Chargers' reserves have big day

Thirteen games. It took the San Diego Chargers that long to win their third game of the year last season. The reason they have been able to work such wonders is turnovers and protecting the ball on their end.

The Chargers created three turnovers on Sunday in their 34-21 win against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Steve Foley was the first to draw blood. An unsuspecting Reggie Williams came over the middle of the field to catch a ball from Byron Leftwich and the outside linebacker trucked him.

Williams barely raised his head after the catch and was caught unaware. Foley had a beat on the ball from the beginning.

"I have always wanted to catch one of those guys as they come across the middle," Foley said with a grin. "I got out of my zone a little bit. I knew he was going to go to him. I took a chance and it paid off for us."

Foley not only made the hit, he also recovered the fumble it created. The Chargers, however, could not capitalize. It did end the Jaguars best field position of the day, their own 33 yard line, without points.

Then it was Drayton Florence with an interception. Byron Leftwich made a poor throw – tossing it right to Florence who welcomed his first interception with a forty yard run back.

"I count it as a pick only when I score," Florence mused. "So, that was only half a pick."

Five plays later, the Chargers scored and were up by 21 points and it was only the second quarter.

"We put our team in a tough situation to try to fight back," Leftwich said.

The last turnover came on a beautiful read from Jamar Fletcher. Starting in place of Sammy Davis, who had been ineffective over the last few games, Fletcher jumped a route and came up with a diving interception at the Jacksonville 13.

The Chargers turned that into three points and a 27-7 lead.

After the game, Fletcher spoke like a man who wanted to remain in the starting lineup. Although not intentional, his words reminded how little Davis has helped his teammates through the winning and losing.

"Don't let the guys around you down," Jamar Fletcher said. "I try and play as hard as I can.

While Davis played hard, he was not getting it done. No interceptions through four plus games and Fletcher gets his first extended action and nabs the INT.

"We felt like we needed improved performance from there," said the Chargers coach.

Plays like that could earn him some starting time. Although he missed a tackle or two, Schottenheimer mentioned it was a move made on purpose to put pressure on the second year Davis. He was unhappy with his play and showed it by substituting Fletcher in.

It paid off.

"Anytime you get a turnover, it is going to help," said Fletcher.

"Turnovers killed us today," Leftwich said. "But give San Diego credit. They made the plays today. To be honest, we just came out today and laid an egg."

Denis Savage can be reached at

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