undercut the throw. McNabb’s touchdown pass was a perfectly thrown pass to Terrell Owens streaking across the back of the end zone with three defenders converging.

RB Brian Westbrook, Rush: 10 - 25 - 0, Rec: 10 - 75 - 0 (13 targets)

Westbrook put up a quiet 100 yards of combined offense but failed to find the end zone. He found running room scarce against the San Diego defense, gaining only 25 yards on ten carriers. He enjoyed more success in the receiving game, where he caught ten passes on 13 targets for 75 yards.

RB Lamar Gordon, Rec: 3 - 6 - 0 (5 targets)

Lamar Gordon was not much of a factor in the game. He slipped on one screen pass which might have gone for a decent gain. He was targeted on one throw near the goal line, but never had a chance to get into the end zone before San Diego defenders converged on him.

RB Josh Parry, Rec: 2 - 9 - 0 (3 targets)

Parry started the game in the backfield and caught a McNabb pass for a short gain on the Eagles’ first play. He also made a great catch on a poorly thrown ball in the red zone in the second quarter.

WR Terrell Owens, Rec: 7 - 53 - 1 (10 targets)

Despite catching his one hundredth career touchdown pass, Owens had a pretty ordinary day. Owens was not targeted on any deep throws downfield, and failed to break any big plays running after the catch. His touchdown came on a four yard pass from McNabb while Owens was streaking across the back of the end zone. Owens had just 53 receiving yards on the afternoon.

WR Greg Lewis, Rec: 4 - 30 - 0 (6 targets)

Lewis was responsible for a costly turnover with the Eagles driving deep in San Diego territory. On the play, Lewis caught a 25 yard strike from McNabb, but coughed the ball up into the hands of a San Diego defender when he was drilled from behind. Lewis managed 30 yards on four catches.

WR Reggie Brown, Rec: 1 - 11 - 0 (1 targets)

Brown caught the only ball thrown in his direction – a nice grab after a solid hit by the defender.

WR Billy McMullen, Rec: 1 - 36 - 0 (1 targets)

McMullen made his second catch of the season on a deep pass down the middle of the field for 36 yards. It was the Eagles’ longest play from scrimmage on the day.

TE L.J. Smith, Rec: 6 - 63 - 0 (12 targets)

Smith had a productive first half of the game, but seemed to disappear in the second half. Coming off of an ankle injury, Smith was targeted often on the Eagles’ first few possessions. He missed out on a likely touchdown when he was left wide open in the secondary and overthrown by McNabb. Smith was fortunate to have a lost fumble negated by a roughing the passer penalty in the first half.

TE Stephen Spach, Rec: 1 - 4 - 0 (4 targets)

Spach made the least of his few opportunities in this game. On successive Eagles’ drives in the fourth quarter, Spach dropped passes that hit him right in the hands.

PK Todd France 2 - 2 FG, 2 - 2 XP, 8 points

France hit field goals from 23 and 40 yards. The latter attempt hit the right upright but managed to go through the goal posts. France also converted two extra point attempts.

PHI Rush Defense

The Philadelphia rush defense, which has struggled at times this year, had a stellar afternoon. The unit allowed just 21 rushing yards on the day to one of the league’s best rushing attacks. The Eagles’ front four flat out dominated the line of scrimmage and was in the San Diego backfield all day.

PHI Pass Defense

The Eagles’ blitz happy pass defense was in the face of Brees all afternoon. They seemed content to take their chances with single coverage downfield while they pressured Brees from all angles. The pass defense finished with three sacks and two interceptions. Eagles’ middle linebacker Jeremiah Trotter had a monster day on defense, with five tackles, a sack, an interception, and a forced fumble.

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