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Surging Bolts dismiss the hype

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Johnny Lightning, Nov 17, 2009.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006

    By Kevin Acee
    Tuesday, November 17, 2009

    SAN DIEGO — Now what?
    The Chargers have battled back from 3½ games down, their earlier-than-usual resurgence aided by the Denver Broncos' earlier-than-usual flameout.
    They responded impressively to being on the precipice of disaster.
    But now that this team, which in the past has struggled with believing its press, with getting ahead of itself, is back in its rightful spot, what will happen? Now that the talking heads will be hyping them up again, how will they respond?
    “Now it's even more of a challenge to have that same tunnel vision,” quarterback Philip Rivers said. “You start looking up and everyone is going to be talking about the Chargers — ‘They're right in the thick of the division’ — now we (could) start worrying about this and that and fall into that trap.”
    Rivers said he and others will make sure avoiding that snare is talked about in the coming days, as the Chargers prepare to travel to Denver for a first-place showdown Sunday in the AFC West.
    And while they've fooled people before, if what the principals are saying is to be believed, the Chargers already get that as quickly as they got to a first-place tie with the Broncos, it could all be a waste.
    “I don't want to say anything too fast,” linebacker Kevin Burnett said. “Right now we are a team starting to find ourselves. We're starting to play well together. Now, we have to play well all the time. You can't say anything having just won four in a row.”
    This is the sixth season in a row in which the Chargers have at some point won at least that many straight games. They've made the playoffs in four of the previous five.
    More than a third of the players on the current roster were here in 2005, when the Chargers improved from 3-4 to 8-4 with a five-game win streak only to lose three of their final four games and miss the playoffs.
    They can also see a lesson in the Broncos, who last year became the first team in the modern era (since 1970) to let a three-game lead go in the final four games. Now, the Broncos are in danger of becoming the first team in the modern era to have started a season with six victories and have a lead greater than three games and not win its division.
    “Just as easily as Denver started 6-0 and had a skid . . . ” defensive end Luis Castillo said. “We're on a nice little run. If you get complacent, it's really easy to go on a skid. We know we're a good football team, we know we have talented players. We also know that doesn't get you far.”
    Said Rivers: “This doesn't mean anything other than we're a 6-3 team that's made a lot of improvement. It doesn't put us in any category and doesn't make us anything other than that. But it does give us a lot of confidence. It has shown we've made a lot of improvement.”
    Rivers began talking after Sunday's victory over the Philadelphia Eagles about the redoubling of focus that needs to come now that the Chargers have aced the first two portions of this three-game midterm exam by beating the New York Giants and the Eagles on successive Sundays.
    He is also the one who led the agenda immediately following the loss to Denver on Oct. 19 that the Chargers simply needed to worry about themselves, to make each practice count, to hold each other accountable and that things would come around.
    As he walked from the field Sunday, he leaned as he passed a reporter, smiled and said, “It's a month later.”
    As Rivers made his way to the parking lot a short while later, he pulled up as he spoke.
    “I know people always say this is the best team since I've been here and that sort of thing,” he said. “I think that gets said too much. But I do think this is as focused and the best we've approached week to week since I've been here. It's really businesslike, from a player's standpoint, the best since I've been here.”
    As for the embattled head coach whose .610 winning percentage, counting the playoffs, is the best in Chargers history, Norv Turner was noticeably upbeat but generally just as in the moment as always when he addressed the media yesterday.
    As should have been expected from a man with as even a keel as has ever been bestowed on a human, there was no admission of vindication or anything more than an acknowledgment his team is morphing into what he thought it would.
    “I knew what we needed to do as a football team,” Turner said. “ . . . The important thing is to keep improving and win as you're doing that. . . . We've gotten ourselves playing the type of football we want to play, and we need to build on it.”

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