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Chargers must be razor-sharp to win at Gillette Stadium

Discussion in 'San Diego Chargers Hall of Champions' started by robdog, Oct 2, 2005.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 29, 2009
    Source: <a href="http://www.nctimes.com/articles/2005/10/02/sports/professional/chargers/23_08_4010_1_05.txt" target="_blank">North County Times</a>

    By Jay Paris

    FOXBORO, Mass. ---- Time to reverse the curse? Not the overwritten one the Boston Red Sox exorcised last October. This hex is what awaits visiting teams when they swing open the Gillette Stadium doors.

    It's the one the Chargers will try to stick pins in today when they face the New England Patriots, who have won 21- straight home games.

    Not since the New York Jets prevailed nearly 1,000 days ago has there been a bad day at the Patriots' home office.

    Among the reasons the Patriots clutch three of the past four Vince Lombardi trophies is their mastery in this Boston suburb. Since ditching Foxboro Stadium and moving into these fancy digs, the Patriots are 25-3 at Gillette.

    And today under sunny skies, the Patriots (2-1) will try to prove ---- again ---- that losing a standout player or two isn't cause for alarm. The team is missing injured ex-Chargers safety Rodney Harrison and left tackle Matt Light, and it just shrugs.

    "They've proved time and again it doesn't affect them," Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer said.

    The Chargers check in at 1-2, which is the same standing they found themselves after three games in 2004. Although the record is the same, things are different.

    "The biggest difference is our expectation level," linebacker Ben Leber said. "We were sitting at 1-2 last year, and, I think, a lot of guys didn't know what to expect. We didn't know what kind of team we had yet."

    True. If someone suggested the Chargers would win 11 of their next 13 games and the AFC West title, a man with a white jacket might have been summoned.

    And while it's crazy to predict the Chargers can go Bucky Dent on the Patriots and produce a surprise victory, it's not impossible. Just think what it would mean to a franchise to KO the world champs, just 19 regular-season games removed from a 4-12 mark.

    "Everybody likes to be the underdog at times," Leber said.

    Then the Chargers should be a happy lot. Imagine the party on their plane ride home if they pull off the upset.

    "It would be just one 'W', and we got a lot of season left. But it is going to speak volumes for the team, this organization," Leber added. "It would be a huge win for our confidence and a huge win for the city."

    And a huge push toward bigger and better things?

    "We have much more confidence than last year at this time; we've been through a lot more," quarterback Drew Brees said.

    "We've had success and felt what that was like. We felt what it was like to work for that and to achieve that. As a team, any situation we get into we feel we can win."

    In those 21 consecutive home victories, Patriots opponents have scored seven or fewer points seven times. And in five of the past seven, rivals have managed no more than a touchdown.

    At any site, the Patriots have won 58 of their past 72 games, including postseason. It's a run that started Oct. 14, 2001 with an overtime victory against the Chargers.

    The Patriots entered that contest with a 1-3 record and some quarterback named Tom Brady making his third NFL start against a Chargers team that was 3-1. After that conquest, the Patriots have seldom looked back. When the Chargers reflect and eye that 1-2 mark from last year, they know anything is possible.

    "This year at 1-2, our expectations are so much higher," said Leber, who must shine in containing Pats running back Corey Dillon. "We know the caliber of team we have, and we know we can be very, very competitive."

    Competitive is good. Winner is better.

    "The biggest difference from last year," Leber said, "is I never thought we would be 1-2 at this point."

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