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Secondary Shines with Four Turnovers in Houston

Coming into Week 12, the Chargers were the only team to force a turnover in every game this season. 

Sunday's win against the Houston Texans was no different as the defense forced four turnovers (three interceptions, one fumble) and held the Texans to 13 points.  All of them came courtesy of the Chargers' secondary.

"That has been something our defense has done an outstanding job of (all year)," Head Coach Mike McCoy said.  "I believe we had 19 coming into this game, so they have done a great job of creating turnovers.  That is something we talk (about) all offseason-long and training camp but this season, they have done a nice job of doing that and we made the most of our opportunities and getting those picks today when we needed them."

"I think we did a good job of getting consistent pressure on (Brock Osweiler)," mentioned Dwight Lowery.  "He made big plays here and there but it wasn't anything out of control.  But it helped us get the game under control. We did a good job stopping the run and I think that's what they want to do with him.  We forced them to play a way that they didn't want to."

They also made the Texans pay by forcing four turnovers.

Casey Hayward continued his stellar play by notching his NFL leading sixth interception of the season on Sunday.  In the second quarter, Hayward cut in front of DeAndre Hopkins to intercept a pass from Osweiler. 

"I think it was a good play," Hayward said.  "(Hopkins) ran over and I just tried to chase him and out-run him.  The ball was kind of late and moved up under him.  Both of us had the ball at the same time but I just ended up catching it and toe-tapped."

Most impressive was Hayward's body awareness to tap his feet in bounds to secure the pick.  His football aptitude is something that is equally as impressive to his quarterback.

"Casey just has such a knack for the football and he's such a smart player," Philip Rivers explained.  "I say that with all respect to his ability because I thought that of him when he was in Green Bay.  But he really gets it.  I've been around him now for five or six months, and that part really helps with the physical skill that he has. He knows what's going on.  He's been a heck of an addition for us."

Two other 2016 additions to the secondary contributed to the other three turnovers of the day: Dwight Lowery and Dexter McCoil.

Facing a 1st-and-10 from the San Diego 43 in the third quarter, Lamar Miller rushed up the middle for a gain of 20 yards.  However, at the end of the play, Dwight Lowery came in to force a fumble on the running back which Trevor Williams recovered.  Although the initial call was that Miller was down by contact, the Chargers challenged the ruling and the call was overturned.

Later in the fourth, Osweiler tossed a pick that Lowery corralled for the safety's second turnover of the day.

Finally, after the Texans had a successful onside kick recovery, they had one final shot to get it in the end zone.  With three seconds left, Osweiler launched a pass into the end zone on a Hail Mary attempt, but Dexter McCoil picked it off.  His game-sealing pick was one McCoy called "a big play to end the game the right way."

"I was just doing my job," McCoil said.  "That's what I was in there (for); to be a jumper and make sure they didn't catch the ball."

Lowery mentioned that although he's been in the league for nine years, he's still acclimating to playing in the Bolts' secondary.  However, while kinks may still be getting worked out, one thing for certain is that the camaraderie between the players is second to none.

"I haven't been a part of a secondary that's been as close maybe in my whole career.  It's a really special thing and I'm very appreciative of it.  Even with guys going down and new guys coming in, it's still been something that we've been able to keep that camaraderie.  It's something that's hard to do in the NFL, but it's really special to be a part of the group on the field."  

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