San Francisco 49ers vs. San Diego Chargers: A Prospector's Guide

49ers_logo_medium vs. Th_chargers_icon_medium

The 49ers head down to San Diego in a game that isn't a must-win, but definitely comes close to must-win. In reality the 49ers can lose this game and still win the division on the strength of two more divisional wins against St. Louis and Arizona. However, I'd argue that the only way a loss isn't somewhat crushing to the team's playoff hopes would be if the Rams and Seahawks both lose to Kansas City and Atlanta respectively. So how about a win, right?

Of course, the 49ers are 1-5 on the road this season with their only win coming against the Arizona Cardinals. This is a game the 49ers have the capability to win but this season's performances haven't exactly created a ton of room for hope. It doesn't help that statistically the Chargers are leaps and bounds ahead of the 49ers. The Chargers rank third in points scored, 11th in points allowed, and third point differential.

Forget total yards, at the end of the day football comes down to putting points on the board and preventing the opposition from doing the same. The Chargers may only be 7-6 but the point differential tells a different story. There's a reason the Chargers are anywhere from an eight to ten point favorite. The 49ers have to be playing with some confidence right now, but confidence can only take you so far. I don't expect to see the Chargers tripping over themselves at home.

They did get knocked off by the Raiders for their first ever December loss under Norv Turner, so there is a bit of a blueprint for success. I'll have a breakdown of that game in the next day or two if possible. A quick scan of the recap and box score indicates it was turnovers that did in the Chargers, much like the Seahawks on Sunday. So it's possible for a repeat performance, but I'd imagine the 49ers shouldn't count on that.

Once again I've attached a prediction poll. Head after the jump for random tidbits about this matchup.

San Francisco has a quick turnaround following its game vs. Seattle as the team travels to San Diego to take on the Chagers in prime time on Thursday Night Football. The Niners are 5-0 all-time when playing on Thursday Night Football, including 3-0 on the road. The 49ers own the overall series record 7-5, including a .500 record (3-3) at Qualcomm Stadium. The Niners are averaging over 27 points per game when playing at San Diego and will make their first regular season trip to SoCal since 11/17/02 when they suffered a 20-17 OT loss. The 49ers have won six of the past eight games against the Chargers, dating back to 1988, including San Francisco's Super Bowl XXIX victory, 49-26 (1/29/95).

The 49ers are coming off their largest margin of victory on the season (19 points) by defeating the Seahawks 40-21 at Candlestick Park. The Niners moved within one game of first place in the NFC West by beating their division rivals. San Francisco's defense intercepted Seahawks QB Matt Hasselbeck four times, including S Dashon Goldson returning his for a pick-six. QB Alex Smith set a career high with a 130.5 passer rating by completing 17 of 27 pass attempts for 255 yards and 3 TDs.

49ers-Seahawks Connections
Coaches
- 49ers defensive coordinator Greg Maunsky served as linebackers coach for the Chargers from 2002-06.

- 49ers offensive coordinator Mike Johnson and Chargers head coach Norv Turner coached together during the 2001 season with the Chargers. Johnson served as quarterbacks coach, while Turner was the offensive coordinator. 

- 49ers wide receivers coach Jerry Sullivan served in the same capacity for five seasons with the Chargers from 1992-96.

- 49ers offensive line coach Mike Solari was an offensive lineman at San Diego State from 1972-75.

- Chargers head coach Norv Turner served as offensive coordinator for the 49ers in 2006.

CHARGERS NOR CAL CONNECTIONS: CB Dante Hughes played at Cal from 2003-06 ... CB Donald Strickland is a San Francisco native and attended Archbishop Riordan High School. 

49ERS SAN DIEGO CONNECTIONS: 49ers QB Alex Smith grew up in San Diego and attended Helix High School ... Former 49ers LB and current 49ers radio analyst Gary Plummer played for the Chargers from 1986-93. 

FORMER 49ERS: Chargers DB Donald Strickland was a member of the 49ers, playing in a total of 30 games (10 starts) from 2006-08. 

FORMER CHARGERS: 49ers S C.J. Spillman was orginally signed by the Chargers as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2009. He played in a total of 10 games for them before being released following Week 5 of this season.

LUBBOCK LOVE - 49ers WR Michael Crabtree played alongside Chargers G Louis Vasquez at Texas Tech University from 2005-08. 

GATOR NATION - 49ers DT Ray McDonald and Chargers ILB Brandon Siler were teammates together at the University of Florida from 2004-05. 

BULLDOG BOYS - 49ers QB David Carr was Chargers QB Billy Volek's backup at Fresno State from 1997-98. 

GEORGIA ON THEIR MINDS - 49ers DT Demetric Evans and Chargers TE Randy McMichael were teammates at the University of Georgia from 1999-2000. 

EYE OF THE TIGER - 49ers DT Ricky Jean Francois and Chargers FB Jacob Hester were teammates at LSU from 2006-07. 

PANTHER PRIDE - 49ers P Andy Lee, CB Shawntae Spencer and Chargers TE Kris Wilson were all teammates together at Pitt from 2000-03. 

SINGING ‘ROCKY TOP' - 49ers NT Aubrayo Franklin, LB Parys Haralson and Chargers ILB Kevin Burnett and WR Kelley Washington were all teammates at the University of Tennessee.

Series Highlights
Matchups: 12
Series Record: 49ers Lead Series 7-5
49ers Away Record vs. Chargers: Series Tied 3-3
First Meeting: 9/17/72, 49ers win 34-3
Last Meeting: 10/15/06, Chargers win 48-19
Current Streak: Lost 2
Longest 49ers Win Streak: 6 (11/27/88-12/3/00)
Longest Chargers Win Streak: 3 (12/5/76-12/11/82)
Most 49ers Points: 49 (1/29/95 - Super Bowl XXIX), 49-26 at Joe Robbie Stadium
Most Chargers Points: 48 (10/15/06), 48-15 at San Francisco
49ers Shutouts: None
Chargers Shutouts
: None

SAN DIEGO 48 SAN FRANCISCO 19
At San Francisco, CA, October 15, 2006

The San Diego Chargers offense dominated the 49ers in a 48-19 victory at Monster Park. San Diego scored on 5 of their first 6 drives to chalk up 35 first half points. Chargers QB Philip Rivers passed for 334 yards and 2 scores against the 49ers injured secondary that was playing without team captain Walt Harris (hamstring). Chargers RB LaDainian Tomlinson was held to 71 yards but scored 4 rushing TDs.

The 49ers offense managed to put in a solid effort, scoring 17 first half points against a San Diego defense that entered the game ranked 1st in the NFL. The Chargers gave up more points in the 1st half to the 49ers than they allowed in any of their first 4 games. RB Frank Gore averaged 5.5 yards per carry on 10 rushing attempts for 55 yards, and QB Alex Smith completed 20-of-31 pass attempts for 214 yards with 2 TD passes.

TE Antonio Gates got the Chargers on the board early when he broke free for a 57-yd. TD. The 49ers responded with a 5-play, 74-yd. drive that culminated with a 15-yd. TD pass from Smith to WR Bryan Gilmore to tie the game at 7-7. San Diego took a 14-7 1st quarter lead on a 5-yd. run by Tomlinson before PK Joe Nedney's FG early in the 2nd quarter closed the gap to 14-10. The Chargers then took a 28-10 lead on two 2nd quarter TDs before the 49ers fought back. A 22-yd. run by Gilmore off a reverse to put the 49ers in position for Smith's 2-yd. TD pass to FB Moran Norris that closed the San Diego lead to 28-17.

San Diego began the ensuing drive at its own 6-yd. line following a penalty on the kickoff. The 49ers appeared to get a break when Rivers was called for intentional grounding in the end zone for a safety. However, on the first play from scrimmage following the free kick the 49ers lost momentum when Smith's pass attempt was batted in the air and intercepted at the San Francisco 24-yd. line, leading to a Chargers TD. 

2010 Statistics

49ERS (rank) CHARGERS (rank)
5-8 (3rd NFCW) Record 7-6 (2nd AFCW)
18.7 (t-27th) Points per game 27.2 (3rd)
317.5 (23rd) Total Offense 399.6 (2nd)
108.5 (18th) Rushing Offense 113.4 (13th)
209.0 (20th) Passing Offense 286.2 (2nd)
29:18 (22nd) Possession Avg 32:52 (2nd)
21.5 (18th) Points allowed/gm 19.5 (10th)
327.4 (11th) Total Defense 265.0 (1st)
100.1 (9th) Rushing Defense 91.6 (4th)
227.3 (20th) Passing Defense 173.4 (1st)
28 (t-14th) Sacks 38 (t-2nd)
46.3 (t-6th) Punting Avg (Gross) 48.2 (t-1st)
-1 (t-14th) Turnover Differential -7 (t-26th)
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