Stolen or earned, Bolts' wild win over Colts was lacking offense Print
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Monday, 12 November 2007 14:11
NFL Headline News

 SAN DIEGO (AP) -For every one of Antonio Cromartie's three interceptions of Peyton Manning, there was a turnover by Philip Rivers.
While speedy little return man Darren Sproles reached the end zone twice, LaDainian Tomlinson got there just once.
The special teams and defense were phenomenal in San Diego's wild 23-21 win over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday night. The offense must have thought the game was rained out, because it didn't show up.
``We may have stole one but I think our players feel they earned that game,'' coach Norv Turner said. ``Our guys that were involved in those returns and our coverage, in special teams, I think our guys that were involved in the defense that intercepted Manning six times, I think they'll remember that for a heck of a long time.''
Notice that he didn't single out the offense.
With five Pro Bowlers on the field - three of them also were All-Pros last year - San Diego's offense managed only 10 points and 177 net yards. Indy had more than that in the second half alone.
Speaking of the second half, the Chargers led 23-7 at halftime and didn't score again. It was the fifth time this season the Chargers were blanked in a half.
``I don't like going a quarter without scoring, so yeah, it's frustrating,'' said Turner, whose offense has been largely uninspiring behind the turnover-prone Rivers.
The Chargers weren't exactly brimming with answers on Monday, although they were relieved to lead the anemic AFC West at 5-4 following their fourth win in five games.
``I have no idea,'' Tomlinson said. ``I just think right now we're struggling with finding our identity. And really just being consistent at anything, running the football, passing the football. We're inconsistent with everything that we're doing right now. We've got to find a way to do something, something good.
``The good thing is we're not discouraged,'' Tomlinson added. ``We're not saying we're an offense that can't score. That's not our mind-set. We have too many explosive players on this offense to say we can't score. So we don't feel like that, but we're not seeing the results.''
Tomlinson had 76 yards and one touchdown on 21 carries.
Rivers was awful, and was booed again after going just 13-of-24 for 104 yards and no touchdowns, with two interceptions.
``That's about as bad as I've felt after a win,'' Rivers said.
Rivers was a Pro Bowler last year, his first season as the starter after Drew Brees was sent packing. This year Rivers has committed 15 turnovers in nine games - 10 interceptions to go with his 10 TD passes, and five fumbles.
Rivers fumbled into the end zone while going back to pass in the fourth quarter and linebacker Gary Brackett picked up the ball for a TD. Rivers' second interception set up the drive that ended when Adam Vinatieri inexplicably was wide right on a 29-yard field goal try with 1:31 left.
Asked about Rivers' play, Turner said: ``There's nothing there that we need to explore.''
Even with the six pickoffs, Manning had a better passer rating than Rivers, 49.4 to 30.6.
Rivers blamed this one on ``a couple of just poor decisions.''
``It's not like I'm out there confused and I don't know what the defense is playing,'' he said. ``I just haven't got in that consistent groove yet. Again it's spurts here and there in each game, but I just haven't been able to be smooth throughout the course of a game, back-to-back games.
``You can win games and battle with inconsistent play, but ultimately I understand that I've got to play better for us to get where we want to go. I by no means have lost any confidence whatsoever, because I feel like I am doing some good things, some positive things, but just again not consistent enough, and our team's not consistent enough.''
One guy who's remarkably consistent is Cromartie. He leads the NFL with six pickoffs, all in the last four games. The second-year pro was making his first career start, in place of injured Quentin Jammer.
After reaching high to make his third pickoff one-handed, Cromartie did a little hula dance. It was his way of lobbying for Pro Bowl votes.
``The other two were just as impressive,'' Rivers said. ``Those are three big-time plays. I was thinking to myself during the week, 'They're going to try to pump him or do something early. They know he's in there, he's made some plays.' They did try it early, then before the game was over, they were saying, 'Let's throw it the other way.' That's not a slight to the other side, but Peyton was tired of messing with him over on the other side.''
During a Colts challenge late in the game, Cromartie said Manning told him, ``I guess I really made your day, huh?''
``I just busted a smile because he really did,'' Cromartie said.
The Chargers play at Jacksonville on Sunday.

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