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Week 4: Chargers D finally shows up

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Week 4: Chargers D finally shows up

Post  DaHibachi on Wed Nov 17, 2010 12:58 am

In the three previous games played by the Chargers, fans were left wondering if this defense could stop anyone they played. The offense has posted big numbers but were often left scrambling as the defense constantly let opposing offenses march down the field. In three games, the defense had given up 132 points: a mind-boggling 44 points a game.

In week 4 against the Arizona Cardinals, the defense came to play as they only allowed a lone field goal in the 2nd quarter. They also allowed a season low 129 yards of total offense, 112 passing and a measly 17 yards on the ground while also forcing three turnovers. The offense, meanwhile, continued their production lead by QB Philip Rivers who posted a perfect 158.3 QB rating on 12 of 14 for 233 yards and 3 scores, all 3 scores to TE Antonio Gates, who finished the day with 8 catches for 172 yards. The running game was also very effective, led by Darren Sproles, who carried the ball 12 times for 100 yards and a score.

In the first quarter, Philip Rivers led a long opening drive, mixing in the run and pass finally ending with a 21 yard TD strike to Antonio Gates. The Chargers defense quickly ended the Cardinals first drive giving the ball back to the offense. Philip Rivers then led another TD drive shortly into the 2nd quarter, this time capped by a 11 yard TD run by Darren Sproles.

As the second quarter continued, Arizona QB Matt Leinart was able to string a few plays together but ultimately had to settle for a 52 yard Jay Feely field goal, making the Chargers lead 14-3. Philip Rivers and company seemed poise to march down the field yet again when the drive was halted by, perhaps the only blemish on an otherwise perfect showing, a Patrick Crayton fumble in Arizona territory after an 18 yard reception, giving the Cardinals new life. The Chargers defense quickly drained that new life as they responded with an interception by the rookie strong safety, Darrel Stuckey, with just under 1:30 to go in the first half. Philip Rivers successfully led an excellent 2 minute drill capped by 3 yard TD catch by Gates with 3 seconds left, giving the Chargers a 21-3 halftime lead.

The second half opened with the Cardinals on offense. The defense once again came up with another interception, this time by MLB, Stephen Cooper, who was not seen by Matt Leinart over the middle. This pick set the Chargers offense up in Arizona territory, where they again capitalized with another 3 yard TD pass from Rivers to Gates pushing the lead to 28-3. From this point on, the Chargers went into cruise control adding two Nate Kaeding field goals leaving the final score 34-3.

After the game, Philip Rivers was asked how it was not having to constantly play catch up and he responded, "You know, as much grief as the defense has been given over the past few weeks, the offense has to take some of the blame too. I've thrown too many interceptions, and had drives stall early, putting those guys in bad situations. I think their success today was also helped by the fact that we were able to sustain long drives and run the ball." Defensive captain Shaun Phillips was also asked how he felt about the defensive performance today, "I'm proud of our guys today. I think the big difference today was that we tackled well. There were very few missed tackles and we swarmed on the ball carriers today. After the game, I told them that this is what we are capable of every week."

The Chargers will meet hated division rival, Oakland Raiders in week 5, who are coming off a rough 42-21 loss against the Texans. Both teams are 2-2 and will be looking at possibly taking the division lead with a victory. Darren Sproles will not be available for that game as he suffered an abdominal tear against the Cardinals.
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