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Week 14: All Three Units Awful Again In Defeat
Slow start on defense put them in an early hole.
by Steve Saslow

Here are our position by position grades:

Quarterback:

Ryan Fitzpatrick threw an awful interception that bounced off a Chargers helmet before being picked. He had Hagan wide open for what would have been likely been an 87 yard score but he hung it up allowing the defender to get back in position to knock it away. He threw two poor fade routes into the end zone on the first possession of the second half. His interception that was returned for a touchdown was a particularly brutal pass. He completed only 13 of 34 passes for 176 yards and two picks. A pathetic QB rating of 31.0.
Tyler Thigpen got in the game in garbage time and threw an interception.
Grade F: Fitzpatrick has been awful since signing the new contract.

Running Backs:

C.J. Spiller didn't get much of a chance since they fell behind early. He got 12 carries for 46 yards, a lot of those yards came in garbage time.
Tashard Choice had one carry for 12 yards and one catch.
Johnny White had one carry for four yards on the final drive.
Grade D: Didn't have a chance to contribute.

Receivers:

Stevie Johnson had a career high 53 yard reception and caught four balls for 116 yards in all.
Brad Smith had five passes thrown his way, none connected.
David Nelson had two catches for 20 yards.
Derek Hagan was thrown to once in the first half and he was wide open for what could have been a huge play if it wasn't underthrown. He caught his first two passes as a Bill in the second half for 28 yards.
Lee Smith had one catch for zero yards as he started at tight end.
Mike Caussin also is credited with a start as the team came out in the two tight end offense. He had 2 catches for 19 yards.
Grade D: It was hard for this unit as Fitz was awful.

Offensive Line:

Chris Hairston saw most of the action but was replaced a couple of time. He did give up a sack.
Demetrius Bell got some action for the first time since early in the year at left tackle and did fine.
Grade B: Gave up only one sack, opened up holes for the running game and gave the QB time to throw.

Defensive Line:

Marcell Dareus sacked Philip Rivers on the Chargers opening possession. He had five tackles, two for lost yardage.
Dwan Edwards had six tackles.
Alex Carrington had one tackle and couldn't run Rivers down from behind on a touchdown that was called back by a holding penalty.
Grade D: Gave up huge chunks of yardage on the ground early in the game.

Linebackers:

Chris Kelsay drew a holding penalty and had six tackles.
Nick Barnett had a quiet eight tackles.
Kelvin Sheppard was beaten by Antonio Gates for a 12 yard completion on the Chargers first series. He had a team high 14 tackles but many were down the field after good gainers.
Spencer Johnson allowed too many plays to get the edge. Is just out of his element at outside linebacker. He had three tackles.
Bryan Scott had an up and down day playing linebacker. He was beaten by Gates for a 17 yard pass on the first play of the game and then by Ryan Matthews two plays later for a first down. He was then called for defensive holding when his receiver was about to get wide open for a score. In the second half he recovered a fumble for a touchdown and then defensed two plays on the next series before giving up a touchdown to Gates. He finished with seven tackles.
Grade D: Gave up huge chunks of yardage.

Secondary:

Drayton Florence knocked away a pass that he should have tried to intercept. Defended one pass and was good in coverage.
Leodis McKelvin got the start for the injured Aaron Williams and was good in coverage as he wasn't picked on.
Jairus Byrd had a very quiet game with three tackles.
George Wilson was beaten by Gates for the Chargers opening touchdown. He had six tackles.
Grade C: Settled down but still allowed three touchdowns.

Special Teams:

Brian Moorman had one of the worst punts of his career, a 16 yarder. His second punt went for 55 yards.
Dave Rayner missed a 53 yard field goal when the snap by Garrison Sanborn was high but Moorman brought it down. He hit a 37 yarder.
Justin Rogers was the kick returner in this game. He had a 33 yard return in the first quarter. Finished with a 24 yard average on four returns.
Alex Carrington blocked an extra point.
Coverage Units stopped one kickoff return at the 13. They averaged 21 yards on two kick returns and had one punt return for 14 yards.
Grade F: This unit failed and hurt the team this week.

Coaching:

Chan Gailey continues to shy away from the run. Why did he go downfield on 3rd and 2 in Chargers territory on the opening possession? Forced to waste a timeout late in the first half before a FG attempt because the play clock was running out.
George Edwards once again failed to have his defensive unit ready to play. They came out flat like they have so many times this year. The Chargers easily marched down the field for an opening touchdown. They started playing better but showed no mental toughness after the Chargers were successful on fake punt. They easily marched for a score.
Bruce DeHaven got a blocked extra point on the positive side of the ledger. On the negative side, they were not ready for the fake punt and had a missed field goal.
Grade F: Another year out of the playoffs.



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