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Barnes makes presence felt
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SAN DIEGO – Chargers linebacker Antwan Barnes joined the Chargers two weeks ago with little fanfare.
Barnes, who played for the Ravens the last three seasons, entered Sunday with five career sacks. He added two more to that total against New England on Sunday and along the way impressed many of his new teammates and coaches.
“I love the guy already,” Chargers linebacker Antwan Applewhite said. “He’s only been here two weeks and he’s already in our defensive scheme and playing at a high level.
“We have nowhere to go but up and with guys like Antwan Barnes. It helps out tremendously.”
During the second quarter, Barnes sacked Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for an 11-yard loss.
It was the first of two Barnes sacks on a crucial third-down situations in the red zone to hold the Patriots to field goals.
“It’s just game planning; we game-planned like crazy this whole week,” Barnes said. “The defense came out and executed and everything just fell into place. Once you do your job, everything is going to fall into place.”
Sunday was the first time that Tom Brady was sacked four times in the regular season since Week 7 of the 2006 season against the Buffalo Bills.
“We went out there and we stuck to our game plan and we rode the wave the whole way,” Chargers linebacker Shaun Phillips said. “We didn’t change our game plan once.
“We were able to go out there and execute. Obviously he (Tom Brady) is a talented player, one of the best quarterbacks ever, but they got the win which is all that matters.”
Toward the end of the first half, Barnes came through with his second sack on Brady, this time a loss for eight yards that once again forced the Patriots to kick a field goal.
The Chargers held New England to 3.1 yards per play on offense and 179 total yards. Brady entered halftime 6-of-16 for 35 yards. Quentin Jammer and Antoine Cason both had potential turnovers glance of their hands, but Brady made some key third-down conversions in the second half.
“You can take a positive away anytime you hold a team to field goals,” Applewhite said. “A team as good as that on offense, anytime you can hold them out of the end zone you can take pride in that.
“It’s an all around team game and no matter what the defense did, we lost to the Patriots today.”
Going forward, Barnes understands that in order for the Chargers to be successful, he must continue to stay within the game plan and listen to his coaches.
“I just need to do my role,” Barnes said. “I just want to go out there and do my job and execute what the coaches ask of me.”
With a long list of linebackers on the injury list and the Chargers looking for someone to fill in the holes and contribute, Barnes realizes that now is the time to make a splash.
“It feels good,” Barnes said. “It shows that coaches know how to use me and they want to put me in the game plan to make plays. That’s what I was brought here to do.” Read