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Sun., Mar. 08, 2015 1:30 PM PDT
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Defense Keys Win with Six Turnovers
Eric Weddle started a banner day for the defense with a savvy interception on Kansas City’s third play from scrimmage. Little did the Chargers know that would be the first of six turnovers they would force against the league’s number one ranked offense en route to a 37-20 drubbing of the Chiefs.
“The turnovers came by us forcing them to make mistakes,” said Shaun Phillips, who had a fumble recovery and strip-sack on the afternoon. “And we capitalized on those mistakes. It was a good defensive effort and a good team win for us.”
With three fumbles and three interceptions, the six takeaways were the most by a team in a single game in the NFL this season. Incredibly, the Chargers forced five of those turnovers in the first half alone, and it was the first time the team had that many in a single half since September 7, 1997.
“(The coaches) kept telling us to go out there and try to get the ball loose and turn the ball over,” said Corey Liuget. “That’s how we’re going to win the game. By getting turnovers. We were just fortunate that the ball bounced our way today.”
Liuget had arguably the most important forced fumble of the afternoon, stripping Jamaal Charles deep in Kansas City territory to set the Bolts up at the five-yard line. Two plays later, Jackie Battle dove into the end zone and gave the visitors a commanding 17-0 lead.
“I just came off the ball and he appeared outside,” said the second-year defensive end. “He wanted to get the ball to the edge, and I just stayed outside. I wrapped him up, and went after the ball and pulled it out. It feels great to be able to cause a turnover in the back field against a nice running back. He’s one of the elite running backs in the NFL, so it felt great to be able to do that.”
Not only was the defense successful at creating turnovers, it also was able to get one into the end zone as well as Donald Butler intercepted Matt Cassel for a 21-yard pick-six late in the second quarter.
“The ball got tipped and it was right in front of me,” said Butler. “Hats off to the guys up front to get pressure on the quarterback. He threw it and I was in a good place to make a play. I’m telling myself to run ahead as fast as I can and score and get seven for the team. You see the end zone, and Melvin Ingram made a great block for me, and I was able to get in there.”
Most importantly, the offense was able to capitalize, scoring 24 points off those takeaways. It was the team’s most points scored off turnovers since November 29, 2009, also against the Chiefs.
“It helps when you get a short field like that,” said Le’Ron McClain. “We fed off our defense. It was a great team win for us. When you see your defense out there doing what they did, it makes you want to reward that effort.”