Tolbert a Terror in Chargers Defensive Win - NBC 7 San Diego

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Tolbert a Terror in Chargers Defensive Win

Defense forces 6 turnovers in win



    Black, padded headphones hung around Mike Tolbert's neck, his right arm hanging over the wooden edge of his locker, a small crowd of media there to hang on his every word.

    “The Hangman.”

    Maybe that nickname might stick if Tolbert wasn't a walking guillotine.

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    The Chargers hybrid fullback carried out a Reign of Terror at Qualcomm Stadium on Sunday, bludgeoning Jaguars backward like dominoes with his abusive running style in a largely defensive 38-13 win.

    “They have to go at my legs,” Tolbert said, “because I’m trying to decapitate anybody that’s out there.”

    Tolbert set career highs with 16 carries for 82 yards and two touchdowns in replacement of Ryan Mathews, who left the game in the second quarter with a right ankle sprain that didn’t look nearly as serious as the Chargers defense did.

    Cornerback Antoine Cason set the tone with two interceptions and a forced fumble in the first half, three of six Jaguars turnovers for the game.

    The highlight to the third-year cornerback’s day came on his first interception: an athletic, basket catch on a deep pass intended for speedster Tiquan Underwood. After struggling deep against the Saints in the third preseason game, Cason said he anticipated the route and was confident enough to bait quarterback David Garrard despite not having safety help over the top.

    He wasn’t as fearless on his second interception. Cason fielded a pass that floated up in the air after being tipped by linebacker Shaun Phillips.

    "I thought someone was going to come from somewhere and just knock my head off," Cason said.

    But Tolbert was on the sideline.

    The six forced turnovers were the most by a Chargers team since 2007. Brandon Siler and Kevin Burnett had an interception apiece for a linebacker core playing with captain Stephen Cooper (knee) inactive. Burnett and Antwan Applewhite also added a fumble recovery.

    The offense had 12 possessions in the game, enough for Philip Rivers to make up for two early interceptions. With ample time from his offensive line, Rivers finished an efficient 22-of-29 for 334 yards and three touchdowns. Antonio Gates scored two of them in the red zone, tying Shannon Sharpe for second most career touchdowns by a tight end with 62.

    “Every time you give Philip Rivers and a great coaching mind like Norv Turner the ball (that) many times, you’re asking to score a lot of points,” Burnett said. “We were fortunate enough to take the ball away today, and they put up the points. I think that’s what they call ‘everyone doing their job.’”

    Despite being carted off the field, which he called “embarrassing,” Mathews asked to be inserted back into the game and was able to jog and walk without a noticeable limp.

    Shawne Merriman (Achilles’) made his season debut and was on a limited snap count. He showed good explosion off the line of scrimmage and was able to pressure Garrard while registering three tackles without suffering any setbacks. 

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