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Report cards: Methodical Chargers zap error-prone Be...
defining drive -- San Diego's opening march of the second half -- and his 33-yard completion to Eddie
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PHOTOS: Bolts-Bengals wild-card photos
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a field goal. Andrew Weber, USA TODAY SportsFullscreenCincinnati Bengals tight end Jermaine
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Report cards: Methodical Chargers zap error-prone Bengals

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Report cards: Methodical Chargers zap error-prone BengalsSan Diego Chargers quarterback Philip River...

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Report cards: Methodical Chargers zap error-prone Bengals

  1. 1. utf8_encode(Report cards: Methodical Chargers zap errorprone Bengals) Report cards: Methodical Chargers zap error-prone Bengals San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers threw for a touchdown, and running back Ronnie Brown sealed the 27-10 win over the Cincinnati Bengals with a rushing score.(Photo: Pat Lovell, USA TODAY Sports) Story HighlightsChargers run offense, a group effort, was exceptional all daySan Diego's pass defense was also great, intercepting Dalton twiceBengals run offense was solid, but they could get nothing going consistently through the airSHARE5CONNECT9TWEETCOMMENTEMAILMORE The Cincinnati Bengals had been dominant in Paul Brown Stadium all season ... until the San Diego Chargers came to town Sunday and decisively ended the home team's campaign with a 27-10 win. Below are the grades for each team: San Diego grades Chargers run offense: Talk about a team effort. San Diego lost veteran C Nick Hardwick to a firstquarter injury, and RB Ryan Mathews only got 15 touches as he worked on a sore ankle. Still, the Bolts racked up 196 rushing yards, 62% of their total yardage Sunday, due to the collective work of Mathews, Danny Woodhead and closer Ronnie Brown, who staked the Bengals with a 58-yard TD run in the final period. And the line didn't seem to miss a beat after Rich Ohrnberger stepped in for Hardwick. Grade: ACHARGERS ADVANCE: Now head to Denver Chargers pass offense: Though Philip Rivers spent most of the game handing off, he was coolly efficient in the damp Cincinnati air and protected the ball all day. He was 6-for-6 on the game's
  2. 2. defining drive -- San Diego's opening march of the second half -- and his 33-yard completion to Eddie Royal (Rivers' longest completion) set up a 4-yard TD throw to TE Ladarius Green on the next play. San Diego went up 14-10 and never looked back. Grade: B Chargers run defense: It gave up 4.5 yards per carry but didn't surrender any huge plays. The Bengals had to abandon the run in the second half. Grade: C+ FTW: Why Chargers will win Super Bowl Chargers pass defense: The Bolts flummoxed Andy Dalton nearly all day, picking the Cincinnati slinger off twice and collapsing the pocket on several other occasions on the way to three sacks and six hits on Dalton. LB Donald Butler killed one drive by stripping Bengals RB Giovani Bernard after a completion deep in San Diego's end. A blown coverage on A.J. Green nearly let the Bengals back in the game in the fourth quarter, but the star wideout couldn't hang onto the sideline throw near the Chargers' end zone. Grade: AQ: Time for Bengals to move past Dalton, Lewis? Chargers special teams: A team frequently undermined by K Nate Kaeding in past postseasons watched successor Nick Novak drill two field goals on a cool, rainy day. Punter Mike Scifres was his typical, field-flipping self, and the coverage units kept the Cincinnati returners largely in check. Grade: B+ Cincinnati grades Bengals run offense: It was effectively steady (113 yards), but Cincinnati couldn't afford to stick with it after falling into a second-half hole. Grade: BBengals pass offense: Now 0-3 in postseason, Dalton is sure to feel the same critical needle frequently applied to Tony Romo and others "who can't win the big one." But the third-year pro committed plenty of self-inflicted wounds Sunday: two INTs, off-target throws and even a fumble caused by the ground as he scrambled for a first down. Dalton was clearly bothered by San Diego's blitz packages. Green was also essentially invisible (3 receptions, 34 yards) but received fewer targets than Bernard and Marvin Jones (8 catches, 130 yards), who had no shot at Dalton's wayward heave on Cincinnati's last meaningful drive. San Diego obviously worked to take Green out of the offense, but Cincinnati probably should've tried harder to get its best player more involved. Grade: DBengals run defense: Under a withering San Diego assault (40 rushes), Cincinnati gave up a seasonworst 196 yards. Still, the dam didn't really crack until Brown's game-sealing bolt. Grade: D+ Bengals pass defense: It mostly limited Rivers to checkdowns. But the pass rush was largely nonexistent, and the completion allowed to Royal ultimately proved a backbreaker. Cincinnati fans can only wonder what the presence of injured DT Geno Atkins might have meant, especially with Hardwick sidelined. Bengals special teams: Not much to talk about. A big return from Brandon Tate would have helped but never materialized. Doesn't help when flags fly for holding penalties on kickoffs. Grade: C***
  3. 3. Follow Nate Davis on Twitter @ByNateDavis PHOTOS: Bolts-Bengals wild-card photos FacebookTwitterGoogle+LinkedInWild Card: Cincinnati Bengals vs. San Diego Chargers Fullscreen Posted! A link has been posted to your Facebook feed. San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers celebrates after winning the wild-card playoff game against the Cincinnati Bengals, 27-10. Kirby Lee, USA TODAY SportsFullscreenCincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton and San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers shake hands after the AFC wild-card playoff game. Pat Lovell, USA TODAY SportsFullscreenSan Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) throws a pass during second quarter of the AFC wild card playoff football game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. Andrew Weber, USA TODAY SportsFullscreenSan Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers celebrates with fans. Andrew Weber, USA TODAY SportsFullscreenSan Diego Chargers running back Ronnie Brown shown running the ball en route to a a 58-yard touchdown. Kirby Lee, USA TODAY SportsFullscreenSan Diego Chargers cornerback Shareece Wright carries the ball on a 30-yard interception return. Kirby Lee, USA TODAY SportsFullscreenSan Diego Chargers running back Danny Woodhead follows his blockers on a run against the Cincinnati Bengals. Pat Lovell, USA TODAY SportsFullscreenSan Diego Chargers wide receiver Eddie Royal hauls in a pass. Pat Lovell, USA TODAY SportsFullscreenSan Diego Chargers tight end Ladarius Green stretches to snag a touchdown pass. Andrew Weber Andrew Weber-USA TODAY SportsFullscreenJan 5, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Marvin Jones (82) makes a catch during second quarter of the AFC wild card playoff football game against the San Diego Chargers at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports ORG XMIT: USATSI-171744 ORIG FILE ID:20140105_ajl_aw3_084.JPG Andrew Weber Andrew Weber-USA TODAY SportsFullscreenCincinnati Bengals' Mike Nugent kicks
  4. 4. a field goal. Andrew Weber, USA TODAY SportsFullscreenCincinnati Bengals tight end Jermaine Gresham (84) celebrates after scoring a touchdown Andrew Weber, USA TODAY SportsFullscreenCincinnati Bengals tight end Jermaine Gresham celebrates after catching a pass for a touchdown during the second quarter. Andrew Weber, USA TODAY SportsFullscreenSan Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers gestures at the line of scrimmage Kirby Lee, USA TODAY SportsFullscreenSan Diego Chargers running back Danny Woodhead celebrates a touchdown during the first quarter. Pat Lovell, USA TODAY SportsFullscreenan Diego Chargers running back Danny Woodhead dives for a first down. Pat Lovell, Pat Lovell-USA TODAY SportsFullscreenCincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis looks onto the field during the AFC wild card playoff game. Pat Lovell, USA TODAY SportsFullscreenSan Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers scrambles out of the pocket. Andrew Weber, USA TODAY SportsFullscreenCincinnati Bengals running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis runs the ball against the San Diego Chargers. Andrew Weber, USA TODAY SportsFullscreenCincinnati Bengals wide receiver Marvin Jones looks to get around San Diego Chargers defensive back Jahleel Addae (37) during the AFC wild card playoff football game at Paul Brown Stadium. Andrew Weber, USA TODAY SportsFullscreenSan Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers hands the ball off during the AFC wild card playoff game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Andrew Weber, USA TODAY SportsFullscreenCincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) throws a pass during the AFC wild card playoff game against the San Diego Chargers at Paul Brown Stadium. Andrew Weber, USA TODAY SportsFullscreen Like this topic? You may also like these photo galleries:Replay AutoplayShow ThumbnailsShow CaptionsLast SlideNext SlideSHARE5CONNECT9TWEETCOMMENTEMAILMORE http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/2014/01/05/chargers-bengals-report-cards-nfl-wild-card-pla yoffs/4330415/

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