You are here
Thu., Mar. 01, 2018 8:00 AM to 9:00 AM PST
Thu., Apr. 26, 2018 12:00 PM PDT
Finally, Field Position Flips in Bolts' Favor
Chargers News To Your Inbox!
Sign up for the free Chargers email newsletter and stay in the know with all things Bolts.
It’s been a glaring number for the San Diego Chargers’ punt return team as heading into Sunday’s game, they had just a single punt return yard all season. In addition, the team has been the only club in the league to start drives averaging their own 20-yard line.
While they’ve faced an uphill battle through 11 weeks, the tables turned on Sunday in the team’s 31-25 win against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
“It’s playing complimentary football, we talk about it all the time,” Head Coach Mike McCoy said. “It helps to play on a short field. It’s hard to go 80-yards every series or even further than that…. It’s hard. But the great thing is we’ve got a special quarterback and he’s gotten us out of binds a lot…. When you play the field position game, it makes it a lot easier on the play-caller (and) everybody else on the football team. You can play field position. If you don’t convert a third down, well we’re going to punt it to them, and they’re going to be on a long field now. You go back and forth until somebody makes a play and you get out of that situation.”
In this game, the Bolts’ started their drives averaging from their own 30-yard line. This was aided by two punt returns by Javontee Herndon, one good for 15-yards and the other for 18.
Like McCoy said, playing on a short field is key, and as wide receiver Dontrelle Inman explained, “We capitalized on it.”
The first punt return set the Chargers up at their own 37-yard line and ultimately turned into seven points and a lead for the Bolts. The second was good for an eventual three after a 28-yard field goal by Josh Lambo.
In addition to Herndon’s returns, inside linebacker Manti Te'o set his offense up with a short field after picking quarterback Blake Bortles off and returning it deep in Jacksonville territory. The pick came less than a minute after Philip Rivers found Antonio Gates for a nine-yard touchdown, and was sandwiched between another score from 17 to 85.
“I just dropped into zone and read the quarterback’s eyes and made a play,” Te'o explained. “We understood the situation and the offense just put points on the board and we’re in a two-minute situation and in that field position, we wanted to try and make a play. And I was able to make it.”
“It’s amazing and it couldn’t happen to a better guy,” Safety Jahleel Adde added. “He’s been battling injury and he’s back and he’s a splash player on our defense. It’s a momentum change. We got the ball, offense got the score, and then we got the ball after half so, it was everything that we needed.”