Defense doesn't rest, for once

  • Welcome to America's Finest Sports Forum and Podcast! is one of the largest online communities covering San Diego sports. We host a regular podcast during the major seasons. You are currently viewing our community forums as a guest user.

    Sign Up or

    Having an account grants you additional privileges, such as creating and participating in discussions. Furthermore, we hide most of the ads once you register as a member!


Oct 14, 2005

By Jay Posner

October 17, 2005

OAKLAND – A familiar feeling began settling over McAfee Coliseum late yesterday afternoon.

Another team was trying to rally against the Chargers, and with San Diego's offense stuck in neutral, the outcome was going to be determined by the defense.

This time, however, there was no need for Chargers fans to shield their eyes.

Sure, the Raiders gained almost two-thirds of their yards in the final one-third of the game, but they scored only seven points during that span. That was not enough to overcome an early 27-7 deficit, and the Chargers left here with a 27-14 victory.

"Credit to our defense," said Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson, who deserved some credit of his own. "Any time as an offense you struggle, you've got to have your defense play solid and stop them. Our defense definitely did that. I'm proud of them. They took a good step toward the right direction in being able to stop people when they need to."

There was no replay of Dallas scoring a go-ahead touchdown with 3:06 left in the fourth quarter. Or of Denver driving for a decisive field goal with five seconds left. Or of Pittsburgh doing the same with six seconds left. The Chargers' three losses this year came by a total of nine points.

"We're a team and we go out there and we battle together, but when it comes down to it, the three games we lost, the defense let up at the end; we let them score," rookie defensive end Luis Castillo said. "It felt great to go out there and really get them stopped. The offense gave us a great cushion and we locked them down."

Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer spoke throughout the week of "finishing, finishing, you've got to finish, got to make the plays when you have to make them," linebacker Donnie Edwards said.

The Chargers didn't make all the plays late, but they made enough, especially in the final five minutes. On fourth-and-6 at the Chargers 9, DeQuincy Scott batted down a pass by Kerry Collins at the line of scrimmage. Less than two minutes later, Collins was pressured in the pocket on fourth-and-14 at the Chargers 45. He was forced to dump a pass to running back LaMont Jordan, who was tackled four yards short of a first down.

"I think we did one of the things we set out to do, and that's try to get on Kerry Collins, get as much pressure as we can, kind of get him out of his rhythm a little bit," linebacker Steve Foley said. "We had some success there, so I think that was a big part of our (overall) success."

The Chargers had four sacks, but almost more important were the numerous times they got in Collins' face or hit him as he threw. One such example was in the first quarter when Shawne Merriman blasted Collins as he threw a long pass toward Randy Moss. The ball hung in the air and safety Bhawoh Jue came up with his third interception of the season.

An added bonus for the Chargers came later in the quarter: Moss suffered bruised ribs and a strained groin and missed all but one play the rest of the day. The Chargers weren't about to send a sympathy card, however, considering they played the entire game without starting cornerback Drayton Florence (ankle) and part of it without his backup, Sammy Davis (ankle).

Collins was 24-of-48 for 292 yards, but he did not throw a TD pass and his longest completion was only 32 yards.

"I think when they figured out they weren't going to beat us for 60-and 70-yard touchdowns, they had to change their game plan," Jammer said.

"Our plan every week is not to give up any big plays, not to give up any touchdown passes, and we went out and got it done. As long as we continue to do that we'll be OK. . . . As a team we give up some passing yards, but come on, we're not as bad as everybody makes us out to be as a secondary."