Chargers defense continues the swarm

The San Diego Chargers defense came up with the big plays, harassing quarterback Aaron Brooks throughout the day. They set a new Chargers record for sacks over a two-game series with Oakland, netting 14 quarterback takedowns. Next week, Shawne Merriman returns

Randall Godfrey notched his second sack of the year in the first quarter, dropping Aaron Brooks for the first time in the game. Godfrey has not had more than two sacks in a year since collecting 2.5 in the 2000 season while with Tennessee. He has never had more than three in a season (1998 with Dallas).

Brooks escaped numerous first half sacks to make plays with his feet. He crossed the line of scrimmage four times and gained 29 yards.

Shaun Phillips played "closer" on a sack in the second quarter after Matt Wilhelm set him up but allowed Brooks to slip away. It was the ninth sack of the season for Phillips to push him ahead of Shawne Merriman's 8.5 for the team lead. Phillips added a half sack to start the fourth quarter, sharing the sack with Ryon Bingham. Bingham now has 1.5 sacks on the season – more sacks than he had tackles over his first two seasons in the league, although he spent his rookie year on injured reserve.

We have lost a lot of good players and we have to keep things going and try to make up for those guys," Bingham said.

Phillips also tipped a pass at the line of scrimmage in the fourth quarter that led to a Quentin Jammer interception, his third of the season. Jammer returned the ball 35 yards, the longest return of his five-year career. He had just 54 return yards on his first eight career interceptions. Jammer had intercepted two passes over his previous two seasons.

"I think it was a big momentum shifter," said Jammer. "If we don't get that play they kick a field goal and maybe we don't score."

Marques Harris, stunting inside, sacked Brooks in the fourth quarter. It was his third sack of the year, extending his career-high.

Jacques Cesaire missed a sack in the first quarter after dancing with Brooks but was in on a sack in the fourth quarter, splitting one with Derreck Robinson. Cesaire has 2.5 sacks on the year and Robinson has 1.5 sacks.

Antonio Cromartie's 91-yard kickoff return was the longest return since Ronney Jenkins returned a kickoff 93 yards in 2001. It is, however, the longest non-touchdown return in Chargers history. Cromartie had 65 return yards on four returns entering the game.

Andrew Pinnock had his first carry of the year, gaining two yards in the third quarter. Pinnock had been inactive in the first ten games of the season. The running back had one carry last season and a career-high nine in 2004.

The Chargers did have their seemingly weekly effort in idiocy.

Vincent Jackson made a key fourth down reception in the fourth quarter but after the reception he spun the ball to the ground before being touched. Oakland recovered. It was ruled that he was not touched and an illegal forward pass on Jackson. A five yard penalty on Jackson – but a first down.

"He let his emotions get away from him," said Schottenheimer. "You have to say, ‘what in the world was he thinking about.'

"He had a catch, was on the ground, and threw the ball to the ground and threw it forward – an illegal forward pass. We were still ahead of the line to gain and still got a first down."

Drayton Florence picked off a pass to seal the win but did not go down to the ground on his own. Without timeouts, Oakland could not stop the clock but Florence ran around and was tackled from behind by a Raider. Luckily, he held onto the ball.

"He said, ‘coach I went to the ground,' Schottenheimer relayed. ‘The hell you got on the ground. He dragged you to the ground.' He should have known better."

"You have to be a little smarter and take the knee," Florence readily admitted.

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