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THE NFL / 1996

Chargers Bother Colts Just Enough, 26-19

AFC: San Diego forces Harbaugh to throw four interceptions and turns them into a victory.

November 04, 1996|From Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS — Junior Seau and the San Diego Chargers went right at Jim Harbaugh, harassing him into his worst game with the Indianapolis Colts.

The Chargers intercepted four of Harbaugh's passes, sacked him six times and forced a fumble in a 26-19 victory over the slumping Colts on Sunday.

"That was one of the keys coming in, and our defense definitely showed up," said Seau, who had two sacks and forced the fumble that set up a touchdown.

It was their first meeting since the Colts (5-4) eliminated the Chargers in the AFC wild-card playoff game last season.

"This has nothing to do with revenge," Seau said. "We're both trying to get into the postseason and we've had disappointments along the way. It worked out well."

The Colts trailed, 16-6, at the half but closed to 19-12 with Cary Blanchard's fourth field goal late in the third quarter. But Seau sacked Harbaugh twice on the next series and forced the fumble that the Chargers (5-4) recovered at the Indianapolis 42.

Sean Salisbury then completed three consecutive passes, including the game-clinching 22-yarder to Tony Martin for the touchdown.

"Any time you can get a good Colts team--and Jim Harbaugh doesn't turn it over very much--to make turnovers like that, you have a chance," said Salisbury, starting for injured Stan Humphries. "We played efficient on offense, and we didn't have any turnovers."

Harbaugh, intercepted only twice all season and five times in 1995, saw the Colts lose for the fourth time in five games after a 4-0 start.

"I'm searching for an excuse and I can't come up with one. I wish I had one. It was just sloppy play on my part," Harbaugh said. "For everybody, it was extremely frustrating. For me, even more so because I didn't take care of the football. I was sloppy with the ball. I'm as shocked as anyone in the locker room about the turnovers."

Four of Indianapolis' turnovers led to 20 San Diego points, including touchdown passes by Salisbury of 41 yards to Charlie Jones in the first quarter and the 22-yarder to Martin in the fourth.

John Carney added four field goals as the Chargers snapped a three-game losing streak.

'Our intention was to come in here and put pressure on the quarterback in hopes that he would make a mistake," said Charger cornerback Terrance Shaw. "Fortunately for us, it resulted in four interceptions."

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