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Defense Steps Up but Offense Can't Capitalize
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The Chargers defense didn’t play a flawless game, but they did more than enough to put the team in a position to win.
Unfortunately, the offense wasn’t able to get itself in rhythm until it was too late as San Diego lost 30-23.
“I thought defensively our guys did an awfully good job giving us a chance and keeping us in the game,” head coach Norv Turner said to open his postgame press conference. “Defensively, plays we made gave us a chance to stay in the game. We just didn’t make enough plays offensively to win the game.”
The defense made their presence felt immediately. After forcing a punt on the Broncos’ first possession, the unit put points on the board on the second. Peyton Manning attempted a quick pass to his left, but Marcus Gilchrist read it all the way. The second-year cornerback tipped it straight up in the air, and Eric Weddle cradled it in and returned it 23-yards for a touchdown.
The offense, however, struggled mightily for the first 30 minutes of the game. They were only able to muster two first downs and had to punt the ball eight times.
“Our defense really played well the whole game, but especially early,” said Philip Rivers. “(Offensively) we couldn’t get anything going in the first half. It was rough, and they had a lot to do with it. That’s a heck of a defense. We finally got going in the second half but we couldn’t get quite caught up.”
Rivers lamented the team’s inability to capitalize on the defense’s strong play, especially early in the match.
“What’s hard and what’s frustrating is that the defense was playing so well,” he said. “We got a touchdown and then we got the ball back on the missed field goal there almost at midfield. We had opportunities to make it 10-0 or 14-0 and we couldn’t get anything going. We didn’t execute great during those drives, but they had a lot to do with it. Again, that’s a good defense.”
After the game, the offense repeatedly praised the job the defense did to keep them in the game.
“They played phenomenal,” said Antonio Gates. “I can’t say enough about our defense. Just the way they were able to get after Peyton Manning and control the line of scrimmage from a defensive standpoint, they definitely deserve their due. They did a wonderful job of trying to keep us in the game, and we tried to fight back. I think that shows the character of our team, especially our defense, that they constantly go out and give it all they had (for us) to still have an opportunity at the end.”
Nick Hardwick was another member of the offense who couldn’t say enough about the defense’s performance.
“The defense was an animal,” he said. “They gave us good field position, and unfortunately in the first half we just didn’t use that field position. They were as tough as could be and did a great job.”
Still, the defense wasn’t satisfied with their performance, pointing out their shortcomings rather than focusing on the positives.
“Did you see how many yards we gave up?” asked Donald Butler. “That’s not doing your job. We kept them out of the end zones a bunch, yeah, but in the end it wasn’t good enough. To say we did or job, that’s just not accurate in my opinion.” Read