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Bolts believe they’re peaking at perfect time

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Johnny Lightning, Dec 27, 2008.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006
    Friday, Dec 26, 2008
    By Casey Pearce, Chargers.com

    Moments after the Chargers had just completed what players and coaches called the team’s most complete game, a 41-24 win over Tampa Bay last Sunday, defensive end Luis Castillo sat in his locker and recalled a message Norv Turner delivered shortly after becoming the team’s head coach last February.

    “Going back two years, that was Norv’s message the first day here – ‘Let’s get better, day in, day out, fix our mistakes,’” defensive end Luis Castillo said. “He said, ‘We’re going to learn to become the most complete team when it matters most.’ We want to be the best team late in the year, in December and January. That’s been the focus. Guys have continued to go hard. Nobody’s quit. Nobody’s given up. Tough times, bad games, nobody’s given up.”

    Castillo and his teammates have certainly taken that message to heart. They’re now 8-0 in December under Turner and are pursuing a 14th-consecutive December victory. Last year, a six-game win streak to close the season gave the Bolts a second-consecutive AFC West title. Now they’re hoping a perfect 4-for-4 in December will give them a third.

    “We’ve talked a lot about playing our best football at the end of December into January,” running back LaDainian Tomlinson said. “It seems like we’re doing that. Now we have to go finish it Sunday.”

    During the Chargers’ current three-game winning streak, they’re averaging 32.3 points per game, nearly a touchdown better than their 25.8 average for the entire season. They’re plus-4 in turnovers, having forced eight in the last three weeks, and the Bolts are also getting it done in the kicking game. The return units have helped Darren Sproles average 31 yards per return on kickoffs.

    “We finally put together a whole game on special teams, offense and defense,” linebacker Stephen Cooper said. “Last week, we put up 41 points. We prevented them from scoring and we did a good job on special teams. If we can carry that over, I think we will be successful.”

    On Friday, Turner was asked how much his team’s postseason experience would help them as they enter what’s essentially a Week 17 playoff game Sunday against Denver. Turner felt more pleased with the renewed sense of energy in his team’s locker room following three weeks in which they’ve accomplished some impressive things.

    “None of that matters if you’re not playing good,” Turner said. “The most important thing is I think we’ve got some of our confidence back. We probably played the best we have last week in Tampa. That helps probably more than past experiences. We need that to carry over.”

    Injury update

    Wide receiver Malcom Floyd (collapsed lung) was limited in Friday’s practice and linebacker Brandon Siler (foot) wasn’t on the field. Both players are listed as doubtful, while linebacker Anthony Waters (hamstring) and defensive tackle Jamal Williams (foot) are probable.

    Denver listed 16 players on their injury report, all of which are probable. That lists includes left tackle Ryan Clady, whose status was up in the air for Buffalo last week and didn’t practice early this week.

    Feeling good

    Barring a 36-carry night Sunday against Denver, Tomlinson will finish with the lowest number of rushes he’s had in a single season during his career. He currently has 278, which puts him on pace to fall behind his previous low of 313 in 2003.

    One benefit to that statistic is a fresh LT as the regular season comes to a close.

    “I’m not worn down at all to be honest with you,” Tomlinson said. “I don’t know where my carries are but last week I felt good. This week I feel good. I think by me feeling good right now at this time of the season, it’s perfect, especially if we win this game and get into the playoffs.”

    Tomlinson enters Sunday’s game with eight rushing touchdowns. If he scores twice against the Broncos, he’ll continue his streak of double-digit seasons. He’s scored at least 10 rushing touchdowns in each of his first seven seasons.

    Quick hits

    -A win Sunday would make the Chargers the first 8-8 team since the 1985 Cleveland Browns to win a division.

    -A victory would also make the Bolts the first team in NFL history to reach the postseason after starting 4-8.

    -Both quarterbacks are pursuing franchise records Sunday night. Philip Rivers needs two touchdown passes to break Dan Fouts’ single season record of 33 set in 1981. Jay Cutler needs three to tie Jake Plummer and John Elway (27) for the most in Broncos history for a single season.

    -Primetime has been kind to the Chargers of late. The Bolts are 11-3 in national night games from 2005-08, including 5-2 under Norv Turner. They’re 3-1 under the lights this season.

    -Mike Scifres aims to set a franchise record for net punting average in a season. He’s currently 2nd in NFL with 40.9 net average. The Chargers record is 40.6 by Dennis Partee in 1971.

    HEXEDBOLT Don't like it, lump it!!!

    Jul 11, 2006
    It's important to "peak" at the right time, just ask any woman. :lol::icon_tease:

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