With so much emphasis on offense and defense, it is sometimes easy to overlook special teams. But from the moment he was hired, Head Coach Mike McCoy emphasized the need to excel in all three phases of the game. For the most part, the Bolts had a successful season on special teams.
Nick Novak posted arguably the greatest season for a kicker in Chargers history. He enjoyed a record-breaking year as he finished 2013 converting 34-of-37 field goals for a new team record .919 field goal percentage. Two of his three misses occurred on blocks, so he had only one true miss. Novak’s 34 tied John Carney’s single-season record set in 1994, and he finished the regular season a perfect 11-of-11 from beyond 40 yards. Novak was twice named the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week, earning the award following a Week 6 win over Indianapolis when he scored 13 of the teams 19 points and after a Week 15 win over the Raiders when he hit all four of his field goal attempts.
Meanwhile, Mike Scifres once again turned in a standout season for San Diego. He led the league in percentage of punts downed inside the 20-yard line with 30 of his 56 punts (53.6%) backing the opposition up. Scifres also went the first nine games of the season without a touchback.
The Bolts were fantastic at kickoff and punt coverage as well. Seyi Ajirotutu lead all with 12 tackles and one forced fumble, followed by Eric Weddle with 11 and Special Teams Captain Darrell Stuckey and Ladarius Green each recording 10.
For the first time in 11 seasons the Chargers blocked a field goal. Remarkably, they blocked two in one half against the Washington Redskins thanks to Lawrence Guy and Corey Liuget. It marked the first time since 1975 that the Chargers blocked two field goals in a single game.
The Bolts had numerous players return kickoffs during the season, primarily split between Danny Woodhead, Lavelle Hawkins and Ronnie Brown. Woodhead returned 12 kickoffs for 262 yards (21.8 average), while Hawkins took back eight for 186 (22.0) and Brown six for 113 (18.8). Keenan Allen and Eddie Royal split punt return duties with Allen returning 15 to average 8.3 yards per return and Royal fielding seven averaging 5.9.
Finally, after missing the back half of 2012 with a wrist injury, long snapper Mike Windt returned to appear in every game for the Bolts.