December 2007 - Los Angeles Chargers Wiretap
Chargers Sign K Rayner
The Chargers signed kicker Dave Rayner Friday to handle kickoff duties. Nate Kaeding is expected to kick field goals and extra points in the Bolts? regular-season finale Sunday at Oakland. In order to make room for Rayner on the 53-man roster, the Chargers released veteran tackle Roman Oben. During his senior season at Michigan State, Rayner recorded touchbacks on 53 percent of his kickoffs. Rayner handled full-time kicking duties for the Green Bay Packers in 2006. The former Spartan hit 11 touchbacks on the season and connected on 26-of-35 field goal attempts including two 54-yarders and seven more from beyond 40 yards. The Packers released Rayner at the end of training camp this season. He signed with the Kansas City Chiefs a week later and served as their full-time kicker until he was released on November 26. Rayner was a sixth-round draft choice of the Colts in 2005.
Broncos Not Happy With Rivers' Smack Talk
It's on YouTube now, so it must have happened, right? Well, Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers tried to downplay his animated exchange with Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler on Monday night, which was caught by ESPN's cameras.
Chargers Sign Bingham To Three-Year Extension
The San Diego Chargers, who have been proactive the past two years in signing core players to contract extensions, have locked up three-year veteran defensive lineman Ryon Bingham through the 2010 season with a new deal. Bingham, 26, signed a three-year extension on Christmas Eve before the Chargers' victory over the Denver Broncos. Financial details of the extension were not yet available. Without the extension Bingham would have been eligible for restricted free agency in the spring. He was in the final year of his original rookie contract and earned a minimum base salary of $435,000 for 2007.
MNF: L.T. Takes Over Rushing Lead, Chargers Beat Broncos
LaDainian Tomlinson took over the NFL rushing lead, got his fourth straight 100-yard game and called it a night. Tomlinson had a 17-yard scoring run among his 107 yards as he led the AFC West champion Chargers to a 23-3 win over the Broncos on Monday night. L.T. sat out the bulk of the second half. The Chargers won their fifth straight game and for the ninth time in 11 games. They need simply to win at Oakland on Sunday to secure the AFC's No. 3 playoff seed.
Chargers' Merriman Expects To Play Vs. Broncos
Pro Bowl linebacker Shawne Merriman appeared set to start Monday night when the AFC West champion San Diego Chargers host the Denver Broncos after missing last week's game with a sprained left knee. "I've been doing pretty much everything the whole week," Merriman said Saturday after practice. "I feel good; I'm moving around good; and I'm expecting to play." Merriman rested the knee during last week's win over the Lions but said he was out of sorts watching instead of playing. "It drove me nuts," said Merriman, who leads the team with 11? sacks and was recently named to his third Pro Bowl. "I didn't know what to do. But hopefully I won't be sitting this week because I've been practicing all week." Merriman's one concession to his injury will be a knee brace.
Rivers Practices, Could Start Against Lions
Philip Rivers hobbled through half of practice Thursday, increasing the chances he'll play in Sunday's home game against the Detroit Lions. "That's the plan, but it's not Sunday," Rivers said. "We don't have to know right now." Rivers said his sprained left knee is getting better. He took half his normal snaps a day after taking none. "I felt good," said Rivers, who was hurt in Sunday's game at Tennessee but returned to lead the AFC West-leading Chargers (8-5) to an overtime win. "It's getting better. It's a process. How you feel on Thursday isn't always how you're going to feel on Sunday, but it's certainly gotten a lot better." "I just think it's important at this position to get some reps in practice rather than go out there cold. Again, I took half of them today and felt pretty good. Hopefully, I'll increase it tomorrow and be ready," he said.
Chargers: "Cheap Shot" On Merriman Intentional
Chargers' linebacker Shawne Merriman will miss next week's game with a knee injury, and his teammates believe it's no accident. Merriman said a "cheap shot" led to his injury in Sunday's game at Tennessee, and the Pro Bowl linebacker told the San Diego Union-Tribune that several Chargers told him that Titans' Coach Jeff Fisher ordered a hit on him. "Plenty of people told me it was a coach down there telling them to go get at me," Merriman said. Merriman suffered a sprained ligament in his left knee against the Titans and will miss this Sunday's game against the Lions. Fisher dismissed Merriman's charges on Monday.
San Diego FB Neal Out Indefinitely
Three-time Pro Bowl fullback Lorenzo Neal, the lead blocker for San Diego Chargers' star tailback LaDainian Tomlinson, will be sidelined indefinitely after fracturing his right fibula in Sunday's overtime victory against the Tennessee Titans. A 15-year veteran, Neal sustained the injury early in the fourth quarter. The Chargers (8-5), who lead the AFC West by two games, are likely to conduct more tests on Neal, but might delay placing him on injured reserve to see if he can recover in time for the playoffs. The fibula is the smaller of the two major bones in the leg and, since it is not a weight-bearing bone, surgery is not necessary and recovery times can sometimes be relatively short. "I know he's a little bit older, but hopefully he can recover like a young man," Tomlinson said of his escort.
Chargers' Merriman Out With Sprained Ligament
Star outside linebacker Shawne Merriman will miss the San Diego Chargers' home game against Detroit on Sunday because of a sprained ligament in his left knee. Coach Norv Turner said Monday the injury isn't season-ending. "I'm not going to speculate, but it could be a couple of weeks," Turner said a day after Merriman was hurt in the second quarter of San Diego's 23-17 overtime win at Tennessee. With three games to go in the regular season, the Chargers (8-5) lead the AFC West by two games over Denver. The Chargers can win the division for the second straight season if they beat the Lions and the Broncos lose to the Houston Texans on Thursday night. Merriman had two sacks Sunday to push his season total to 11 1/2. He's the sixth player in NFL history to get 10 or more sacks in his first three seasons; his career total is 38 1/2.
RealGM's Week Fourteen Rundown
Washington 24, Chicago 16 Just four days after honoring Sean Taylor against the Bills, the Redskins took the field against the Bears on Thursday night. Both starting quarterbacks, Washington?s Jason Campbell and Chicago?s Rex Grossman, left the game due to injury and may be out for the remainder of the season. Todd Collins, Campbell?s replacement, led the Redskins to victory going 15-for-20 with 224 yards and two touchdowns against the once-stingy Bears? defense. Brian Griese went 27-for-45 for Chicago, throwing for 295 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. The loss all but eliminated the Bears from the playoff picture, less than a year after facing Indianapolis in the Super Bowl. Fantasy Star: Bernard Berrian, CHI: 91 receiving yards and one touchdown. Houston 28, Tampa Bay 14 Sage Rosenfels and the Houston Texans were victorious on Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a battle of second-string quarterbacks. Rosenfels went 27-for-36 with 209 yards and three touchdowns for the Texans, as Bucs? backup Luke McCown connected on 25-of-36 passing attempts for 266 yards. Earnest Graham rushed fifteen times for 61 yards and two touchdowns, accounting for all of Tampa Bay?s scoring against Houston. The victory kept the Texans? (6-7) slim playoff hopes alive with three games left in the regular season. Fantasy Star: Earnest Graham, TB: 61 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Green Bay 38, Oakland 7 Brett Favre still hasn?t missed an NFL start after taking the field for the Packers on Sunday, guiding them to a 38-7 win over the Raiders at Lambeau Field. Favre went 15-for-23, relying heavily on Ryan Grant but still accumulated 266 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Grant rushed 29 times for 156 yards and a touchdown. Green Bay?s defense held Oakland in check for a majority of the day, allowing the Packers to clinch the NFC North division with the victory. Josh McCown struggled mightily, going 7-for-15 with 110 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. Raiders? running back Justin Fargas, who was red-hot entering the game, ran for just 57 yards on fifteen carries against the Packers. Fantasy Star: Ryan Grant, GB: 156 rushing yards and a touchdown. Dallas 28, Detroit 27 The Detroit Lions led for all but eighteen seconds on Sunday against the NFC?s best team, the Dallas Cowboys. Tony Romo connected with Jason Witten on a 16-yard touchdown pass in the final seconds of the fourth quarter, giving the Cowboys a tight victory over the struggling Lions. Romo went 35-for-44 with 302 yards and two scores, just enough to clinch the NFC East title for Dallas. Marion Barber ran just seven times for 43 yards, but he reached the end zone twice ? keeping the Cowboys within arm?s reach as the Lions dominated early. Jon Kitna played decently, going 22-for-36 with 248 yards, but failed to reach the end zone. Kevin Jones and T.J. Duckett combined for 152 yards and three touchdowns, revitalizing the Lions? league-worst rushing attack. Fantasy Star: Jason Witten, DAL: 15 catches for 138 yards and one touchdown. Cincinnati 19, St. Louis 10 The Cincinnati Bengals did just enough to defeat the St. Louis Rams on Sunday, who sit at the bottom of the NFC. Rudi Johnson paced the Bengals, rushing for 92 yards and a touchdown against the Rams? injured defense. Steven Jackson countered with 91 yards of his own but failed to score a touchdown. Carson Palmer had a disappointing day, going 21-for-29 with just 189 yards and two interceptions. The Rams? Brock Berlin, making the first start of his NFL career, went 17-for-28 with 153 yards and an interception of his own. Torry Holt enjoyed a decent day, catching eight passes from Berlin for 90 yards. Fantasy Star: Shayne Graham, CIN: Field goals of 27, 32, 38 and 46 yards. Buffalo 38, Miami 17 The Miami Dolphins remain winless, as the Buffalo Bills cruised to a 38-17 victory over their division rival. Trent Edwards had a career day, throwing for 165 yards and four touchdowns against Miami?s tough secondary. Bills? running backs Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch combined for 223 yards on the ground, allowing Buffalo to control both the scoreboard and the clock. Samkon Gado rushed twelve times for 52 yards and two touchdowns but was the only Dolphin to reach the end zone. Cleo Lemon went 22-for-42 with 241 yards and two interceptions for Miami, who now have just three chances to earn their first victory of the season. The win keeps Buffalo (7-6) in the AFC Wild Card hunt. Fantasy Star: Lee Evans, BUF: 2 catches for 79 yards and two touchdowns. San Diego 23, Tennessee 17 The Titans led 17-3 in the fourth quarter but couldn?t hold off a furious Chargers? rally as San Diego forced overtime and won on a 16-yard touchdown run by LaDainian Tomlinson. LenDale White and Chris Brown combined for 129 rushing yards and two touchdowns, but Vince Young struggled throwing the ball, allowing the Chargers to remain in the game. Philip Rivers left the game due to injury briefly but returned to help lead San Diego?s comeback. He finished with 228 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Tomlinson was a dual-threat, tallying 173 total yards and two touchdowns. The Titans (7-6), and losers of four out of five, hurt their chances at earning one of the AFC?s Wild Card slots. Fantasy Star: LaDainian Tomlinson, SD: 173 total yards and two touchdowns. N.Y. Giants 16, Philadelphia 13 The Philadelphia Eagles (5-8) are now on the cusp on being eliminated from the NFC Wild Card race, just a season removed from winning the NFC East title. The Giants rallied in the third quarter to take the lead on a 20-yard touchdown connection between Eli Manning and Plaxico Burress. The Eagles couldn?t manage much on offense after scoring on the game?s opening drive. Manning, who has struggled mightily in recent weeks, went 17-for-31 with 219 yards and a touchdown. Brian Westbrook carried the Eagles with 116 rushing yards, and five catches for 38 more. Donovan McNabb made good decisions in his return to the field, but his 179 yards weren?t enough for Philadelphia to win a defensive struggle. Fantasy Star: Plaxico Burress, NYG: 7 catches for 136 yards and a touchdown. Jacksonville 37, Carolina 6 David Garrard?s steady season continues. He led the Jaguars to a rout over the Panthers on Sunday, going 20-for-36 with 230 yards and two touchdowns. Fred Taylor added to the fun, running for 132 yards and a touchdown, which came on an 80-yard burst midway through the fourth quarter. Jacksonville held Carolina to 149 yards of total offense, while the Jaguars accumulated 427 of their own. The Panthers (5-8) have now fallen out of the playoff picture with three weeks remaining until the postseason. The Jaguars, meanwhile, are close to locking up a Wild Card berth. Fantasy Star: Fred Taylor, JAX: 132 rushing yards and a touchdown. Seattle 42, Arizona 21 Matt Hasselbeck and the Seahawks are on fire. Hasselbeck went 22-for-33 with 272 yards and four touchdowns as Seattle won their fifth straight game, this one coming against Arizona. The Seahawks struggled on the ground, as Shaun Alexander and Maurice Morris combined for 74 yards on 23 carries, but it didn?t matter. Hasselbeck hooked up with four different receivers for scores (Engram, Branch, Burleson and Pollard), as the Seahawks clinched the NFC West title. Kurt Warner struggled against Seattle?s swarming defense, throwing for 337 yards, three touchdowns and five interceptions. Jerheme Urban and Larry Fitzgerald combined to catch twelve of Warner?s passes for 202 yards and two scores. Fantasy Star: Matt Hasselbeck, SEA: 272 passing yards and four touchdowns. Minnesota 27, San Francisco 7 The Minnesota Vikings (7-6) won their fourth straight game Sunday, demolishing the San Francisco 49ers in the process. Minnesota?s Kevin Williams returned an interception 18 yards for a touchdown just seconds into the game, and the Vikings never looked back. Tarvaris Jackson managed a good game, throwing for 163 yards and a touchdown, as Chester Taylor ran for 101 yards and a score of his own. Adrian Peterson, the leading candidate for the NFL?s Rookie of the Year award, rushed fourteen times but managed just three yards against the 49ers. Shaun Hill, who took over for Trent Dilfer after he went down with an injury, connected on 22-of-28 passes for 180 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Fantasy Star: Chester Taylor, MIN: 101 rushing yards and a touchdown. New England 34, Pittsburgh 13 The Pittsburgh Steelers scored first, but the New England Patriots scored the most en route to their thirteenth victory of the season. Tom Brady went 32-for-46 with 399 yards and four touchdowns against the NFL?s toughest defense, moving the Patriots closer to an undefeated season. Ben Roethlisberger was 19-for-32, with just 187 yards and one touchdown. Willie Parker toasted New England?s defense for 124 yards on 21 carries, but New England owned the second half as they cruised to a 34-13 win over Pittsburgh. Randy Moss, who struggled in consecutive weeks against Philadelphia and Baltimore, broke through for 135 yards and two trips to the end zone. Fantasy Star: Tom Brady, NE: 399 passing yards and four touchdowns. Denver 41, Kansas City 7 The Denver Broncos kept themselves in the AFC playoff picture with a 41-7 spanking of the Kansas City Chiefs. Jay Cutler led the Broncos with a career-performance, connecting on 20-of-27 passes for 244 yards and four touchdowns. Selvin Young came to the party as well, rushing for 156 yards on just seventeen carries Sunday. Tony Gonzalez was the lone bright spot for Kansas City, catching seven passes from Brodie Croyle for 76 yards and a touchdown. Croyle turned the ball over three times, once on an interception and twice on fumbles. Brandon Marshall cemented himself as Cutler?s favorite target, with ten receptions for 115 yards and two touchdowns. Fantasy Star: Jay Cutler, DEN: 244 passing yards and four touchdowns. Cleveland 24, N.Y. Jets 18 The Cleveland Browns held onto their lead in the AFC Wild Card race with a close win over the struggling New York Jets. Derek Anderson went 16-for-29 with 185 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, and Jamal Lewis added 118 yards on the ground to go along with a score of his own. Kellen Clemens ended the day 24-for-41 with 286 yards and two interceptions. Thomas Jones racked up his fourth 100-yard game of the season but failed to reach the end zone. The Browns (8-5) have a one-game lead over the Tennessee Titans and Buffalo Bills for AFC?s second Wild Card berth, with the Jacksonville Jaguars (9-4) holding the first spot. Fantasy Star: Jamal Lewis, CLE: 118 rushing yards and a touchdown.