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Scouting Report: Chargers vs. Jets
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The San Diego Chargers return to action Sunday when they travel to New York to take on the Jets. The match is the team’s final road game of the 2012 season, and they currently own a 3-4 record away from Qualcomm Stadium.
A Look Back At Last Week
The Chargers got in an early hole, trailing 21-0 after the first quarter, and weren’t able to get back on track falling 31-7 to the Carolina Panthers. Ryan Mathews broke his clavicle for the second time this season and will miss the final two games of the year. Malcom Floyd and Reggie Wells also suffered season-ending injuries in the loss. The lone bright spot for the Bolts was Antonio Gates’ fourth-quarter touchdown catch, the 81st of his career, which ties him with Lance Alworth for most touchdown receptions in franchise history.
What to Watch For…
On Offense for the Chargers
Philip Rivers leads a Chargers offense that features future Hall of Fame tight end Antonio Gates, who has hauled in 45 passes for 479 yards and five scores. With Ryan Mathews’ breaking his clavicle, the team will employ a running back by committee out of the backfield. Mathews leads the team with 184 carries for 707 yards.
On Offense for the Jets
The Jets are making a change at quarterback this week with Greg McElroy replacing Mark Sanchez. McElroy rallied the Jets to a victory a few weeks back against the Arizona Cardinals, completing five of seven attempts for 29 yards and a game-winning touchdown. Meanwhile, Shonn Green leads New York’s ground game with 951 yards and six touchdowns on 243 carries, while Jeremy Kerley is the team’s leading receiver with 53 catches, 739 yards and two scores.
On Defense for the Chargers
The Chargers’ defense has been solid throughout the season, ranked 13th in the NFL. Corey Liuget has had a big hand in the unit’s success, leading the defensive line this season with 47 tackles, five sacks, 10 tackles for loss and nine passes batted down at the line of scrimmage. Eric Weddle, a Pro Bowl safety in 2011, leads the team in tackles (82) as well as interceptions (three).
On Defense for the Jets
As usual for a Rex Ryan coached team, the defense is the strength of this year’s squad. Former Charger Antonio Cromartie has a team-high three interceptions, while Quinton Coples and Muhammad Wilkerson share the team lead with four sacks apiece.
The Chargers and Jets have been playing since 1960 in a series that the Bolts lead, 19-14-1. The Jets have had the upper hand of late, however, winning two straight and five of the last seven. The Chargers’ last two wins were in 2005 in New York (31-26) and 2008 in San Diego (48-29).
By the Numbers
For the year, the Chargers rank 28th in total offense (308.8 yards per game), 22nd in passing (215.6 ypg), 27th in rushing (93.1 ypg) and 21st in points (21.4). The Jets rank 30th in total offense (302.1 ypg), 30th in passing (181.1 ypg), 10th in rushing (121.0 ypg) and 28th in points (18.2)
Defensively, the Bolts rank 13th in total defense (338.1 ypg), 20th in passing (241.1 ypg), seventh in rushing (97.0 ypg) and 16th in points allowed (22.3). New York ranks eighth in total defense (329.8 ypg), second in passing (191.1 ypg), 29th in rushing (138.7 ypg) and 20th in points allowed (22.9).
Milestones on the Horizon
Norv Turner needs one win to tie Dennis Green (117 wins) for the 31st-most wins by a head coach in NFL history (playoffs included). Turner’s all-time record is 116-126-1. Last Sunday, Turner coached the 100th game of his Chargers career against Carolina. His record as the Bolts’ head coach is 57-43.
Philip Rivers has passed for 3,290 yards and needs just 210 over the final two games to become the first Chargers quarterback ever with five-straight seasons of 3,500-or-more passing yards.
Rivers has 22 touchdown passes this season and needs three more over the final two games to extend his streak of 25-touchdown seasons to five. Only five other quarterbacks in NFL history have put together such streaks of five seasons or longer. They include Peyton Manning (1998-2012), Brett Favre (1994-98), Dan Marino (1984-88), Drew Brees (2006-12) and Aaron Rodgers (2008-12). Manning did not play in 2011 due to a neck injury but has resumed his streak in 2012. Rivers’ 22 touchdown passes in 2012 are tied for eighth-most in the NFL.
Antonio Gates (81 career touchdown catches), needs one more to become the franchise’s all-time leader. Last Sunday against Carolina, Gates caught a nine-yard touchdown pass from Rivers to move into a tie for first with Lance Alworth.
Gates has 638 career catches and needs 25 more to pass Hall of Fame tight end Ozzie Newsome (662) for the fourth-most catches by a tight end in NFL history.
Gates (8,262 career yards) currently ranks fourth all-time in receiving yards by a tight end.
Dante Rosario’s next catch will be the 100th of his career.
Shaun Phillips has 67 career sacks, tying him with Gary “Big Hands” Johnson for second in team history. With his next sack, Phillips will break that tie. Phillips leads the team this season with seven sacks and 17 pressures. Fellow linebacker and 2012 first-round draft pick Melvin Ingram is second on the squad with 16 pressures, while ’12 second-round pick defensive end Kendall Reyes is third with 13 and 2011 first-round pick defensive end Corey Liuget is fourth with 11.
Takeo Spikes had seven tackles last Sunday vs. Carolina to raise his season total to 95 as Spikes closes in on his 12th career 100-tackle season.
Quentin Jammer (20) is tied with Chuck Allen (1961-68) for 10th on the team’s all-time interceptions list. With one more, Jammer will tie Woodrow Lowe (1976-86), Bob Howard (1967-74) and Leslie “Speedy” Duncan (1964-69) for seventh. Eric Weddle (15) needs four interceptions to crack the Top 10.
Nick Novak (42 career field goals) is tied with Steve Christie (2001-03) for sixth on the team’s all-time field goals list. George Blair (1961-64) is next up on the list, ranking fifth with 50 career field goals.
Antoine Cason (245 int. return yards) needs 64 to crack the team’s career Top 10 list.
Chargers assistant head coach—special teams coach Rich Bisaccia is from Yonkers, New York.
Defensive line coach Don Johnson is from Newark, N.J. and played linebacker at Jersey City State.
Tight ends coach Jason Michael held the same position with the Jets in 2007.
National scout Tom McConnaughey went to training camp with the Jets in 1982.
Defensive tackle Antonio Garay was signed to the Jets’ practice squad in 2009 and is from Rahway N.J. His father, Tony Garay, played for the Jets in the 1970’s.
Kicker Nick Novak went to training camp with the Jets in 2011.
Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie was a first-round pick of the Chargers in 2006 and played for the team from 2006-09.
Tight end Dedrick Epps was a seventh-round pick by the Chargers in 2010 and spent time on the practice squad as a rookie that same year.
Punter Robert Malone went to training camp with the Chargers in 2012.
Wide receiver Royce Pollard is from San Diego and attended University City High School.
Wide receiver Chaz Schilens went to San Diego State.
CBS (KFMB, Channel 8 in San Diego and KCBS, Channel 2 in Los Angeles and Orange County) – Marv Albert(play-by-play), Rich Gannon (analyst)
Rock 105.3 FM, XTRA Sports 1360 (San Diego) and AM 570 KLAC (Los Angeles & Orange County) – Josh Lewin (play-by-play), Hank Bauer (analyst)
Spanish Radio –XHFG 107.3 (San Diego) and KWKW 1330 AM (Los Angeles) – Jorge Villanueva (play-by-play) and Dante Lazcano (analyst) Read