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Defense Packs a Punch in Victory
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After a disappointing second half against the Denver Broncos on “Monday Night Football” three weeks ago, the Chargers defense has settled into a rhythm.
San Diego only allowed seven points and 250 yards to the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, both season-lows.
Against the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday night, the Chargers defense continued its dominance, scoring two touchdowns of its own and allowing only 13 points, as the Chargers defeated the Chiefs 31-13. The defense bent throughout the night, allowing Kansas City to move down the field, but they refused to break, coming up with big plays.
"We had big plays defensively," said head coach Norv Turner. "Obviously, we got great pressure. We hit the quarterback and that has an effect on them."
On Kansas City’s first possession of the game, inside linebacker Demorrio Williams forced a fumble, which was recovered by cornerback Quentin Jammer. As a result, Nick Novak would knock it a 25-yard field goal to give the Chargers a 10-0 lead.
The Chiefs drove down the field with relative ease during its second possession of the game, gaining three first downs during the drive, before the Chargers stepped up to hold the Chiefs to a field goal. In the third quarter, the Chargers held the Chiefs to a pair of three and outs and another field goal.
But it was in the fourth quarter when the defense made its mark.
After a Chargers touchdown made it 17-3 early in the fourth quarter, Kansas City took over on its own eight-yard line.
After a false start call pushed the Chiefs back to their own four-yard line, outside linebacker Jarret Johnson sacked quarterback Matt Cassel in the end zone, forcing a fumble in the process. The ball was recovered by outside linebacker Shaun Phillips for a Chargers touchdown, making it 24-6 in favor of the Chargers.
“With a quarterback, because they’re not like a running back where they have a good grip, once you get a grasp on it, you just chop the ball,” Johnson said.
On the ensuing Chiefs possession, Williams was at it again, intercepting the Cassel pass and returning it 59 yards for the score to put San Diego up 31-6.
With the game out of hand, the defense allowed a six-yard rushing touchdown to Shaun Draughn later in the quarter. It was the first touchdown the defense has allowed since the first drive of Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns.
The defense also did a tremendous job keeping Jamaal Charles in check. He was held to 39 yards on 12 carries, while Cassel finished the game 19-of-29 for 181 yards and one interception.
“Other than one drive, I thought we played extremely well against the run,” Johnson said. “(We) gave up some plays on third down, but as the game went on, we got better on third down. You’re going to give up plays, but the teams that can adjust and stay poised; those are the good teams that win. To be close going into the third quarter and then to make the plays to win, it’s exactly what this team needed.” Read