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News » Offense needs more plays

Offense needs more plays

Offense needs more plays
For a team that has lost so many close games, the difference between 4-6 and 6-4 (or better) is a few plays.

Not just better plays, more plays.

For all their problems -- and the effects of going four games without a takeaway can't be discounted -- the Chargers almost certainly would have won more games if their offense had the ball more.

The Chargers on Sunday at Pittsburgh had 50 plays, the third time this season they've had 50 or fewer. They had just two possessions in the second half (not counting the final 5 seconds). The Steelers held the ball for 18:36 in the first half and 17:55 in the second. It was the eighth time in 10 games the Chargers have had the ball for less time than their opponent.

Coach Norv Turner said he couldn't recall another game where a team essentially had two second-half possessions.

"It was one of the most unusual games from the standpoint of, really there were five possessions in the second half," Turner said. " ... They had three that accounted for 35 plays and we had two, a nine-play drive and then in the fourth quarter had the 17-play drive that (resulted in) the field goal."

On the season, the Chargers' average time of possession of 27:59 is 25th in the league. Their average of 55.4 plays per game ranks last, while their opponents' average of 67.5 plays is second-most.

"You're always trying to get off the field," Chargers defensive tackle Jamal Williams said.

But he denied that the defense being on the field 36 1/2 minutes affected them at the end of Sunday's game.

"I wouldn't say we were out there too long," he said. "We stopped them. Holding a team to field goals is good. It's not about time of possession."

The issue, too, is the lack of a sustainable run game. The Chargers' 244 rushes are sixth-fewest in the league, and their 3.8-yard average is seventh-lowest.

"It goes hand in hand," LaDainian Tomlinson said. "Typically, when we've been real successful, the defense has gotten a lot of three and outs and given us the ball and we've controlled the ball ... through the run game and kept it away from teams."

Bennett arrives

Michael Bennett, claimed off waivers last week, attended meetings and was at his locker yesterday afternoon, just trying to get acclimated on his first day with his fifth NFL team.

He knows he's not necessarily needed here. But the former Pro Bowl running back is ready to contribute.

"I've bounced around the last three years," said Bennett, who signed with New Orleans in 2006 but was traded to Kansas City before playing a game and then traded to Tampa Bay in '07. "It's a numbers game ... I want to contribute however they need me."

Bennett, whose career has been interrupted by injuries, said he feels good and is younger in Football years than his age of 30.

"I haven't taken a vicious hit in 2 1/2 years," he said.

Bennett has carried just 88 times since 2006.

Replay change coming?

In the wake of the confusing end to Sunday's game, in which an apparent TD by Troy Polamalu was incorrectly nullified by game officials, Mike Pereira, the NFL's vice president of officiating, told ESPN the league would look at "tweaking" its replay system, possibly before the playoffs, to allow officials to go back to replay a second time if an error is made.

Polamalu's TD would have allowed Pittsburgh to cover the point spread. Pregame.com estimated $100 million was wagered on the game, with about 66 percent of bettors backing the Steelers.

Nuts 'n' Bolts

* Jacques Cesaire had an MRI that revealed a bruised left knee. He expects to play Sunday. Luis Castillo also had an MRI on his strained groin. Castillo was walking more comfortably and said his groin strain is "cooling down a little bit."

* Stephen Cooper suffered a hyperextended elbow against the Steelers and played the second half with a brace. He is expected to play against the Colts. Safety Steve Gregory, who was inactive in Pittsburgh with a neck stinger, will likely play against the Colts as well.

* The Chargers signed tackle Corey Clark to their practice squad. Clark was released Saturday to make room for safety Tra Battle, who was activated from the practice squad.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: November 20, 2008

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Brandon Siler Name: Brandon Siler
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