Bolts Blue After Losing Home Opener

Sellout crowd at the Q watch Bolts stumble in red zone, lose to Baltimore.

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Mike Tolbert watches from the side lines during the game against the Baltimore Ravens

    In a nerve racking, nail biting game, the San Diego Chargers failed to capitalize on repeated touchdown scoring opportunities and lost to the Baltimore Ravens 31-26 Sunday at Qualcomm Stadium.

    Let the Monday morning quarterbacks begin. Who was more to blame on Sunday, the offense or defense?

    Not to mention, with Jamal Williams out and Nick Hardwick hurt, are the Bolts still a championship-caliber team?  Chris and Craig of 619sports.net talked it out after the game.

    The Chargers lost despite the efforts of

    Philip Rivers

    , who passed for a career high 436 yards and two touchdowns.

    Darren Sproles

    also electrified a sellout crowd at the Q with dazzling open field running, including an 81-yard touchdown reception.

    The Chargers got the ball down to the 15-yard line in the closing seconds of the game, but had a potential game-winning drive stopped on a fourth down running play.

    On an unusually hot San Diego day – temperatures approached 100-degrees on the field – It was a gutty and gritty performance by the Chargers, who have been decimated by injuries to key players.

    The Chargers played the game without running back Ladainian Tomlinson, who missed his first game since 2004, breaking his streak of 65-consecutive games – a record for running backs.

    The game started on a high note for the screaming fans who packed Qualcomm Stadium. On the Chargers second possession, the Bolts were pinned back on their own 1-yard line. That’s when lightning struck.

    Rivers hit Sproles, who rambled 81yards down the sidelines, including a nifty cut back at the end of the run, to give the Chargers an early 7-0 lead. Baltimore, however, came right back to tie the game 7-7 after a 5-yard touchdown run by Willis McGahee.

    Throughout the game, the Chargers failed to capitalize on touchdown scoring opportunities, instead having to settle for field goals. After a 45-yard strike from Rivers to Malcolm Floyd, Nate Kaeding kicked a 29-yard filed goal to give the Chargers a 10-7 lead. It would be the last lead in the game for the Chargers.

    Later in the second quarter, aided by a costly pass interference call against San Diego, Baltimore took a 14-10 lead on another short touchdown run by McGahee.

    The Chargers kept it close and exciting. Still in the second quarter, Rivers hit Sproles on a 22-yard pass play, which was followed by a 37-yard strike to Antonio Gates. But again, the Chargers could not punch the ball into the end zone, settling for another Kaeding field goal to cut the Baltimore lead to 14-13.

    Just before halftime, the Ravens scored again thanks to a blown Chargers coverage. Joe Flacco hit a wide open Kelley Washington for a 27-yard touchdown, widening Baltimore’s lead 21-13.

    Again, the Chargers came storming back. But again, after getting the ball inside the 1-yard line, the Bolts had to settle for Kaeding’s third field goal of the half, making the score 21-16 at halftime.

    In the second half, the Chargers troubles continued. After a River’s interception, Baltimore scored on a touchdown pass from Flacco to Todd Heap, and the Raven’s lead was up to 28-16.

    But again, like a prize fighter who refused to go down, the Chargers came storming back. Rivers threw his second touchdown of the game, a perfect strike to Vincent Jackson for a 35-yard touchdown, cutting the Baltimore lead to 28-23.

    With just over 11-minutes left in the game, Antoine Cason made a key play in the contest, intercepting a Flacco pass and setting up another Chargers score. Again, the Chargers got the football inside the 10-yard line, but could not put the ball in the endzone, instead settling for Kaeding’s fourth field goal of the game, a 25-yarder, making it 28-26 Baltimore.

    After a Rivers interception, the Ravens added to their lead with 2:54 left in the game on a Steven Hauschka 33-yard field goal, giving Baltimore a 31-26 lead.

    The Chargers were stuffed on their final drive of the day, with Ray Lewis crunching Sproles on a fourth down play.