- Aug 18, 2005
Last December, the Chargers went into the RCA Dome hoping to keep Colts quarterback Peyton Manning from throwing his NFL-record 49th touchdown pass against them. The Chargers sacked Manning four times and forced him into an interception, but he did reach the milestone.
On Sunday, the Bolts will attempt to keep Eli Manning from reaching a milestone of his own, albeit not as significant of one. The younger Manning has yet to toss a touchdown pass outside of Giants Stadium.
“We haven’t made a big deal about it, but we certainly don’t want to be a part of his first,” cornerback Drayton Florence said. “We go into every game hoping to keep the opponent out of the end zone. We didn’t give up a touchdown pass last week and we don’t’ intend to this week either.”
Through two games this season, Manning has completed 49 percent of his passes and tossed three touchdowns. He’s been sacked three times and thrown two interceptions as well. The Chargers are hopeful that they can force him into some bad decisions.
“We’ll try to disguise our coverages well and keep him off balance,” Florence said. “If we do that, I’m confident we can force him to make some mistakes.”
One of the keys to shutting down the pass will be the Bolts’ ability to get to Manning. As a team, the Chargers have seven sacks on the season which ties them for fourth-best in the NFL.
“We can make it a whole lot easier on our defensive backs if we put the heat on Eli,” linebacker Steve Foley said. “We take a lot of pride and responsibility in that. If we’re not sacking him, we need to at least make him get rid of it before he’s ready.”
Manning has a new favorite target this season. In the spring, the Giants signed wide receiver Plaxico Burress away from the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the 6’5” pass catcher has proven to be a valuable asset. Together, Burress and tight end Jeremy Shockey have been on the receiving end 17 of Manning’s 23 completions this season.
“Plax has helped this offense by making some key third downs and making plays down the field,” Manning said. “He’s just one of the weapons that we have on this team with Tiki (Barber) and (Jeremy) Shockey and Amani Toomer. We have guys who can get open and make plays. It’s just a matter of me getting them the ball.”
The 2-0 Giants have played their first two contests in Giants Stadium. The Chargers are hopeful that a packed Qualcomm Stadium can help create an uncomfortable environment for the visitors.
“We want the fans to come in and create a lot of noise and make things difficult on Eli and their entire offense,” linebacker Shawne Merriman said. “Our fans need to understand that they can help us out and play a big part. We need them.”
Thanks to the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation; KGTV Channel 10 in San Diego and ESPN, Sunday’s contest will be shown on television throughout Southern California. The three entities have jointly agreed to purchase any remaining unsold tickets by kickoff of Sunday night’s Chargers-Giants game to lift the local television blackout. The game will be televised live in San Diego on KGTV, Channel 10 and nationally on ESPN.
The three entities also have purchased several hundred tickets to be donated to local military, Hurricane Katrina evacuees along with Hispanic community-support organizations in coordination with the Chargers’ celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.
“We’re proud of San Diego and we’re proud of the San Diego Chargers,” said Sycuan Chairman Daniel Tucker, who also stepped forward last season to help lift the blackout of the Chargers-Raiders game. “We welcomed this opportunity to help give a great football weekend to the community.”
“We wanted to make sure our loyal viewers as well as all San Diegans have the chance to see what we know will be a great football game,” said Derek Dalton, KGTV general manager.
General tickets as well as Club tickets remain on sale at Gate C at Qualcomm Stadium, www.Chargers.com or by calling TicketMaster at (619) 220-TIXS (8497).
Wide receiver Vincent Jackson (calf) and defensive end Igor Olshansky (ankle/knee) were upgraded from questionable to probable Thursday. However, Jackson, guard Toniu Fonoti (hand), and linebacker Shaun Phillips (calf) did not participate in team drills. Fonoti was upgraded from doubtful to questionable, but his status for Sunday’s game is uncertain. Phillips was added to the report after straining his calf.
“Shaun tried to go during the early part of practice but we decided to keep him out,” Head Coach Marty Schottenheimer said. “We’ll see how he is later in the week.”
Defensive end Jacques Cesaire (elbow) and wide receiver Kassim Osgood (ribs) are listed as probable. For the Giants, kicker Jay Feely (back), linebacker Barrett Green (knee/ankle), cornerback Corey Webster (quad) and safety Shaun Williams (hamstring) are all listed as questionable.