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Scouting Report: Chargers at Ravens
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A wild Sunday at Qualcomm Stadium ended in thrilling fashion as Marcus Gilchrist’s interception in the end zone preserved a 27-24 Chargers victory. Ryan Mathews’ career-long touchdown run of 32 yards was the first of three second half touchdowns for the Bolts. Andrew Gachkar scooped up a loose ball after a Corey Liuget strip-sack and returned it the distance, while Keenan Allen had a 29-yard score on a screen pass. The defense forced three turnovers while special teams also played its part as Darrell Stuckey had his first career blocked field goal.
What to Watch For…
On Offense for the Chargers
Fresh off another strong game that made him a FedEx Air Player of the Week Candidate, Philip Rivers enters Sunday with the NFL’s fifth highest passer rating (101.4). He’s completed 248 of 363 passes (68.3%) for 2,835 yards, 22 touchdowns and just nine interceptions. Mathews’ return has led to a resurgent effort in the running game, as the Bolts have gotten back on track on the ground along with Branden Oliver and Donald Brown. They went over 100 yards for the second straight game last week. Keenan Allen paces the offense in receptions (61) and yards (641), while Antonio Gates has a team-high nine touchdowns.
On Offense for the Ravens
Joe Flacco is in the midst of another solid season, highlighted by a franchise record five-touchdown effort back in Week 6. He boasts a 2-1 record against the Chargers, including a 16-13 OT win the last time these teams met back in 2012 when he was 30-of-51 for 355 yards and one touchdown. Flacco’s top target is Steve Smith Sr., who has a team-high 53 catches and 817 yards. The Ravens are also dangerous on the ground, especially with Justin Forsett, who is fresh off a career-high 182 yard, two touchdown performance Monday night against the New Orleans Saints.
On Defense for the Chargers
Co-captain and longtime Raven Jarret Johnson makes his first return to Baltimore in his third year with the Chargers. He is part of a dynamic outside linebacker rotation along with Melvin Ingram, Dwight Freeney, Jerry Attaochu, Tourek Williams and Cordarro Law. Eric Weddle, his fellow captain on defense, leads the team with 77 tackles while Brandon Flowers paces the Bolts with three interceptions and nine passes defensed. Corey Liuget’s 3.5 sacks rank first on the team, while his 15 QB hits sit just below Dwight Freeney’s 17. Both players are tied for the team lead with 14 pressures.
Baltimore’s pass rush has been on a roll of late, recording 24 of their 29 sacks in the last five games. Elvis Dumervil is tied for second in the NFL with 12.5 sacks while Terrell Suggs has 6.0 of his own and 100.5 for his career. They are equally ferocious against the run, having not allowed a 100-yard rusher in 21-straight games. That is tied for the longest active streak in the NFL.
The Chargers and Ravens have met nine times and Baltimore holds a 5-4 series edge. Seven of the nine meetings have taken place in San Diego and two have taken place at M&T Bank Stadium where the Chargers have yet to win. The Chargers have won four of the seven meetings in San Diego.
By the Numbers
For the year, the Chargers rank 20th in total offense (337.6 yards per game), 13th in passing (273.0 ypg), 27th in rushing (89.5 ypg) and 15th in points (22.3). The Ravens rank eighth in total offense (372.5 ypg), 16th in passing (240.1 ypg), sixth in rushing (132.4 ypg) and sixth in points (26.8)
Defensively, the Bolts rank ninth in total defense (330.1 ypg), sixth in passing (221.3 ypg), 15th in rushing (108.8 ypg) and sixth in points allowed (19.6). Baltimore ranks 15th in total defense (352.9 ypg), 29th in passing (264.6 ypg), fifth in rushing (88.3 ypg) and fifth in points allowed (18.9).
Milestones on the Horizon
Philip Rivers has 243 career touchdown passes, tied for 19th in NFL history with Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger. Former Chargers quarterback John Hadl is 18th with 244 and Boomer Esaiason is 17th with 247.
Rivers comes into Sunday’s game 22nd in NFL history with 35,204 career passing yards. Arizona’s Carson Palmer currently ranks 21st with 35,365, and former Buffalo Bill Jim Kelly is 20th with 35,467. Rivers needs 162 to overtake Palmer for 21st and 264 to overtake Kelly for 20th.
Antonio Gates needs one more touchdown for the fourth double-digit season of his career. He would become the first tight end in NFL history to have four seasons with 10 or more TDs.
Gates needs 38 yards from scrimmage to pass Lance Alworth (9,721) for second on the team’s all-time list for career scrimmage yards.
Gates ranks 10th in NFL history with 96 career touchdown catches. He needs three to tie Don Hutson (99) for ninth place and four to become the ninth player in NFL history to catch 100 touchdown passes.
Ryan Mathews is fourth in franchise history with 3,977 rushing yards. He needs 321 to overtake Marion Butts (4,297) to move into the top three.
Malcom Floyd is ninth in team history with 4,737 career receiving yards. He needs just 18 more to overtake Vincent Jackson (4,754) for eighth.
Floyd has 29 career touchdown catches and he needs four more to move into the team’s all-time top 10.
Eric Weddle has 19 career interceptions. He needs two more to climb into the team’s top 10 for career picks.
Weddle also has 290 career interception return yards and needs 19 more to enter the team’s all-time top 10.
Nick Novak needs three field goals to reach 100 for his Chargers career. He is the team’s all-time FG percentage leader (97 of 110, 88.2%.). Novak has hit 18 of 19 field goal tries this season (94.1%). Last year, he hit a team-record 91.9% of his field goal tries, going 34 of 37.
Playing for Indianapolis, Dwight Freeney logged the 100th sack of his career in a game against Baltimore in 2011. In Dec. 2004, Freeney had a two sack game against the Ravens during a month in which he was named the AFC’s Defensive Player of the Month.
Antonio Gates had two touchdown catches against the Ravens in 2007.
Corey Liuget helped close out a win over Baltimore during his 2011 rookie season on NBC’s Sunday Night Football with a late fourth quarter sack.
Ryan Mathews had two rushing touchdowns against the Ravens in the Chargers’ 34-14 win over Baltimore in 2011.
In 2009, Philip Rivers passed for 436 yards and a pair of touchdowns against the Ravens, including the longest touchdown pass of his career (81 yards) to Darren Sproles. In five career starts vs. Baltimore, Rivers has completed 103 of 161 (64%) for 1,328 yards with eight touchdowns and three interceptions for a 98.6 rating.
Mike Scifres has hit two of the longest punts of his career (70 and 71 yards) against Baltimore.
Playing for Arizona, Reggie Walker had a season-high four special teams stops in a game against Baltimore in 2011.
Playing for the New York Jets, Kellen Clemens threw the first touchdown pass of his career in a 2007 game against the Ravens.
Chargers outside linebacker Jarret Johnson was a fourth-round pick of the Ravens in 2003. He played nine seasons in Baltimore (2003-11) before joining the Chargers as a free agent in 2012. Johnson racked up 523 tackles and 20 sacks during his tenure in Baltimore and he played in a team-record 129 straight regular-season games.
Left tackle King Dunlap’s father, King Dunlap IV, is a former defensive tackle whom the Baltimore Colts selected in the fifth round of the 1969 NFL Draft.
Chargers Strength and Conditioning Coach Rick Lyle played on the defensive line for the Ravens in 1996.
Offensive Coordinator Frank Reich played quarterback at the University of Maryland in College Park, Md.
Bolts kicker Nick Novak also attended Maryland.
Eddie Royal’s brother, Chris, is currently a strength and conditioning coach for the Terrapins.
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco’s brother, Michael, went to training camp with the Chargers this season.
Defensive end Lawrence Guy played for the Bolts in 2013 and appeared in the first three games of this season.
CBS (KFMB, Channel 8 in San Diego and KCBS, Channel 2 in Los Angeles and Orange County) – Ian Eagle (play-by-play), Dan Fouts (analyst), Jenny Dell (reporter)
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)
All Chargers radio broadcasts are now being streamed live on the team’s official website, www.chargers.com. XTRA Sports 1360 Broadcasts with Josh Lewin (play-by-play) and Hank Bauer (analyst) will begin two hours before kickoff and continue for 90 minutes of postgame coverage.
For a unique, one-of-a-kind look at the Chargers, be sure to tune in each week to Chargers Insider on Fox Sports San Diego. The half-hour program will be the go-to destination for fans that want behind-the-scenes coverage and unique features on the team. Chargers Insider airs every Thursday night at 9:30pm with reairings on Friday and Saturday. Read