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This 'D' rules at the 'Q'

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Johnny Lightning, Sep 6, 2008.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006
    Kevin Acee
    Friday, September 5, 2008

    The Chargers begin their season Sunday against the Carolina Panthers at Qualcomm Stadium.
    It's a good place for them to be.
    The Chargers defense is astonishingly better at home than on the road.
    No duh, huh?
    But it's not really that obvious a statement.
    Last year, 14 NFL defenses gave up more touchdowns at home than on the road, and 15 surrendered more yardage at home.
    The degree to which the Chargers controlled the turf at Qualcomm Stadium was remarkable. Only Detroit had a larger disparity in the number of touchdowns allowed at home and on the road, and only two teams had a larger difference between the yardage allowed at home and away.
    The Chargers defense allowed just 10 touchdowns in eight regular-season games, tied with Pittsburgh for fewest in the league and 11 fewer than they allowed on the road.
    The 89 points the defense allowed at Qualcomm were 79 fewer than on the road. The 613 rushing yards they allowed at home were 486 fewer than on the road. And the 22 interceptions they snagged in San Diego were 14 more than they had everywhere else.
    “At home you've got so much adrenaline,” cornerback Antonio Cromartie said. “You've got the fans behind you. You feed off it. When you feed off of it, you play at a higher level.”
    Cromartie said he actually prefers making interceptions on the road – “Then the crowd is quiet. They don't know what to say” – but he made just three of his NFL-leading 10 outside Qualcomm Stadium. (He did have two on the road in the postseason.)
    But he and several other defensive players spoke this week of the benefits of playing defense at home.
    “Knowing that you're in your comfort zone and everyone is behind you,” linebacker Matt Wilhelm said, “it's got to give you subliminally some confidence.”
    Added defensive end Luis Castillo: “You make a big play, and you get to show off for your home crowd, you hear the excitement, you get to watch your replay. They don't show it in opposing stadiums.”
    It actually starts on the drive to the game, continues coming out of the tunnel and increases as the game goes on and goes well. And it most often has gone well the past two years; the Chargers are 15-1 at home in the regular season.
    “You have the extra amped emotions flowing – that goes from high school on,” safety Clinton Hart said. “You have a different feeling in your day and how you want to perform. Running out of the tunnel is totally different. The smoke is going. They got the music going, the cannon. Away it's very low key. You run out, it's just your teammates.
    “At home, it's just the hype. You desire to get a big hit or a pick so you can do your thing. In an away game, it's just your teammates. You do it in a home game you hear the crowd, you just feel the energy.”
    For the crowd to be at its maximum frenzy, the players know, the Chargers have to be leading.
    And in 2007, they most often were early. The Chargers outscored their opponents at home 81-0 in the first quarter, the largest such disparity in NFL history.
    What having an early lead does is force an opposing offense to throw. That creates more opportunity for pass rush and for false starts by an offensive line. A visiting offensive line is at a disadvantage because it has to go with a silent count, which often gives the home defense a half-step advantage.
    “Most pass rushers love being at home,” linebacker Shaun Phillips said. “ (For opponents) to throw the ball, we have to have the lead. We have to (praise) our offense for that.”
    Phillips had both of his interceptions, 5-½ of his 8-½ sacks and two of his three forced fumbles at home.
    “When you're at home you've got your fans who are paying their hard-earned money to see a show,” Phillips said. “We've got to give them a show.”
  2. Aggieman

    Aggieman I bleed blue and gold

    Aug 14, 2008
    We played cupcakes at home...Texans, Lions, Bears (not too bad on paper) and a few of those huge disparities come from our pass atrocities at New England and that running mess in Minnesota.

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