Still Looking For Missing Defense: Chargers Expand Search To Europe

Brian SmithCorrespondent IOctober 27, 2008

If you smell something burning, you would be correct.

That's the San Diego Chargers' defense that is still smoldering after Drew Brees was finished with his fireworks show in London.

Turnovers aside, the Chargers D lost another game and the very Raider-like 14 penalties for 134 yards didn't help either. That's almost 10 yards a penalty.

It is very clear by the penalties that this Chargers team lacks discipline. Lack of discipline falls squarely on the shoulders of the coaching staff.

Besides the penalties, the Chargers defense gave up long drives by the Saints of: 69, 89, 76, 87, and 77 yards. Just one three and out on one of those long drives, who knows, the Chargers may be 4-4 right now instead of the Saints.

As for the turnovers. Only one was really a killer and that was the Darren Sproles fumble on the kick return. The interception by Vilma was tipped by Chambers and I'm hard pressed to fault Rivers for that. Looking at it, it looked like it was designed to be a high throw.

The offense had their share of penalties too. The one penalty that I will NEVER understand is the Delay of Game penalty. How in the world do you get a delay of game penalty? Seriously.

You have a head set and a coach giving signals, there's no excuse not to have a play ready by the time the whistle blows. Other than personnel changes, 40 seconds is plenty of time to get a play in, make any changes and snap the ball.

Philip Rivers looked good too and actually threw for more yards (341) than Brees (339) did and matched him on touch downs with three a piece.

Rivers now has 19 TD passes and six interceptions on the season. He needs just four more touchdown passes to surpass his career mark of the 22 that he threw in 2006.

It was nice to see LT finally able to run the ball and he is still just as fast as he was when he broke the single season record for rushing touch downs back in '06.

However, those long runs of his were not time killers and I would have been more happy to see him get five or six yards here and there to take more time away from Drew Brees.

All in all, the Chargers offense is playing rather well. They just need to score about 45 points a game in order to win. Kind of reminds me of the Dan Fouts and Air Coryell days of the late 70s and early 80s.

Now the Chargers have a whole two weeks to brood over their latest short coming, one has to wonder, what will they do to tighten up the play of the defense?

The Chargers' next game is against the Chiefs and I'm sure Kansas City is looking forward to this game. For those not educated in Chargers history, there's a little known fact that the Chargers very rarely play well against the Chiefs.

Coupled with San Diego's defense making every QB they play against look like Hall of Fame candidates, this could be the end of the Chargers' hopes of making the playoffs. Every game from this point on is going to be a 'must win' game.