Going into last week’s game against the Broncos, the Chargers thought their improved health on the defensive line would help them play against the run, and at least by the numbers, that appears to be the case.
Entering Monday’s game, the Chargers were allowing 151 rushing yards per game, and opponents were averaging 3.9 yards per carry. Denver gained 101 yards on the ground and averaged 3.1 yards per attempt. The Broncos had five runs on which they were stopped for no gain and eight more in which they were limited to two yards or less.
Having more healthy bodies available helped everyone up front perform better. Defensive tackle Ian Scott played 20 snaps in his 2009 debut, and Travis Johnson played 16 in his first action since Week 1.
"For the first time we were stout in terms of guys that are really good at their positions," Rivera said. "We got Ian back and he’s a bigger body who plays with better leverage. We got Travis back who gives us a 300-pound guy at the end rotation. Plus it helped to give the other guys more of a break."
After playing 64 snaps at Pittsburgh, defensive end Luis Castillo had his workload reduced to 42 against Denver and defensive end Jacques Cesaire went from 45 against the Steelers to 33 verses the Broncos.
"It was great to be able to go hard and know that you had somebody else coming in within three or four plays," Castillo said. "It lets you play with a better tempo out there because you are a lot fresher."