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Chargers-2 -- The Keys to Beating the Bolts

January 06, 2009 by Still Mill

SD playoff pregame
Chargers-2 -- The Keys to Beating the Bolts

The Stillers face the Bolts this Sunday in a rematch of the bizarre 11-10 Stiller win in Nov.In that game, the Stillers racked up prolific yardage, never turned the ball over, and scored all of 11 points, 2 of which came from a safety by DPOY Jamie Harrison and 3 on a FG with 11 tics remaining in the game.


The Chargers advanced to the div playoff round with a stirring, come-from behind win over Indy.


Offensive Keys:


- Keeping SD off balance.�� If Arians, the supreme dullard that he is, is going to roll out another vanilla, bland as skim milk game plan, it�s gonna be an ugly, tight ballgame.Blandly plunging Parker up the gut and having BenRoth take 5-step drops amidst whale-shit pass patterns, will be a recipe for disaster.�� This is the playoffs; it�s do or die.Boots, rolls, reverses, slip screens, shovel passes (hasn�t been one all season) -- all must be considered and ready to run.Of course, nothing should be done in a grab-bag fashion.If SD is overpursuing, then adjust and call a play that exploits the over-pursuit.Tempo should be UP, rather than the glacially slow pace that Arians stupidly loves to promulgate.The no-huddle should be used early and often, if nothing else to keep SD guessing and limit their package defenses.


- Benji must be decisive.This cannot be over-stated.Timid, gun-shy pussifism is a co-joining recipe for disaster.On 1st or 2nd down, when in doubt, throw the ball away.1st down sacks that create a 2nd & 19, or a fumble, will give SD every chance to steal this game.�� And believe me, SD is coming into this game banking on a very realistic expectation of dropping Ben for at least 3 or 4 foolish, totally unnecessary sacks and seizing a stripped ball or 2.


- More involvement from Moore.�� No player has been more reliable this season, yet used in such a bizarre, forgetful manner, as has Mewelde Moore.The first 3 weeks of the season, despite being a veteran whom Coach Tomlin had worked with, admired, and �recruited� as a UFA, he was treated like a rookie free agent who made the club on the last cut.Only when Parker and Mendenhall were injured was Moore, out of desperation, given a good opportunity to produce.And produce he did, quite superbly.Then Parker returned to the lineup somewhat late in the season, and Moore was again vanquished to a 2-bit roleplayer. In the critical battle against the Titans a few weeks ago, Moore had all of 3 carries and 2 catches.Not only has Moore rushed the ball with aplomb, but he also has firmly established himself as a trusty safety valve for BenRoth and gives the passing game a tremendous boost with his catching and shifty RAC skills. Parker should still be used, as should Russell on short-yardage plunges, but quite clearly Moore needs more�not less.��



Defensive Keys:


- Pressure Buzz Lightyear.�� Phil �Buzz Lightyear� Rivers is more than capable of shredding this defense the way Ferry Collins did a few weeks ago down in DollyLand.�� If, of course, he�s given ample time to peruse downfield, nibble on a crumpet, and then step unfettered into his throws.The Chargers had some problems last weekend staving off Mathis and Freeney, who are indeed a frightful duo.Woodley and Harrison need to apply the same pressure.More importantly, Dick LeBeau needs to keep Philip Creeks jittery and bruised throughout the day.None of this pansy-assed 3-man rush bullshit.We hear endless babble from the Pittsburgh media about what a clever, creative, genius innovator Dick is.Funny, because he wasn�t all too clever in Sup Bowl 40, with Darrell Jackson and Jerramy Stevens running around on nearly every play, wide open.And he wasn�t all that clever a few weeks ago, when he refused to apply pressure and journeyman Kerry Colins looked like a combination of Otto Graham, Roger Staubach, and Steve Young.Now�s the time for Dick to show innovation and prove the genius label.��


- Stop Sproles.This is a huge concern, both on the ground and in the air.We�ll never know why Sproles rotted the bench in the first meeting, but unless he�s exhausted from last week�s unbelievable effort, Sproles will touch the ball a lot this Sunday.With LT being hobbled, the Chargers would be wise to throw their eggs into the basket of Sproles, who has the heart of a lion.Some folk think the Stillers run defense, which was soft late in the year, was susceptible only to big, plowing RBs like Balt�s Le�Ron McClain and Tenn �s Lendale White.Actually, and not surprisingly, that perception is not true.


Faulk (NE)�������������������� 6 rush, 73 yards

Morris (NE)������������������ 10 rush, 45 yards

Choice (Dal)����������������� 23 rush, 88 yards

C. Johnson (Tenn)�������� 16 rush, 69 yards


Morris is the biggest of this bunch, at 220 pounds.The rest are quick, elusive runners.Sproles has the same lightning speed at Chris Johnson, and you can better believe Norv Turner will be foaming at the mouth while reviewing the game tape of the PIT-Tenn game.Sproles has the speed to access the corner, plus the savvy & quickness to cut back against an over-pursuing defense.The rabid over-pursuit by Farrior just killed the defense time and time again versus Tenn and it clearly cannot happen against a fleet RB like Sproles.


While we�re on the subject, the overall rush defense has been rather cheesy down the stretch --


Rushing yards the defense surrendered in first 11 games:�� 66.5


Rushing yards the defense surrendered in past four games:111.5


��� An adjunct concern is limiting Sproles in the passing game.Due to the stubborn stupidity of LeBeau and Tomlin, the Steelers start the very slowest pair of ILBs in all of pro football.This is just ripe for bare-assed exposure on so-called running downs.We all can remember Mo Jones-Drew�s long catch-and-run in last year�s playoff loss, in which he easily beat the clod-hopped coverage of Farrior, then eluded (while being 3 inches from the sideline chalk) The Great Taunto and raced down the sidelines for a long TD.No one is asking for these 2 stiffs to play like Urlacher, Lambert, or Butkus, but a modicum of NFL-caliber linebacking would be an immense help.


- Shut the Gates.Like Sproles, Gates wasn�t much of a factor at all in the first meeting, grabbing 2 passes for 10 yards.Gates was on fire last weekend versus Indy, snaring 8 balls for 87 yards.Despite the presence of The Winged God of LB Coverage (Taunto Farrior), TEs have enjoyed pillaging this Stiller defense on numerous occasions the past couple of years.Ike and Company can handle the SD WR corps, but Gates presents a mismatch that must be minimized.



Simpletons like Ron Cook are already chalking this up as a �W�, and are already looking forward to playing Balt, despite the fact that Tenn might very well bottle the rookie Flacco and the Stillers will have their own internal hurdles trying to overcome the sabotage of Bruce Arians.Some daft simpletons are claiming that SD will be out of its element, playing on the road in cold weather.Just remember that SD already flew across the country and played the Stillers in the cold, in the snow, about 7 weeks ago.  We won, barely, 11-10.  Nothing can be taken for granted when Bruce Arians is running an offense in the playoffs.


Teams dominate an opposition when they overwhelm the enemy with firepower, while also outflanking and outmaneuvering that enemy.Arians has no such interest.Instead, he�d rather play fiddle-faddle and grabass with a dull, unimaginative, painfully obvious attack that is easier for the enemy to read than a Mother Goose story.That being fact, you can expect a true dogfight on Sunday afternoon.

It all adds up to another tooth n� nail affair, with the game in doubt well into the 4Q.Nothing has been easy for these �08 Stillers, and it doesn�t figure this div playoff game will be easy, either.



(Still Mill and -- when it comes to the analysis of the Pittsburgh Stillers, no one else comes close�.)


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