Luckily it was the Broncos who made the blunders that proved more severe.
Four Jake Plummer interceptions turned potential scores for Denver into San Diego points. The Bolts scored ten points off turnovers and saved themselves at least three when Jerry Wilson picked off Plummer in the end zone.
Plummer was obviously disappointed with the loss but not necessarily with his interceptions.
"I don't (care) about the interceptions," he said. "If I throw five touchdowns and we lose…"
The biggest blow was the interception in the end zone. But it wasn't Jerry Wilson who came up with the big play, he just benefited from his cornerback and essentially did his job. Drayton Florence was on Rod Smith when Plummer attempted to float a pass to his number one receiver. Florence had him tight but didn't look back. He was focused on the receiver's eyes.
"I just gave him a little pressure on the line and I read his eyes," Florence said. "I didn't even see Jerry Wilson but he happened to be in the right place at the right time."
Even Florence, ever-cocky, knows who made the interception a possibility, as does his head coach.
"Their eyes get about that big," Marty Schottenheimer said making a wide-eyed gesture. "He went up and batted the ball in the air and we were fortunate Jerry Wilson was there. Drayton made a terrific play."
There was three minutes and 45 seconds on the clock when that play happened with the Chargers clinging to a three point lead. Not only did the play prevent a tie, it prevented a loss. The Chargers ran down much of the clock and the defense held when Denver did get the ball back.
The cockiness has turned into confidence for Florence. What was once reckless abandon is now calculated risk. The cornerback has an understanding of when to make the move towards the ball.
It was his interception on the opening drive of the game that set the tempo for the Chargers defense and also led to a San Diego touchdown drive.
"They turned the ball over four times they shouldn't win," the cornerback, starting because of an injury to Sammy Davis, said.
Florence still has learning to do. He had two penalties that created first downs and had a play or two where he was out of position, but times have changed.
Even the long bomb that Ashley Lelie caught, Florence had position. Credit some of the Denver receivers for making circus catches and Plummer for placing the ball in a tough place for the Bolts secondary to defend.
But that is also the evolution of Florence. In the past he would have gotten out of position in an attempt to make a play and it would have been Lelie walking into the end zone.
"I knew they would be going at me all week," Florence said. "I would go after a second string corner also. I used that as motivation and stepped up and made plays when I needed to."
His big play ability, as witnessed by his team leading (tied with Wilson) three interceptions, is what may keep him in the starting lineup for good.
Florence, ironically, will host a "Make It Happen" football camp in June of 2005 at his alma mater, Vanguard High School in Ocala, Florida.
Florence makes it happen
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