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After jolting Colts, Bolts' playoff picture still fuzzy

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Dec 19, 2005.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

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    Source: Associated Press

    By Bernie Wilson

    SAN DIEGO – The Chargers returned to reality a day after their history-altering win against the Indianapolis Colts.

    They're still on the outside looking in at the postseason picture, and they have only themselves to blame.

    The Chargers ended Indianapolis' quest for an unbeaten season with a 26-17 win at the RCA Dome on Sunday, a significant victory in that they did something the Colts' first 13 opponents didn't.

    While triggering a celebration among the 1972 Miami Dolphins – the only NFL team to go undefeated – the victory merely maintained the status quo for the Chargers.

    In order to make consecutive playoff appearances for the first time in a decade, the Chargers (9-5) must win at Kansas City on Saturday and then beat AFC West-leading Denver at home on Dec. 31, and have either Pittsburgh or Jacksonville lose at least one game.

    "We believed we were going to go there and win, keep our playoff hopes alive," quarterback Drew Brees said Monday. "Of course, everybody's talking about the streak being broken and everything else. But really, for us, that was just another team in our path and another game we had to win in order to go on and achieve the goals we set at the beginning of the year."

    But Brees, who had three turnovers against the Colts, admitted the victory was tempered due to the Chargers' shaky postseason picture.

    "Yeah, that's why it was more of a, 'Hey, let's go there and take care of business, to kind of keep ourselves in a position to where our playoff hopes are still alive.' "

    A year ago, these same teams were 11-3 and had clinched their respective division titles when they met in Indy, with the Colts winning 34-31 in overtime.

    This year, the Colts had already clinched home-field advantage for the AFC playoffs, "and we're kind of fighting for our lives," Brees said.

    The Chargers are in that position in large part because they lost the previous week at home to Gus Frerotte and the Miami Dolphins, when their defense showed none of the ferocity it did in sacking Peyton Manning four times and intercepting him twice.

    But that wasn't San Diego's only damaging defeat. The Chargers also had home losses to Dallas and Pittsburgh, not to mention a loss at Philadelphia when they had a field goal blocked and returned for a touchdown in the closing minutes, and one at Denver when they blew a 14-3 halftime lead.

    "We can kick ourselves all we want for the five losses we've had, but it's not going to do us any good except probably make us mad," Brees said. "So, we've pushed that aside a long time ago.

    "We understand that if we take care of our business against Kansas City and then Denver, that things will work out. Somehow, some way they will work out. I still feel like we control our own destiny, just in the fact that if we just care about ourselves, let other teams beat up on one another, things will work out for us."

    That's still asking a lot. Jacksonville is 10-4, with its last two games at Houston and at home against Tennessee, teams with a combined 6-22 record. Pittsburgh is tied with San Diego at 9-5, but beat the Chargers 24-22 on Oct. 10. The Steelers finish at Cleveland and at home against Detroit, teams that are a combined 9-19.

    The Chargers have won three straight against Kansas City, including 28-20 earlier this year and 34-31 at Kansas City on Nov. 28, 2004, after losing their previous seven games at Arrowhead Stadium.

    For what it's worth, the Chiefs have won 17 consecutive home games in December dating to 1997, when Marty Schottenheimer was their coach.

    "I think it's the fans. The place is crazy," said Schottenheimer, who's in his fourth season as the Chargers' coach. "It's a good crazy, if you're Kansas City."

    Said Brees: "I feel like we had a lot of confidence in going there and playing. Obviously we understand that it's a tough environment and the Chiefs play very, very well at home."

    LaDainian Tomlinson aggravated a rib injury Sunday, finishing with 76 yards on 24 carries, with no touchdowns for the third straight game. Schottenheimer expects him to practice this week.

    Tomlinson's backup, Michael Turner, sealed the win at Indy with an 83-yard touchdown run with 2:09 left.
     

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