This past Thursday marked Defensive Coordinator Gus Bradley’s first time addressing the media since the team’s dramatic goal line stop that lifted the Chargers to a Week 7 win over the Tennessee Titans.
Little did he know just how prophetic his words would prove to be once again.
“We always talk about, if it's on the one-yard line, give us an inch and we'll protect it,” he said. “I think that's more our mentality as a defense in those situations. Not, ‘Oh, I'm not running this situation.’ No, no. Give us two inches and we'll protect it. So, to go out there and compete, and to come together and make a play, you know, it's great to show the players that mindset.”
Boy did they ever prove Bradley’s prophecy that they’ll protect every inch again against Seattle.
Following a somewhat controversial pass interference penalty in the end zone, Seattle was given the ball at the one-yard line down eight points with no time left on the clock. A false start penalty backed them up to the six, and then it truly was déjà vu all over again.
Russell Wilson began to scramble, and just like how it was against the Titans, the Bolts thought he was making a run for the end zone. Instead, he fired over the middle. And just like in London, a safety batted it away as Jahleel Addae altered the ball’s trajectory by the skin of his teeth.
“We were in zone coverage,” Addae said, giving a detailed account of the play. “(The Seahawks) broke down and Russell started scrambling. Coach always teaches us just to plaster to the receiver, and there were two of us, and I did that. I followed Russell’s eyes because I thought he was about to run, so I was going to try to meet him at the goal line, and he let it go. I dove and got my last middle fingernail on there, and I think I changed the deflection on the ball.”
He did, and the celebration was on.
After all, a walk-off win on defense at the goal line doesn’t come around too often, even if this was the second-straight time the Bolts won in this manner.
“It’s the best feeling in the world,” said Damion Square. “The best. We’re a resilient group. Man, that felt good. It’s emotional.”
Overall, while the team wished it didn’t come down to the very end like it did, it was a performance that once again showed the team’s true character.
“Back-to-back weeks, the last play of the game, I tell you, this is a real gritty football team,” said Head Coach Anthony Lynn. “This team did not quit. We protected every inch. I’m proud of the guys today. We came here and played in a hostile environment and won on the road again. I was proud of the way they played.”
He wasn’t the only one to feel that way.
“It shows the grit (and) resiliency we have,” said Brandon Mebane. “How well we play as a team and how well we keep fighting as a team. I think that’s just the main thing we do. It was like winning a championship. Like winning a playoff game. And that was like a playoff-type game (today).”
“We’re brothers,” added Addae. “We’re fighters. We come in each and every day and we work. They say hard work pays off and it’s paying off for us. I didn’t win this game for us. It was a team effort; special teams, offense and defense. I’m just happy to get a W in a hostile environment.”