"San Diego at San Francisco. Ed, how can YOU ask that? SF is much improved while the Chargers (or Philip Rivers) have forgotten that they have a Pro-Bowl tight end. Marty Schottenheimer is bringing his bad mojo to yet another team. And LT ain't LT no more."
Robert, while San Francisco has improved, they still have a LONG way to go. Even though I won't say it is impossible to the 49ers to beat the Chargers ("any given Sunday"), it would be a monster upset if they did.
Consider the following stats (Chargers shown first):
RECORD: 3-1 vs. 2-3
TURNOVER MARGIN: +6 vs. -2
RUSHING YARDS/GAME: 176.0 vs. 122.2
PASSING YARDS/GAME: 174.8 vs. 205.8
RUSHING YARDS ALLOWED/GAME: 66.5 vs. 126.2
PASSING YARDS ALLOWED/GAME: 138.0 vs. 224.0
Let's look at who the teams have won and lost against.
The Chargers only loss came to a very solid Baltimore Ravens team in a close game (16-13), while they beat Oakland, Tennessee, and Pittsburgh.
The 49ers beat St. Louis and Oakland and lost to Arizona, Philadelphia, and Kansas City. At first glance, you might say St. Louis is not a bad team to have a victory against. They are 4-1. But when you consider that two of the 49ers four wins last year came against the Rams, that victory is a little less impressive.
But back to Robert's points. It is quite true the Chargers have not been utilizing Antonio Gates as much as they have in the past. But according to Phil Rivers, a lot of that is due to Gates being double-teamed much of the time.
As for LT not being LT, he is now LT and Michael Turner. The Chargers are second in the NFL (behind only Atlanta) with 176 rushing yards per game. I would call that an effective running game, wouldn't you?
The only prayer the 49ers have against the Chargers will be the "Hail Mary"!