In a strange and frustrating way, the San Diego Chargers have actually been quite predictable in 2013. The Bolts once again continued their Jekyll and Hyde routine in a 19-9 defensive domination of one of the league’s hottest teams on Monday night. Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts were held in check on the night just one week after the Bolts really looked lost and hopeless against an Oakland Raiders team that usually handles that lost and hopeless role quite well themselves. It really is all about the defense for San Diego, and the numbers don’t lie when examining the stats from the game.
Aside from yet another drive to end the first half where 10 to 12 yard cushions on the outside allowed the Colts to easily move the chains and get down into field goal range, the Bolts stepped up on that side of the ball. Luck was under pressure all night with different defenders taking turns applying heat on the Indy signal caller. The tale is easily told from the 267 total net yards surrendered defensively by San Diego and the mere 12 first downs the Colts earned on the night.
This suffocating defense limited one of the NFL’s hottest teams to just three field goals on the evening which is certainly impressive given Indy’s showing just last week against the league’s top defense statistically in the Seattle Seahawks. While the fact that the Chargers haven’t been able to put up stellar performances like this in consecutive weeks is concerning, developing some consistency and actually forcing some turnovers will help this become a more regular thing.
Speaking of turnovers, the Chargers actually scored their first interception since the opening play from scrimmage on their season with a Derek Cox pick on Monday night. It took a while, but this defense could have had the catalyst performance that will propel it to bigger and better things down the line this season.
Whether or not the Bolts can make this type of stingy effort a common occurrence remains to be seen, but there’s no doubt this young defense has the pieces in place to make that happen. With rookie linebacker Manti Te’o tying for the team lead in tackles with five on the night, it seems like he is back to full strength and ready to roll for the remainder of the season. This showing could be just the beginning of a really positive trend for the Chargers as the stretch run of the season begins.