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Chargers make it five straight with win in Denver

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Johnny Lightning, Nov 23, 2009.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006

    Casey Pearce
    Posted Nov 22, 2009
    The Chargers rushed for a season-high 203 yards and forced three turnovers on defense as they convincingly won their fifth-straight game with a 32-3 victory over the Broncos Sunday. The win in Denver gave the 7-3 Chargers sole possession of first place in the AFC West.

    Philip Rivers was again accurate, the Chargers’ offensive line was downright nasty and San Diego’s defense forced three turnovers while keeping the Broncos out of the end zone Sunday afternoon. It all added up to a fifth-straight victory for the Bolts, a 32-3 win at Invesco Field to give the 7-3 Chargers sole possession of first place in the AFC West for the first time this season.

    “Last week I said I thought we played our most complete game, but now I think this is our most complete game,” Head Coach Norv Turner said. “We put a lot of pressure on our guys. We gave up the two big returns the last time we played these guys and I thought our coverage was outstanding today. Defensively we just keep getting better."

    The Chargers scored on seven of their 11 possessions Sunday and controlled the clock for almost 38 minutes as they won every phase of the game. The three points allowed was the fewest they’d given up since they held Denver to the same total on Christmas Eve, 2007.

    “Every game is important, but when it’s a big one in the division it raises the stakes a little,” linebacker Shawne Merriman said. “Our offense and defense fed off of each other and we got it done today.”

    Linebacker Shaun Phillips set up the Chargers’ first score of the day when he sacked Chris Simms and knocked the ball loose in the process. Denver opened the game with seven-consecutive runs, and their first pass attempt resulted in a turnover when Steve Gregory pounced on the ball that Phillips knocked loose.

    “I figured they had to pass sometime,” Phillips said. “I just guessed right and was able to win my one-on-one battle.”

    The Chargers capitalized on Phillips’ big play. Rivers led San Diego 69 yards on nine plays and capped the drive with a two-yard touchdown pass to Legedu Naanee to give the Bolts an early 7-0 lead.

    After two Nate Kaeding field goals in the second quarter put the Chargers up 13-0, the Broncos turned to starting quarterback Kyle Orton, who didn’t practice all week and began the game on the sideline with an injured ankle. Orton gave his club a spark as Denver marched to the two yard line, but another big defensive play by San Diego’s defense proved pivotal.

    On 1st-and-goal from the San Diego four, Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno sprinted through the line and stretched the ball toward the end zone. Just before he reached the goal line, Jacques Cesaire punched the ball out, and Gregory again pounced on the loose ball for a touchback. The Chargers punted the ball away, but Denver’s final threat of the half was halted by an Antonio Cromartie interception.

    “We were physical today and a lot of guys stepped up and made big plays,” linebacker Stephen Cooper said. “We just continue to get better on defense and it’s a lot of fun to be a part of.”

    Denver got on the board on their opening drive of the second half with a 23-yard Matt Prater field goal that came after the Chargers stopped the Broncos on three plays inside the 10 yard line.

    The Broncos tried a little trickery on the ensuing kickoff when they attempted an onside kick, but the move backfired. Naanee recovered the kick at Denver’s 41 yard line. A double pass from LaDainian Tomlinson to Rivers to Antonio Gates gained 24 yards, and two plays later Tomlinson scored from a yard out to make it a 20-3 game.

    “That was a big play in the game,” Gates said. “They rolled the dice a little and when it didn’t work, we got great field position. We were able to capitalize on it.”

    With a big lead in hand, the Chargers were able to pound away in the second half and control the clock. Of their 203 rushing yards, 155 came in the second half, including 103 in the fourth quarter. Kaeding hit two fourth-quarter field goals to nudge the lead to 26-3, and Phillips and company kept giving the ball back to the offense. Fullback Mike Tolbert[​IMG], who rushed for a career-high 58 yards Sunday, rounded out the scoring with an eight-yard run in the final minute.

    “That’s kind of an offensive lineman’s dream,” guard Louis Vasquez[​IMG] said. “We really got into a rhythm and kept running the ball. It felt great to get in a groove like that and finish the game.”

    Rivers completed 17-of-22 passes, including 12 in a row at one point, and finished the day with 145 yards through the air. Tomlinson’s 73 rushing yards paced the Chargers, while Tolbert and Hester (46 yards on seven carries) also enjoyed the fun. Defensively, the Chargers were led by Kevin Burnett[​IMG]’s first two-sack performance of his career. The Bolts held Denver to just 2-of-9 on third down.

    Five weeks after a loss to Denver put the Chargers 3.5 games back in the division, San Diego now sits alone atop the AFC West thanks to their current run. The Bolts aren’t surprised by their own play but admit that even they’re intrigued at how things have turned around. They believe they’ve approached it the right way and promise to follow the same attitude during the season’s final six weeks.

    “To be honest we didn’t think we’d be in the position we’re in division wise at this point,” Rivers said. “We’ve taken the right approach, worried about us and just kept playing. Now we’re ahead. It’s not Week 17 of the season. We can’t relax. We’ve got to keep going strong because we can still keep getting a lot better.”
  2. Skuzzlebutt

    Skuzzlebutt BoltTalker

    Jan 10, 2007
    I love this picture, I'll probably over post it, but oh well.

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