You saw it all offseason by the Chargers secondary.
Even when it was just a spring practice in shorts, every time they made a big play they’d celebrate as if it was game day.
It was a mindset Defensive Backs coach Ron Milus wanted to instill early, hoping it would breed a confidence that would carry over in games.
“We all have to get excited when our players make a play,” he said at the time. “When you make a play, that’s like we all made that play. We made the analogy to being like the Golden State Warriors. When one of the Warriors makes a three pointer, it seems like every player on that floor thinks they can make a three pointer. So if we make an interception, everybody thinks they can make an interception. So if we build up that type of spirit that the Warriors have, where if they hit a three, there is about to be about six more of them and you don’t know where they are coming from. If we can get that with our guys making a pick, everybody should be excited about it. They come in bunches.”
The Chargers reaped those rewards Friday with a number of standout plays by the first team defensive backs.
Highlights included a pair of interceptions, a Brandon Flowers 25-yard pick six in which he read Carson Palmer’s eyes, jumped a quick pass and took it to the house.
Then after forcing a three-and-out, two plays later it was Jahleel Addae to record a big interception. The fourth-year safety hauled in Drew Stanton’s overthrow and weaved 61 yards to the Arizona nine-yard line. It led to a Josh Lambo field goal that extended the Chargers’ lead to 10-0.
Those weren’t the only big plays by the starting secondary. Casey Hayward forced an early three-and-out, staying stride for stride with Michael Floyd to knock away Palmer’s deep pass. Jason Verrett also had a near pick, settling for a pass breakup of his own along the sideline. Dwight Lowery also had a big stop, dropping Chris Johnson one-yard shy of the sticks on third down to force a punt.
Meanwhile Craig Mager and Darrell Stuckey made game-changing plays on special teams. Mager and Stuckey combined to down a punt at the two-yard line, while number 25 also fought through a double team for a big hit on another punt.