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Chargers coming of age

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Oct 3, 2005.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

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    Source: <a href="http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=2179040" target="_blank">ESPN</a>

    By Michael Smith

    In the coming days people are going to be compelled to ask, "What's wrong with the Patriots?" Especially after Marty Schottenheimer says something like, "Is there a point in time when you can't find enough fingers to fill the dike? I think that's what may have finally happened." But as far as I'm concerned, the Chargers' 41-17 win says more about the kind of team they are than it does about who isn't playing for New England.

    The Patriots outlasted the Steelers in Pittsburgh last week while short-handed, remember? And they're going to beat a few more teams this year with these players. I've seen many a team enter Gillette Stadium with high expectations and heard them make excuses on the way out. To go into that place and not only end New England's 21-game home winning streak but do so in such convincing fashion is impressive, to say the least. Including playoffs, the Patriots hadn't lost in Foxborough in almost three years.

    The Patriots usually play their best in the second half. Time and again they've made clutch plays at the end of games. But the best way to keep Tom Brady and Adam Vinatieri from breaking your heart is to make them non-factors in the fourth quarter, which the Chargers did. It was 17-17 at halftime. San Diego outgained New England something like 4-to-1 in the second half and scored 24 unanswered points.

    Even Ron Burgundy, the fictional San Diego newscaster, would have to be impressed by how good the Chargers have looked in dominating the Giants and Patriots the past two weeks, topping 40 points each time. They have rebounded nicely from two close losses to begin the year. Beating New England and getting to .500 was especially big considering the Broncos also won Sunday and improved to 3-1.

    The Chargers, well they're quite the team on the move these days: From here they go home to face the Steelers, then travel up the coast to take on Oakland, then head back east for Philadelphia, return home for Kansas City, and, finally, hop another cross-country flight to play the Jets. (They get what will be a much-needed bye Nov. 13.)

    Looking back to when they were 0-2, the Chargers looked as if they might be in some trouble with that road ahead. But the way they're playing, they might come closer to sweeping this difficult stretch than merely surviving it.

    And speaking of surviving ...

    At the risk of redundancy, let me remind you yet again that in two of the Patriots' three championship seasons they did not get off to great starts. In 2001, they were 1-3 and trailed the Chargers by 10 late before Brady rallied them to victory. They were only 5-5 through 10 games that year. In '03, the Bills beat the Patriots 31-0 to open the season, and New England was 2-2 when it started its record streak. Of the Super Bowl years, only last season did the Patriots get out of the gates quickly.

    So you go right on ahead and write them off if you want. I'll admit it certainly is tempting right about now. But even with injuries to such key performers Kevin Faulk, Rodney Harrison and Matt Light, along with the players the champs lost during the offseason, I'm not ready to do so. You have to be strong up the middle, and after the tackles, New England's defense isn't. But I've seen this team recover too many times. They're like the Yankees.
     

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