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Third Quarter Dominance Proved Pivotal
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This week it was a dominating third quarter that proved pivotal as the Chargers defeated the Oakland Raiders 26-13.
San Diego came out of the gates a bit flat, particularly on offense as they turned the ball over three times, all in the second quarter. However, when the teams came out of halftime, the Bolts did so with a renewed focus on both sides of the ball.
“The important thing is to not turn the ball over,” said Head Coach Mike McCoy. “If I’m correct here, I think we only punted one time and that was the first drive in the second half. So we were moving the football. We killed ourselves in the first half with two turnovers offensively. Keenan (Allen) muffed that one punt, so we didn’t get it done.”
The third quarter began ominously with the aforementioned punt by Scifres. But the defense responded by forcing a three-and-out and from that point on the Bolts imposed their will. The offense drove 77 yards on 12 plays in 6:18, cementing the drive with a four-yard slant on a perfectly drawn up and executed play. John Pagano’s defense then forced another three-and-out as the Raiders had only six snaps on offense during the 15-minute frame. The Bolts went 42 yards on six plays and Nick Novak kicked a 48-yard field goal with 56 seconds remaining. On the ensuing kickoff, Darrell Stuckey and Seyi Ajirotutu combined to force a Greg Jenkins fumble that Ladarius Green recovered. It appeared that Jenkins fell on the ball, but Green somehow wrestled it away in the scrum. The score led to an eventual field goal at the top of the fourth quarter.
In the locker room after the game, the team talked about how key it was to come out of the tunnel at halftime with renewed focus and energy.
“It was an enthusiasm, a fire and a want to that we had when we came back out there,” said D.J. Fluker. “We were fired up. We knew what was at stake. Everybody rallied. It was a mindset. It was about playing for your brother next to you. You take pride in that. We went out there and finished strong.”
Jarret Johnson meanwhile praised the coaches for making necessary adjustments at halftime to get the team back on track after a disappointing first half.
“Obviously this is our third win in a row. A big testament to that is how we’ve done at halftime. How we’ve calmed down with not a ton of adjustments, thanks to my position coach, Joe Barry. But we had a really good breakdown at halftime, came out and played well.”
For Shareece Wright, it was all about seeing the offense, defense and special teams work hand in hand for the brand of ball that McCoy constantly stresses.
“Complementary football,” he said. “We knew it was going to be a dog fight in the second half. It was 0-0 to us at that point and we had every opportunity to get better. We knew we all had to do more, and we did more.” Read