Chargers defense stands up tall

The Chargers have not allowed an opening drive touchdown this year and shut the Colts out in the first half on Sunday. Seattle is the only other team not to allow their opponent to score seven on the first drive to open the game.

"Everybody got their money's worth," said head coach Marty Schottenheimer. "It was a terrific football game. It came down to our ability to make some plays in the end."

The Chargers have outscored their opponents 86-29 in the first quarter this season. In the team's nine wins, they have outscored their opponents 72-26. In their five losses, they have only outscored their opponents 14-3.

The Colts had scored in 31 straight quarters – until Sunday when they were shutout by the Charges in the first frame. The Chargers allowed just 12 yards total in the first quarter – eight passing and four rushing. The defense did not allow a first down.

The Bolts pitched a first half shutout of the Colts – the first time any team has accomplished the feat this year. The Colts amassed just 94 first half yards.

"We were stopping them (Colts' offense) all day," said linebacker Donnie Edwards. "We knew if we just continued to play the defense that we have been playing and get to the quarterback and apply pressure, play pass coverage, we knew we would get them."

"Our defense played as well as I've seen them play," said quarterback Drew Brees.

They have not lost by more than four points in 28 straight games, including playoffs. It is the longest current streak in the NFL and the third-longest streak in the league since 1950.

The Chargers are the NFL's third-highest scoring team with 404 points. Only the Colts (409) and Seattle (407) have scored more points than the Chargers. This year's Chargers team (28.9 ppg) is on pace to score 461 points, which would fall just seven points shy of the franchise's single-season scoring mark of 468 points, set in 1981.

After holding the Colts to just 24 yards rushing, the Chargers have held three teams, Oakland (39) and Philadelphia (24), to less than 40 yards on the ground, and only two teams, Dallas (109) and Pittsburgh (104) have rushed for more than 100 yards. No individual player has rushed for more than 93 yards against the Bolts' defense. The Chargers have held their last nine opponents to 579 total yards, an average of 64.3 rushing yards per game while going 7-2 during that stretch.

Edgerrin James had rushed for 88 yards or more in every game this year until he met the number one rushing defense in the league. He netted just 25 yards on 13 carries on Sunday.

The Chargers rushed for 206 yards on Sunday against a team that had allowed 96 yards per game during the year.

"Special teams played a huge role," added Brees. "Offensively, we had a great first half, struggled in the second half, but made the big plays when we needed to."

In the Bolts' nine wins this season, the offense has averaged 170.2 yards rushing (1,532 total) and quarterback Drew Brees has been sacked just ten times. In the team's five losses though, the offense has only averaged 73.0 yards rushing (365 total) and Brees has been sacked 13 times.

In 47 trips inside the red zone this season, the Chargers have 33 touchdowns and their touchdown percentage (.702) leads the NFL. The Chargers have scored at least a field goal in 45-of-47 red zone trips this season, including 16 in a row.

The Chargers have scored at least 17 points in 27 consecutive regular season games, the longest active streak in the NFL. The last team to hold San Diego under 17 points was the Denver Broncos, who defeated the Bolts 23-13 last September 26 at Invesco Field.

The Chargers ran up a 91-yard scoring drive to close the second quarter. It ended in a 20-yard field goal by Nate Kaeding. The drive took 18 plays and eight minutes and 18 seconds off the clock – the longest drive of the season, encompassing the most plays for a scoring drive. It was also the longest drive of the year.

The previous long in plays was a 15-play drive against Miami last week that ended in a touchdown. They also had a 13-play scoring drive against Miami that lasted seven minutes and 52 seconds. They had an 85-yard drive against New York earlier this year which was the previous long in yards.


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