Chargers – 49ers Report Card Recap
QB – A+
The argument stands over the value of a quarterback rating. That being said, 150.5 is enough to state the outstanding play by Chargers QB Philip Rivers. Pinpoint accuracy from one of the most unusual throwing methods in the NFL today continues to astonish opposing defenses. Without even cracking the 300 yard mark, Rivers again showed that he is one of the top QB’s in the game today.
RB – A
Parity among running backs. If you can’t have one back with a monster 100+ yard performance, the next best thing is a combined performance above and beyond that number. Tolbert and Matthews carried for a near-equal number of yards and attempts, and looked as if Natrone Means and LaDainian Tomlinson had teamed up on the field. If the combination of the bulldozer power running of Tolbert and quick cuts of Matthews continues, this running game may well be the edge to carry the Chargers all the way.
WR – A
Vincent Jackson did not fake an injury. Some could argue that his astounding performance was in response to his critics and internet naysayers. Simply put, it was just that old combination of Rivers and V-Jack that looked Thursday night as if he had never left. Kelly Washington (who?) seemed to give everything he had left until knocked from the game, leaving V-Jack as essentially the only receiver left on the field.
TE – B+
Gates could only grin on the sidelines at his team’s performance, despite the fact it seemed the two backup tight ends were nonexistent. At least, to the naked eye. McMichael was a perfect support on receiving and support on either side of the line set up key blocks for both Rivers and the running game.
OL – B+
The linemen on both the offensive and defensive side received a game ball , and with good reason. After getting beat on simple 3-on-6 charges, a fire was lit before even the second quarter and the linemen pushed back. Allowing only one sack and opening up the running game, the o-line needs to keep up this level of play if the Chargers are to have any chance of making the playoffs.
DL – A+
6 Sacks. A mere 61 yards rushing. It almost seems unnecessary to do anything but list the stat line. But these linemen need to be recognized. After injury, backups and constant criticism over the first half of the season, the Bolts’ defensive linemen were no longer the weak link. Antonio Garay has broken out and should be in definite consideration as the Chargers’ defensive MVP. After his sole sack in the game, Luis Castillo shouted to the crowd at Qualcomm, as if finally realizing that they could lead the defense to victory from here on out.
DB – A+
The 49ers looked as if they were ready to throw in the towel before the second half had even begun. Niners QB Alex Smith was getting throttled at every turn, and coverage was air-tight. Even when a receiver found himself open, a split-second later Chargers hands were knocking the pass away. Defensive backs can be rated by a number of stats, be it interceptions, sacks and other sole standout numbers. But when a team is held to only 2-for-12 on 3rd down conversions, the defense is doing something right.
ST – A
Nate the Great is again the most accurate kicker in NFL history. Nate Kaeding fluctuates in and out of the #1 spot with each hit and miss, but going 2 for 2 on field goals put him on top once again. No huge returns by Sproles or Cason, but no major disasters either. The Chargers seem to be breathing a bit easier knowing that their special teams crew is a group they can rely on. The bump from B to A is all due to the courage of the helmetless Tolbert, who ran an entire field just to be slammed at the last second from a Niners block. That’s dedication.
Coaching – A+
Having a line that gives you time to formulate plays is a deadly weapon in the hands of Norv Turner. The Bolts were able to run, pass and keep the football safe for a solid 60 minutes. No turnovers, few penalties, and some creativity that allowed some big plays all come from two factors: fantastic effort put forth by the entire Chargers team, and strong leadership from their head coach. Well done, Bolts, now keep it rolling.