Turnovers tell the story for Chargers

SAN DIEGO -- Sudden change situations in the NFL are similar to points off turnovers in basketball. They help measure how an offense or a defense responds to a turnover, which sometimes will suddenly flip field position for the other team.

For the San Diego Chargers, mining those statistics provide some interesting results.

As a team, the Chargers are tied for 20th in the NFL in sudden change situations -- they’ve given up 48 points off of 16 turnovers, and scored 38 points off of 11 turnovers created by the defense.

Defensively, San Diego’s 48 points allowed off of the team’s 16 turnovers actually is not bad, ranking them No. 9 in the league.

San Diego’s defense has forced just 11 turnovers, which is No. 29 in the NFL. However, the Chargers’ offense hasn’t turned many of those opportunities into points, scoring 38 points in sudden change situations.

The bottom line is San Diego needs to do better on both sides of the ball in handling turnover situations.

“Overall, I understand the formula,” said Antonio Gates, responsible for two turnovers against Cincinnati last week. “Once you turn the ball over in this league, you don’t give yourself a chance. That’s something we’re all aware of, and hopefully this week we can go out and do a better job.”

The Chargers have a golden opportunity this weekend, facing a New York Giants team that has turned the ball over a league-high 31 times. However, the Giants have done a better job of late taking care of the ball. According to ESPN Giants beat reporter Dan Graziano, in their last six games, of which they have won five, the Giants have committed only eight turnovers and have forced 13.

“The No. 2 statistic in football besides points for and points against is turnovers,” Giants head coach Tom Coughlin said. “And turnovers reflect field position, lack of opportunity and opportunity for the other guy.”