Defense Fails the San Diego Chargers

This was a game that saw the worst on both sides of the ball for the San Diego Chargers. They only allowed ten points off four turnovers, but everywhere else they failed. It didn't help that the offense could not stay on the field for longer than three minutes and fifteen seconds the entire day.

After coming up big on the Broncos first drive, where they stopped them on fourth and inches, the Charger offense felt they deserved another chance to take the lead and gave the ball away on their own 11 yard line. It was then that the flood gates opened.

"Getting the turnovers quick really set the tone for the rest of the day," Bert Berry said.

Denver had the ball in their possession for over 44 minutes of the 60 minute game. Three of their twelve drives went three or fewer plays and they scored a touchdown on one of those. In fact, they had more drives that went 10 plays or more!

The sad part is a true statement Rod Smith said, "We left a lot of points on the field."

Of their twelve possessions, the Broncos made it into San Diego territory nine times. Made it in may be a little misleading. They got to at least the San Diego 31 yard line each time. They were in the red zone five times and scored just 13 points. With so many chances, however, it ended up being a mauling.

"Offensively, it was nice to get Plummer back," said Shanahan. I really thought he came in and played well. He'll be the first person to tell you that it is very tough to come back after being off for four weeks and ask a guy to come in and play at the level he played at."

"Jake's our leader," said tight end Shannon Sharpe, the new record holder of most touchdown catches by a tight end after his three TD performance. "He brings us a dimension that we don't have when he's not on the field. We're a different team with him out there."

Different to the tune of 454 yards. Plummer threw for 232 yards, going 23-34 and averaging eleven yards per completion. The running game, with Clinton Portis and Quentin Griffin headlining, topped 200 total yards on the ground.

When the Chargers secondary was up on their men, they beat em deep. When the secondary played back they dumped it underneath. Quentin Jammer and Sammy Davis were both destroyed out there.

The Broncos had 20 chances to convert third downs. It is a safe bet to say they converted quite a few (eleven). 85 total plays and the Chargers defense was spent.

"They kept getting first down after first down and there was nothing we could do about it," Chargers cornerback Sammy Davis said.

"Once you get in a rhythm, you feel like there's nothing you can do wrong," Sharpe added. "Everything just seemed to go our way."

And nothing went the Chargers way. When they stopped the Broncos on downs, they fumbled it away. When they recovered a fumble, they threw an interception and when they intercepted two passes with a starting position close to midfield they punted. Nothing went right and a 2-8 record proves it has been the same as the rest of the season.

Denis Savage can be reached at safage@cox.net

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