The San Diego Chargers’ offense has faced a number of stiff tests over the first five weeks of the season, and for the most part the team has responded with stellar efforts.
The team ranks fifth in total offense (401.6 yards per game), fifth in passing (311.2 ypg) and 12th in points (25.0).
Indy ranks 11th in total defense (330.4 ypg), sixth in passing (201.4 ypg) and fifth in points allowed (15.8)
As such, Offensive Coordinator Ken Whisenhunt explained Friday the challenges his unit faces going up against the Colts, stating that the offense has to perform better than it did against the Oakland Raiders last week.
“Obviously we’ve got to be buttoned up in what we’re trying to get done,” he said. “It’s a good defense. They play hard. They’re well disciplined. There are a lot of similarities in what we face from our guys through the summer and training camp, but it really comes down to not making mistakes. That’s what hurt us last week. We made some mistakes early. It put us behind in down and distance, so we’ve got to be better this week.”
“We can’t do that,” said Whisenhunt. “We turned the ball over in the red zone a number of times this year, and we weren’t as good in the red zone as we need to be, so that’s something that we talked about. We’ve got to be better about that this week no question.”
When talking about Indianapolis’ defense, the conversation inevitably turns to Robert Mathis. The respected veteran leads the entire NFL with 9.5 sacks through five weeks and is someone the Bolts will look to take out of the game, much like they limited DeMarcus Ware in Week 4.
“He’s a very talented player,” Whisenhunt said. “He plays hard every snap. He’s a good combination of speed and power and he really is a good football player.”
“I think the first thing is we’ve got to be a little better than we were last week,” Whisenhunt said. “That was unfortunate that we didn’t do a better job running the football in that game. Once we got down, that kind of changed it. But whoever we’ve got, whatever that group is, it’s a group effort and we’ve got to do a better job as a whole. Talking about offensive line, tight ends, everybody. So our focus this week has just been on trying to clean up some of the mistakes that we’ve made. An important piece for us this week (has been) trying to run the football.”
Something else to watch on Monday night is the final 15 minutes. After allowing a touchdown in Week 1, the Colts have gone an amazing four straight weeks without allowing a score in the fourth quarter. It is a statistic Whisenhunt is cognizant of but knows it’s all boils down to the Chargers playing sound on offense.
“We’re aware of it,” he said. “When you break teams down you look at areas they are good at and those things, but it’s really more about us executing. If you look at us last week against Oakland, we were down (in the red zone) a number of times and had opportunities but we didn’t capitalize on them. So that’s what it’s got to be about for us. I know they’re a good defense. I know they play well down there. But for us, it’s about making sure we don’t make mistakes. We had opportunities to make catches and had some mental errors. So we’ll clean those up and take our chances.”