As you look at a record-breaking night, I was glad we had that quick TD from Drew to Henderson to get that over and done with. But realistically, no one could say that they were confident we were going to win that game, given the way the third quarter was working out. It just shows you as a team how we handled the adversity.
You know, the defense helped us win! Everyone thought, "This game's going to go to overtime." But Martez Wilson came up with a big sack, and then didn't pout when they called him for hands to the face...And all of a sudden, they have an automatic first down. But we don't give up the ghost, he keeps fighting, and he comes up with a big-time sack at the end.
This game is probably the closest game for the fans to cheer as when the Bears came to town with Jay Cutler, when we got after him. On the Chargers, we had five sacks on the day. Against Cutler we had six, so it's been forever. I'll tell you right here, this is winning football! This is outstanding. IF our defense can keep doing this...If they can cause turnovers, and force field goals instead of giving up touchdowns. I think realistically we're not going to stop no one, but if you can be opportunistic...keep them out of the end zone, force them to kick field goals, and then you get a turnover now and then…Then you got a chance.
This is a BIG positive. We were minus-four as the season was progressing at the beginning, and now we're now plus-one in the turnover ratio, and we're plus-one in this game. If you look at the Chargers on third down, this is as good as it gets, if you look over the whole season. The chargers were 33% on third-down conversions. You're going to have double-digit wins if you continue to do that against an opponent.
Now, with that being said, here’s something that’s not a good thing. When Coach Payton spoke at SMU, he acknowledged this: You've got to be able to run the ball, and stop the run. Against the Chargers, we gained only 2.5 yards per attempt. We had 53 yards of rushing, and just 20 at the half. You've got to appreciate the courage and moxie of Pierre Thomas, because he didn't have jack until he put it upon his shoulders, and decided he'd be a difference-maker. I mean, we need more guys like this! We need guys who will challenge the guys at the sideline to step up and get the job done! He ended up with 70 total yards, but that 70 might as well have been 140 or 180, because so much of it was so meaningful.
If we’re going to turn the season around, we have to go to Tampa Bay and win. It’s a two-for-one; you go to a division rival and get on a two-game winning streak.
Look, if this game had gone to overtime, and if the offense had to drive and get the win, it would not have been as good as having the defense stopping the Chargers and having Martez Wilson making a play! From a confidence standpoint, this is how we needed to win.
Photo by Chris Bennett
Photo by Chris Bennett