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Rivers looks at London game as make-or-break

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Oct 23, 2008.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

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    Source: <a href="http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5gMZoa2mgAU-NHTUFpEaefbjwCZlwD940CHOO0" target="_blank">Associated Press</a>

    By Chris Hourites

    <a href="http://ap.google.com/media/ALeqM5gJPEJW2vh9diHn_2RVntI9jIDmiw?size=m"><img class="alignright" title="San Diego Chargers Philip Rivers, 2nd right, speaks LaDainian Tomlinson, right, and Chris Chambers, left, during a training session in Bagshot, England, Thursday, Oct. 23, 2008. The San Diego Chargers will face the New Orleans Saints ia an NFL football game at Wembley Stadium, London, Sunday, Oct. 26. (AP Photo/Tom Hevezi)" src="http://ap.google.com/media/ALeqM5gJPEJW2vh9diHn_2RVntI9jIDmiw?size=m" alt="" width="315" height="210" /></a>

    BAGSHOT, England (AP) - For San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, this weekend's game against the New Orleans Saints is much bigger than just the halfway mark of the season.

    "I see it is a one-game season," the NFL's top-rated passer said Thursday at the team's training base outside London. "We have to get to .500 at the break."

    Both the Chargers and the Saints head into Sunday's game at Wembley Stadium with 3-4 records. San Diego was 4-3 at this point last year, but later won six straight to close out the season and reach the AFC championship game, where it lost to the New England Patriots 21-12.

    "The key for us is keeping the mind-set that we're going to improve and keeping our confidence, and then we need to get on a roll," Chargers coach Norv Turner said. "Obviously, you got to win one before you can put a string of wins together. But that's what we need to do is win a game."

    Many members of the team believe that roll needs to start in London, where the NFL is staging a regular-season game for the second straight season. The AFC West standings don't really portray such dire circumstances, however. The Chargers are in second place behind Denver (4-3), which has a bye this week.

    "You never know how a season is going to take form and how long you can say that when you keep trading wins and losses," Rivers said. "But we're right in the thick of it. That's not where we want to be, but we certainly want to have a chance. We have that chance."

    Running back LaDainian Tomlinson seems to be just where he wants. He skipped Wednesday's practice because of his injured toe, but participated Thursday.

    "The toe is not an issue anymore," said Tomlinson, who hasn't scored in the last three games. "I expect it to be as close to 100 percent as it's been since I hurt it."

    If he really is back to his best, Tomlinson is hoping to create some dazzling runs to keep the Saints from gaining any momentum.

    "Running the football on Sunday on someone is demoralizing and people just don't like to have the ball run on them," said Tomlinson, who last ran for more than 100 yards in a Sept. 28 win over Oakland. "You get beat up and it's embarrassing."

    But Drew Brees, possibly the best quarterback in the league with New England's Tom Brady injured, may have a little extra incentive to beat the Chargers. Besides facing his former team for the first time, Chargers linebacker and former college teammate Shaun Phillips said he was out to put a hit on his longtime friend.

    "Maybe I gave him a little locker room material," Phillips said. "I would never disrespect Drew, but my job is too hit him as much as possible and as hard as possible."

    Two players missed practice Thursday because of injury: wide receiver Buster Davis (groin) and cornerback Antonio Cromartie (hip). Wide receiver Chris Chambers (ankle) and linebacker Jyles Tucker (hamstring) did limited training for the second day in a row.

    But despite the travel and the struggle to acclimate to the time difference, Turner said Thursday's practice went according to plan.

    "Our guys each day have adjusted a little bit more - their bodies and their minds - to the time change, and we've had good energy," Turner said. "We've made good progress in terms of those things and now we've really gotten into our normal routine, normal schedule in terms of meetings and practice."

    Now they just need to get back into a winning mode, just like at the end of last season.

    "You can look at the division and say you are only one game out of first place and it kind of brings you back to last year again," Tomlinson said. "It's unfolding the same way it did last year and hopefully it ends up like it did last year where we go on a run and win seven or eight in a row."
     

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