What a difference a week makes.
San Diego notably held star-in-the-making David Johnson to just five yards on three carries while the three-headed backfield of Johnson, Chris Johnson and Andre Ellington combined for just 18 yards off 10 totes. Arizona never got on track, plowing for only 63 yards all night at a paltry 3.0 yards per rush.
"The biggest difference for us in the run defense is that everybody was doing their job," said Chargers linebacker Manti Te'o, per the team's official website. "Everyone trusted each other, and everybody made their play. And they didn't make it for themselves, they did it because they wanted to make it for their brother. When we stick together as a defense and we play like that, we're going to do well."
San Diego was embarrassed by big plays on the ground in the loss to Tennessee, allowing rushing touchdowns of 71 and 41 yards. Outside of Arizona's Kerwynn Williams ripping off an 18-yarder in the third-quarter, the Bolts didn't allow anyone to blast for more than eight yards at a time on Friday. At halftime, the Cardinals had just 17 yards on 12 attempts. You get the picture.
"(We) did a nice job and didn't give up a lot of big plays," said Chargers coach Mike McCoy. "There weren't as many big plays as last week ... This game is about an opportunity. From week to week in the preseason you get an opportunity and (you) play. So I'm happy."
Looking past the Tennessee implosion, the Chargers have reasons for optimism on defense. Making the Leap candidate Denzel Perryman is an old-school-style linebacker who specializes in silencing running backs, while fellow 'backer Melvin Ingram and end Corey Liuget round out an up-and-coming front seven.