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Ingram's Penalty Swings Momentum in Major Way
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All it took was one play.
Just as it appeared the Chargers were building an insurmountable 31-14 lead late in the third quarter, Demorrio Williams’ interception return for a touchdown was nullified when Melvin Ingram was penalized for roughing the passer. Instantaneously, Drew Brees seized momentum by leading his team on a six-play drive for a touchdown. It was the first of 17 unanswered points as the Saints defeated the Chargers in heartbreaking fashion, 31-24.
Following the game, the entire team acknowledged the impact Ingram’s penalty had in contributing to the crushing loss. That included the head coach.
“Obviously it was a critical play,” said Norv Turner. “You can’t make those kind of errors, and we’ll learn from them.”
To Ingram’s credit, the rookie linebacker stood tall in the locker room and addressed the momentum turning play head on.
“I take full responsibility for the personal foul,” he said. “It was just the refs doing their job. That comes with playing hard. It was my bad and it was something I’ve got to learn. It was a tough lesson to learn but it’s a lesson that’s got to be learned.”
Takeo Spikes has been in this league for 15 years, and he knows the importance of momentum. The veteran linebacker was quick to point out that while the penalty wasn’t the reason the team lost, it was a pivotal moment that completely turned the tide in New Orleans favor.
“This game is all about momentum swings,” he said. “If you can minimize their momentum swings and maximize yours, those are the times you pull out the win. Over the course of the game there are five or six plays that define the outcome. And that penalty was probably the biggest one today. It was tough to recover from. But at the end of the day, not one certain play will dictate the reason for losing.”
Chargers fans will surely be asking themselves “what if?” for the rest of the week, wondering what would have happened had Ingram not been called for the personal foul. Still, according to Ingram, if presented with the opportunity again, he would attack the quarterback in the same manner.
“I’m still going to play hard no matter what,” he said. “I can’t let one call stop me from being myself and playing hard. I’m still going to be me. I’ll keep this in mind and make sure I don’t get the personal foul next time, but I’m still going to hit that quarterback with all I’ve got.” Read