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Defense takes charge

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Oct 31, 2005.

  1. robdog
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    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

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    Source: <a href="http://www.pe.com/sports/football/stories/PE_Sports_Local_D_chargers_31.12a9dbeb.html" target="_blank">Press-Enterprise</a>

    <img src="http://bolttalk.com/images/defense03.jpg" alt="Chargers Defense" />

    By JIM ALEXANDER

    SAN DIEGO - The Chargers certainly played like a team toughened by adversity Sunday.

    Not only were they coming off a bitterly disappointing loss in Philadelphia and playing a game that might determine the course of their season, but they also faced Kansas City without four injured starters, three of them on defense.

    No problem. An inspired, emotional effort, capped by a goal-line stand in the fourth quarter that sent the Chiefs away scoreless after they'd reached the San Diego 3, helped the Chargers to a 28-20 win before 65,750 at Qualcomm Stadium.

    "Guys came in and raised their level of play," injured inside linebacker Randall Godfrey said. "That's what it takes."

    Godfrey (neck) and outside linebacker Steve Foley (abdominal strain) were both inactive, as were cornerback Drayton Florence and center Nick Hardwick with ankle injuries.

    In their stead, linebackers Stephen Cooper and Shaun Phillips and cornerback Sammy Davis contributed to a defense that held the Chiefs to 95 rushing yards, 42 below their average, and two touchdowns in six tries inside the Chargers' 20.

    Meanwhile, backup center Bob Hallen was part of an offensive line that played better than it did a week ago, if not fully up to its capabilities.

    LaDainian Tomlinson, held to 7 yards in 17 carries against the Eagles, gained 69 in 17 against the Chiefs and threw a touchdown pass to an unbelievably wide-open Eric Parker. It was Tomlinson's third touchdown pass and Parker's first scoring reception of the season.

    Drew Brees threw for 324 yards and three scores, all to tight end Antonio Gates.

    The Chargers (4-4) led 21-3 at halftime. But when the Chiefs (4-3) threatened to turn this one into another hairy ending, two critical defensive plays by San Diego held them off.

    Trent Green's 16-yard scoring pass to tight end Tony Gonzalez midway through the third quarter helped the Chiefs pull within 21-10, and they had a chance to creep closer after Greg Wesley picked off Brees' pass and returned it into Chargers territory.

    But on third-and-12 at the San Diego 13, linebacker Shawne Merriman sacked Green and forced a fumble, and Phillips recovered it.

    "Shawne's a playmaker," Phillips said of the first-round draft pick. "That's what we got him for. That's why he got all that money."

    San Diego's other big defensive stand came after the Chiefs, trailing 28-13, drove from their 20 to the San Diego 3 midway through the fourth quarter.

    On second-and-2, running back Larry Johnson was stopped for no gain. On third-and-2, Luis Castillo sacked Green for a 6-yard loss. And on fourth-and-8 from the 9, Green faced a heavy rush, barely got rid of the ball and was called for intentional grounding.

    "We pride ourselves on going down there and putting points on the board," Gonzalez said. "For us to go down there and not get points is frustrating."

    The way the Chargers look at it, it's about time someone else tasted frustration.

    "We're a better team than we were last year, no matter what the record says," Phillips said. "The balls that were bouncing our way last year aren't bouncing our way now, which is OK.

    "What I liked today was that we played with emotion. When we play with emotion we can compete with anybody."

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