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Bolts' Defense Plays Lights Out

Posted Oct 20, 2013

Behind a season-high six sacks, the Bolts have not allowed a touchdown in 10 quarters.

Chad Henne dropped back five steps and tried to look deep.  But all the Jaguars passer could see was a white No. 91 jersey closing in.

No. 91 set the tone for the Bolts' second straight defensive gem.  Kendall Reyes, Corey Liuget and other Chargers' defenders stymied their opponents again this week and extended the group's streak to 10 quarters without permitting a touchdown.  The last time the Chargers went 10 straight quarters without allowing a touchdown was back in 1993.

Reyes foiled the Jaguars' opening big pass and his teammates followed suit with their own big plays.

Early in the first quarter, Liuget notched the first of six sacks when he jumped in the middle of a developing screen pass to Maurice Jones-Drew.  Henne couldn't see his running back behind Liuget's 6-foot-2 frame, and soon, that frame landed on the Jaguars' quarterback.

Then, on the very next play, Jahleel Addae forced the first of three punts when he burst off the edge and brought Henne down.

Quarterback take-downs were contagious on this day.

“One of those things too that’s been a big emphasis is getting after the quarterback,” said Head Coach Mike McCoy. “We didn’t do that early in the season and got exposed a little bit because you can only cover for so long.  It’s not easy in this league.  If you don’t get any rush on the quarterback it’s tough.  The DB’s are on an island back there.  So if you don’t get after them it’s tough.  I think they did a great job (today).  There were a lot of second efforts out there today.”

Today's defensive effort included much more than sacks, though.  The defensive backfield neutralized top receiver Justin Blackmon just one week after he torched the Broncos for 190 yards and a touchdown.

The Jaguars tried, but Blackmon and other receivers couldn't find the end zone through the Bolts' lock down coverage.  Their best chance came late in the third quarter, but the Bolts defense rose up to the challenge.

At the Chargers' five-yard line, Sean Lissemore played his assignment and slowed Jones-Drew for a gain of three. Henne threw to the back of the end zone for Marcedes Lewis on the next play, but Gilchrist pried the ball away -- despite giving up seven inches and almost 75 pounds to the big-bodied Jags' tight end.

Then, in shotgun, Henne passed to Blackmon.  But several Bolts defenders had redirected the receiver further toward the sidelines than he wanted to go.  He couldn't get both feet in bounds and the touchdown-free streak continued for the Bolts.

At a time of year when closers are tied more to baseball, the Bolts defense neutralized the Jaguars at the end of the game.  Thomas Keiser sacked Henne on their direst drive of the fourth quarter. Henne stepped up in the pocket to scramble away from Keiser on the next down, but linebacker Larry English flew up the middle to stop him for a one-yard gain. The Jaguars punted soon after.

On their next fourth-quarter possession, English got to Henne for a sack. Keiser smacked a pass to Shorts back at Henne's facemask on fourth down, and the Bolts regained possession.

Then, finally, they turned Henne over. He passed deep for Blackmon but the ball sailed too far. Gilchrist was waiting and the team took over once again.

Add a few more pressures and another sack from Reggie Walker, and you've got the perfect ending to a shut down game by the Bolts' staunchy defense.

"It’s a great team defense," said McCoy.  "They did a great job today of buying into the game plan, flying around and doing a nice job.
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