The San Diego Chargers return home for the first of two straight games at Qualcomm Stadium when they host the AFC North leading Baltimore Ravens. The game marks the team’s annual alumni game where former punter Darren Bennett will be inducted into the team’s ring of honor at halftime.
A Look Back At Last Week
The Chargers dropped their second game in a row and saw their record fall to 4-6 as they were defeated by the Denver Broncos, 30-23.
What to Watch For…
On Offense for the Chargers
After a sluggish first half in Denver, the Chargers’ offense came alive in the second half, sparked by the strong play of Danario Alexander who had two touchdown receptions. Overall, the third-year player has been a revelation since signing on Oct. 22. He has 15 catches for 291 yards and three touchdowns in the last three games with the Bolts, including a career-best 134 yards against Tampa Bay two weeks ago. The Chargers will need more out of their run game, as they haven’t had a rushing touchdown since Week 5 in New Orleans.
On Offense for the Ravens
Baltimore’s offense rides on the right arm of Joe Flacco, who’s on pace for a 4,000- yard season with 2,495 yards, a 60.4% completion percentage, 13 touchdowns and seven interceptions. His top target has been Anquan Boldin, who leads the Ravens with 48 catches and 627 yards, but his most dangerous target has been Torrey Smith, who leads the team with seven touchdown catches and averages 17.3 yards per reception. Their ground game is paced by the ever dangerous Ray Rice, who’s run for 697 yards and seven touchdowns on 164 carries, averaging 4.3 yards per rush.
On Defense for the Chargers
Several young players stood out on defense for the Chargers in their loss to the Broncos, and the Bolts will look for big games out of them this week as well. Cornerback
On Defense for the Ravens
The Ravens will face the Chargers without 13-time Pro Bowl linebacker Ray Lewis, who has been sidelined by a triceps injury. As a result, Baltimore’s defense hasn’t lived up to their high standards, ranking 27th against the run and 23rd against the pass. Despite the loss of Lewis, the Ravens still feature a force up front in Haloti Ngata (four sacks) and eight-time Pro Bowl safety Ed Reed, who has three interceptions this year.
The Chargers and Ravens have met eight times since the former Cleveland Browns relocated to Baltimore in 1996 and the teams both have four wins apiece. The Chargers won the previously mentioned last meeting, 34-14, in San Diego. The Bolts have won two of the last three in the series and are 4-2 in games played in San Diego.
By the Numbers
For the year, the Chargers rank 23rd in total offense (328.8 yards per game), 17th in passing (228.5 ypg), 22nd in rushing (100.3 ypg) and 16th in points (23.2). The Ravens rank 21st in total offense (338.7 ypg), 16th in passing (239.6 ypg), 25th in rushing (99.1 ypg) and seventh in points (26.7)
Defensively, the Bolts rank eighth in total defense (329.9 ypg), 19th in passing (236.0 ypg), third in rushing (87.9 ypg) and 13th in points allowed (22.1). Baltimore ranks 25th in total defense (382.3 ypg), 23rd in passing (250.1 ypg), 27th in rushing (132.2 ypg) and ninth in points allowed (20.6).
Milestones on the Horizon
Rivers has thrown for 2,461 yards through the season’s first 10 games (246.1 yards per game) and is on pace for a 3,938 yard season, which would make him the first Chargers quarterback ever with five-straight seasons of 3,500-or-more passing yards.
Gates has 623 career catches and needs 40 more to pass Hall of Fame tight end Ozzie Newsome (662) for the fourth-most catches by a tight end in NFL history.
Gates (8,138 career yards) currently ranks fourth all-time in receiving yards by a tight end.
Eric Weddle (16) needs four interceptions himself to crack the Top 10.
Antoine Cason (245 int. return yards) needs 64 to crack the team’s career Top 10 list.
The Chargers need four regular-season victories to reach 400 all-time. The Chargers’ all time regular-season record is 396-390-11.
A.J. Smith is the winningest general manager in franchise history with 95 wins. He needs five wins to see the team reach 100 wins under his watch.
Norv Turner (115) ranks 32nd in NFL history for career wins. Turner needs two wins to tie Dennis Green (117) for 31st, three to tie George Allen (118) for 30th and eight to tie another former Chargers coach, Sid Gillman (123), for 29th.
Photos: Familiar Faces
Chargers outside linebacker Atwan Barnes was a fourth-round pick by Baltimore in 2007 and played for the Ravens from 2007-09.
Tackle Jared Gaither played for the Ravens from 2007-10. Gaither is from Greenbelt, Md. and attended the University of Maryland.
Fullback Le’Ron McClain was a fourth-round pick by Baltimore in 2007 and played for the Ravens from 2007-10.
Defensive tackle Aubrayo Franklin was a fifth-round pick by Baltimore in 2003 and played for the Ravens from 2003-06.
Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh is the older brother of former Chargers quarterback Jim Harbaugh.
Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron held the same post with the Chargers from 2002-06.
Offensive assistant Todd Washington was a training camp coaching intern with the Chargers in 2009.
NFL Network (simulcast on KFMB, Channel 8 in San Diego) – Ian Eagle (play-by-play), Dan Fouts (analyst)
Rock 105.3 FM, XTRA Sports 1360 (San Diego) and AM 570 KLAC (Los Angeles & Orange County) – Josh Lewin (play-by-play), Hank Bauer (analyst) and Mike Costa (reporter)
Spanish Radio –XHFG 107.3 (San Diego) and KWKW 1330 AM (Los Angeles) – Jorge Villanueva (play-by-play) and Dante Lazcano (analyst)