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Chargers feel urgency of Monday's game

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Johnny Lightning, Oct 12, 2009.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006

    Bolts have made a habit of coming up big in big games at the Q

    By Kevin Acee
    Union-Tribune Staff Writer
    October 12, 2009

    SAN DIEGO – The Chargers have to beat the Denver Broncos on Monday.

    “We understand it,” tight end Antonio Gates said. “We're 2-2, and they're 5-0. It's a do-or-die game. We all know that.”
    Never since the NFL went to its current four-division format in 2002 has a team started 6-0 and not won its division.
    “They can really take charge of the division with this win,” tackle Marcus McNeill said. “We know what we face.”
    Given the fact that a Denver victory would drop the Chargers 3-½ games behind the AFC West leaders and the Broncos seemingly would have proved themselves for real (not to mention the Chargers perhaps having been exposed as something less), there isn't much more to say that could add to the importance of this game.
    “I don't know how you could have more urgency on this game,” head coach Norv Turner said.
    Win Monday, they've changed the tone of this season. Lose, they're relegated to NFL afterthoughts.
    “For us to go 3-½ games down,” safety Eric Weddle said before pausing and measuring his words. “It's just a hole you don't want to be in.”
    As much as the deficit, the significance would be what a loss would say about the different directions the teams are heading.
    The past two seasons, the Chargers have, while starting slow, been able to count on the Broncos not pulling away. And they've been able to count on beating the Broncos, having done so five of their past six meetings (the only loss came in the “Hochuli” game) and by a combined score of 123-44 the past three games at Qualcomm Stadium.
    Denver coming here and winning would put an exclamation point on the fact that the dynamics between the two teams have changed.
    While the Chargers are coming off a shellacking in Pittsburgh and have yet to put together a complete game, there is hope.
    If the Pittsburgh abomination two Sundays ago was cause for discouragement, there is some other recent history to give faith the Chargers can salvage their season on “Monday Night Football.”
    The Chargers have a penchant for winning games they have to, especially those played in prime time at Qualcomm Stadium.
    They won four of their five regular-season night games last year, a last-second November loss to Indianapolis being the only blemish (they later beat the Colts at night in a wild-card playoff game). The victories were all imperative.
    The Chargers were 0-2, and Denver was 3-0 when the Chargers faced the New York Jets on a Monday night last September. Chargers 48, Jets 29.
    Three weeks after that game, the Chargers were 2-3 with Denver at 4-2. The Chargers routed the Patriots 30-10 on Sunday night.
    The Chargers were 4-6, three games behind Denver, when they welcomed Oakland to town on a Thursday night and beat the Raiders 34-7.
    And on a game changed to a Sunday night because of its importance, with the winner headed to the playoffs, the Chargers pretty much used the Broncos as a chew toy in a 52-21 victory on Dec. 28.
    “Your back is up against the wall, we're going to come out swinging,” cornerback Quentin Jammer said.
    Why the Chargers can't do that every game (or even most games) is a question for another time.
    For now, there is urgency.
    Monday's game is even more crucial than last year's Jets and Patriots games, and it is more important, too, than the December game against Oakland. Only the immediate ending that finale against Denver brought makes that game of greater consequence than this Monday.
    A game in October meaning that much? Really?
    A team accustomed to peaking in December faces a game with monstrous implications two months early.
    “This is as big as we've had in October,” defensive end Luis Castillo acknowledged.
    A victory would give the Chargers confidence and put them back essentially in control of what happens. They would be 1-½ games back and have a game with Denver remaining.
    “This game is huge, and we're going about it that way,” Weddle said. “We know this could be and should be the difference in our season – for the good.”
    Players said Monday's practice illustrated the urgency they feel.
    “You can see the focus of how important this game is,” Gates said. “The way we went about our business today, we understand it would be hard to give a team like Denver a (big) lead like that.”

    Nuts 'n' Bolts

    •The Chargers have been working players in different rotations at safety and cornerback since the Pittsburgh game, but no changes to the starting lineup are anticipated. Said Turner: “There are some situations we have some options, we can look at some things.”
    •Defenders Jacques Cesaire (calf), Stephen Cooper (knee), Travis Johnson (groin), Shawne Merriman (groin) and Shaun Phillips (calf) remained sidelined during practice. All are expected back at practice later this week. The Chargers won't begin their regular practice schedule until Thursday since they have an extra day to prepare for the Monday night game.
    •Linebacker Antwan Applewhite returned to practice for the first time since injuring his hamstring in the season opener.
    •About 2,500 tickets remain to avoid the Denver games being blacked out on local television. The deadline for those tickets to be sold is 5:30 p.m. Friday.
  2. Ride The Lightning

    Ride The Lightning Join the Dark Side, we have cookies.

    Aug 15, 2006
    They better feel it like a size 13 steel toed work boot in their collective ***.
  3. Chargers-Superhero

    Chargers-Superhero Just win the Damn SB !!!

    Mar 10, 2007
    Lose this game, and the division title might as well be lost.

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