San Diego Head Coach Norv Turner cited turnovers and big plays as the fuel to Denver’s Week 6 comeback at Qualcomm Stadium. Those problems have continued to plague the Chargers since then. Accordingly, Turner’s team has fixed its gameplan to minimize turnovers and keep the Broncos from finding the open field.
“The big negative plays, the turnovers are killing us,” Turner said Tuesday in a conference call. “Our biggest thing is we need to go put four quarters together, play at a high level, take care of the ball and not give up. If a team’s going to make plays on you, make them earn it. Don’t give up easy plays. It’s a challenge for us coming into Denver.”
Turner said that even though the team often plays well throughout the majority of a game, a bad turnover at a bad time will ruin it. While quarterback Philip Rivers has been highly accurate in the last two weeks, completing 47-of-57 passes, a pair of late interceptions against Tampa Bay led to a loss.
As the Chargers look to keep Denver from hitting on a big play, wide receiver Trindon Holliday is a name that players in the San Diego locker room have become very familiar with.
Holliday enters Week 11 with special-teams touchdowns in consecutive games – one on a punt return, one on a kick return. The task of ending that streak isn’t one the Chargers are taking lightly, as they have a specific strategy in place for bottling up the speedy returner.
“He’s as fast as they come, and we have the utmost respect for him,” Weddle said in his conference call. “We’ve got to be on our game and make it tough for him, get guys around in his face, make him go lateral and have good angles. Leverage and angles will be the key to stopping him in the returning game, both when he gets it in the punt return game and kickoff return.”
To create some big plays of their own, expect Rivers to look for wide receiver Danario Alexander, who caught an 80-yard touchdown pass one minute into last week’s game. The 6-foot-5, third-year receiver has come back from a hamstring injury to provide a deep threat for Rivers, and it showed in Week 10 as Alexander racked up 134 yards on five catches – an average of 26.8 yards per catch.
“He’s just a great, talented receiver,” Weddle said. “He’s shown that the last couple of weeks. He breaks tackles, he’s extremely fast, he brings another dimension to our team that can make some plays when he has the ball in his hands.”
With the situation the Chargers are currently in — facing a two-game deficit in the AFC West — combined with the way the Broncos are currently playing, San Diego knows Sunday’s game in Denver is a challenge they must overcome.
“If we lose this game, we can throw out the division and we’ve just got to hope for a wild card,” Weddle said. “It’s a big game. Denver’s playing amazing right now. All three phases are playing well off of each other and it shows on the tape.”