Niners Should Beat Teams Like Chargers
November 13, 2002
by James Parrott
This week the 49ers face what looks like another stiff test when they play the 6-3 San Diego Chargers.
What the Chargers have done since coming out of their bye week at 6-1 however is a little less than impressive.
Their week nine home game against the New York Jets looked like a home win all the way.
Instead the Jets came roaring out of the blocks and won easily.
Last week in St. Louis the Chargers defense returned two Rams fumble for touchdowns and the Bolts led by ten late in the fourth quarter.
Itís poor defense of that lead and itís inability to add to it led to a late, late defeat.
Last week Marc Bulger completed 36 of his 48 attempts whilst throwing for 453 yards and 4 touchdowns.
So almost a month after the Chargers defeated the Oakland Raiders in overtime on the road (sound familiar?) the Chargers now look like a very ordinary team.
Offensively, the 49ers have the ability to throw on San Diego.
Chad Pennington of the Jets threw short, Bulger threw long. Both won.
Steve Mariucci and Greg Knapp are most likely to go the route mapped out by the Jets, who supplemented their aerial attack with an effective ground game. The Jets also utilised their tandem of running backs, similar to the way San Francisco deploys Garrison Hearst and Kevan Barlow.
Terrell Owens is unlikely to be single covered. San Diego has no cornerback even close to being able to accomplish that.
The Chargers defense also lacks great speed with itís quickest unit probably being itís linebackers.
On the flip side of the ball the 49ers have a great chance of holding another defense in check.
LaDainian Tomlinson may lead the league in rushing but has barely been a factor in his teams three defeats.
When opponents take him out of the game the Chargers are in trouble.
Drew Brees is not yet ready to consistently hurt a defense with his arm, and the San Diego passing game has been ineffective the past two weeks.
If Bryant Young and Dana Stubblefield can control the point of attack then the 49ers speedy ends and linebackers should be able to stop Tomlinson.
In addition to this, Andre Carter has the advantage against either Damion McIntosh or Ed Ellis, the left tackles for the Chargers.
Where the Niners have to be worried is if Mike Rumph gets stranded one-on-one with either Curtis Conway or Tim Dwight.
After dealing with Tony Gonzalez effectively, the Niners wonít be worried about the Chargers tight ends.
What San Diego are is a very well coached team, average in talent, low on team speed. This is a team that has won with sound fundamental football for the most part.
This is not a team that matched up talent wise with the 49ers.
And itís a team that the Red-and-Gold should beat this Sunday.
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