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San Diego Chargers Game Release - Week 12 vs. Baltimore
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The San Diego Chargers (4-6) will battle the AFC North-leading Baltimore Ravens (8-2) on Sunday, Nov. 25 at Qualcomm Stadium. Kickoff is set for 1:05 p.m. PST.
Sunday will be Alumni Day at Qualcomm Stadium and punter Darren Bennett, named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the 90s, will be inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame at halftime. He will be introduced by former long snapper David Binn. A number of Chargers alumni will be on hand for Sunday’s festivities and the Chargers will take the field wearing their “Power” blue alternate jerseys when they battle the Ravens.
As of Tuesday, nearly 10,000 tickets still remain to lift the local television blackout, however, if they are sold by 1:05 p.m. on Thursday, CBS Sports will televise the game throughout Southern California with Ian Eagle calling the play-by-play and former Chargers Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Fouts offering analysis.
The Chargers lost to the Denver Broncos, 30-23, in their most recent contest, but there were several positive performances that stuck out despite the loss, particularly from several young players which points to a bright future for the Chargers.
Cornerback Marcus Gilchrist, a second-year player who was a second-round draft pick in 2011, tipped a pass on a blitz that was intercepted and returned 23 yards for a touchdown by Eric Weddle. Later in the game on another blitz, Gilchrist had a bullet of a pass just get through his hands for a pass defensed, but had he been able to hang onto the throw, it most likely would have gone for a 75-yard touchdown return.
Defensive end Kendall Reyes, a second-round pick in this year’s draft who was playing in just his 10th NFL game, had two fourth-quarter sacks against Peyton Manning.
Special teams standout Darrell Stuckey, a fourth-round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft and the team’s leading special teams tackler, made a great effort to down a punt at the two-yard line, while also forcing a fumble on a punt return and recovering an onside kick to start the second half.
And wide receiver Danario (duh-NAIR-ee-oh) Alexander, a third-year player whom the Chargers just signed as a free agent on Oct. 22, has lit a fire in the Chargers’ offense as he’s racked up 15 catches, 291 yards and three touchdowns in the last three games with the Bolts. It includes a career-best 134 yards against Tampa Bay two weeks ago and a career-high two touchdowns last Sunday in Denver.
All-in-all, the Chargers will have to be at their very best on Sunday when they face a Baltimore Ravens team that has won three straight and seven of its last eight and holds a two-game lead over Pittsburgh in the AFC North. Last year, however, Baltimore came to San Diego in late December with a record of 10-3 and they returned to the East Coast smarting from a 34-14 shellacking by the Bolts in front of a national TV audience at Qualcomm Stadium. That game featured a 90-yard, two-touchdown performance by Ryan Mathews, a five-catch, 96-yard night that included a 28-yard touchdown catch by Malcom Floyd and a 17 of 23 (74.0%) effort from Philip Rivers that went for 270 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions.
This year, the Ravens will face the Chargers without 13-time Pro Bowl linebacker Ray Lewis, who has been sidelined by a triceps injury. The Ravens rank 25th in the NFL in total defense, 27th against the run and 23rd against the pass. Despite the loss of Lewis, the Ravens still feature a force up front in Haloti Ngata (four sacks) and eight-time Pro Bowl safety Ed Reed, who has three interceptions this year, including a 34-yard return for a touchdown.
Baltimore’s offense rides on the right arm of Joe Flacco, who’s on pace for a 4,000- yard season with 2,495 yards, a 60.4% completion percentage, 13 touchdowns and seven interceptions. His top target has been Anquan Boldin, who leads the Ravens with 48 catches and 627 yards, but his most dangerous target has been Torrey Smith, a second-year player and former second-round pick from the University of Maryland who leads the team with seven touchdown catches and averages 17.3 yards per reception with 32 catches for 555 yards on the year. Ray Rice, another of the many Ravens who sport Pro Bowl recognition on their credentials (2009, ’11), anchors Baltimore’s ground game as he’s pounded out 697 yards and seven touchdowns on 164 carries, averaging 4.3 yards per rush.
Chargers outside linebacker Atwan Barnes was a fourth-round pick by Baltimore in 2007 and played for the Ravens from 2007-09. Tackle Jared Gaither played for the Ravens from 2007-10. Gaither is from Greenbelt, Md. and attended the University of Maryland. Outside linebacker Jarret Johnson was a fourth-round pick by Baltimore in 2003 and played for the Ravens from 2003-11, while fullback Le’Ron McClain was a fourth round pick by Baltimore in 2007 and played for the Ravens from 2007-10.
Familiar Faces, cont.
Defensive tackle Aubrayo Franklin was a fifth-round pick by Baltimore in 2003 and played for the Ravens from 2003-06. Cornerback Chris Carr played for the Ravens from 2009-11. Kicker Nick Novak attended the University of Maryland. Chargers punter Mike Scifres and Ravens safety Ed Reed are former high school teammates at Destrehan (La.) High School.
Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh is the older brother of former Chargers quarterback Jim Harbaugh. Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron held the same post with the Chargers from 2002-06. Senior offensive assistant Craig Van Steeg is from Redondo Beach and attended USC. Assistant offensive assistant Todd Washington was a training camp coaching intern with the Chargers in 2009 and also served as the offensive line coach for the University of San Diego from 2007-08 and as offensive coordinator in 2009.
Other Ravens with ties to Southern California include linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo (UCLA), who’s brother, Obafemi, played at San Diego State. Also, tight end Ed Dickson is from Bellflower (Calif.), tight end Dennis Pitta is from Moorpark and cornerback Jimmy Smith is from Colton.
The Chargers and Ravens have met eight times since the former Cleveland Browns relocated to Baltimore in 1996 and the teams both have four wins apiece. The Chargers won the previously mentioned last meeting, 34-14, in San Diego. The Bolts have won two of the last three in the series and are 4-2 in games played in San Diego.
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