Chargers defense steps up

After 17 points were put on the board in the first half against the San Diego Chargers defense, the swarming horde of Lightning Bolts took over the show.

Shaun Phillips notched a sack and a forced fumble on a third down in the second quarter that the Niners recovered to end a reign of five straight combined possessions from both teams with a score. Phillips netted his second sack of the game in the fourth quarter. Phillips has 5.5 sacks on the year and two forced fumbles.

"It is a credit to our defensive line that we are getting pressure, that teams respect us enough to double team us, and a credit to our secondary for holding coverage," Phillips said.

Shawne Merriman registered a sack on the Niners first possession of the third quarter to force a punt. He and Phillips are tied for the team lead with 5.5 sacks apiece. Merriman added three quarterback hurries and seven tackles, including one for a loss.

Marlon McCree added his first sack of the year in the fourth quarter. To find his last sack in the NFL we have to travel back to October 27, 2002 while he was playing with Jacksonville. Since that time he has been with three different teams.

Luis Castillo intercepted a pass that Phillips tipped at the line of scrimmage, Castillo's first career interception. It was the first interception by a defensive linemen since Adrian Dingle intercepted a pass on January 2, 2005 against Kansas City.

"It was certainly a momentum changer," head coach Marty Schottenheimer admitted.

Castillo would add a sack near the end of the game, his fourth of the season. Castillo had 3.5 sacks in 16 games as a rookie last season.

The Chargers have sacked the quarterback 21 times in five games, the second best sack per game ratio to Philadelphia.

Terrence Kiel forced and recovered a fumble on Bryan Gilmore. It was the second forced fumble of his career and first since opening day 2005 against the Dallas Cowboys.

Frank Gore's 22-yard run in the first quarter was the first run of the season to traverse more than 20 yards against the San Diego defense. They entered the game as one of just two teams (Dallas) that hadn't allowed a run of 20-plus yards. Gilmore would add a 22-yard reverse later in the game.

The San Diego defense allowed 274 yards for the game but just 95 in the second half when they pitched a shutout.

"We did some things pretty well in the game and shut them out in the second half," Drayton Florence revealed.

‘We struggled to control the offense in the first half and resolved a couple of things in the half which enabled us to not give up any points in the second half," said Schottenheimer.

"We kind of self-destructed in the second half," San Francisco head coach Mike Nolan added.

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