During their week of preparation for Sunday’s game in Houston, the Chargers did not hide the fact they had to win their last six games to even be close to the post-season conversation.
One down, five to go.
The Bolts bested the Texans 21-13, snapping Houston’s five-game winning streak at NRG Stadium. When you’re sitting on the brink of your season going over the cliff and absolutely have to win, you look for bits of motivation wherever you can find them. Getting a win in a place where W’s are hard to come by did the trick.
“I don’t want to get too in to bulletin board stuff but I like that this team is undefeated at home so let’s go change that,” said quarterback Philip Rivers, who threw three touchdown passes to three different receivers. “It was in my head kind of all week that we could stop the streak. It’s a good win. That’s a good team.”
That is the essence of Rivers as a competitor. Nobody wants to win as badly as he does and he’ll find reasons to beat the other team. What’s nice is the rest of the locker room seems to feel the same way.
In years past that was not necessarily the case but the group of guys Tom Telesco and Co. have assembled seems to have adopted a street fighter’s mentality: they might not win but they’re not going down easy.
“This was the first of six,” said tight end Hunter Henry, who caught Rivers’ third TD toss. “We kind of have our backs against the wall so we came out fighting and it was fun to see.”
“You ever been in a situation where you HAVE to win?” asked wide receiver Dontrelle Inman, who caught the first TD pass of the day. “Where your life depends on you winning? That’s the nature of our football team.”
True enough. The Chargers don’t seem to want to do anything the easy way. It’s the way they’ve done things for a while now: put yourself in the worst situation possible and fight valiantly to get out of it. The Bolts' two road wins have come against the leaders of the AFC South (Texans) and NFC South (Falcons).
The Bolts are basically breaking this down into six one-game seasons, trying to go 1-0 every week. That might help ease the thought of the Herculean task before them.
“We’re back to where we were just two weeks removed,” said Rivers. “We have a chance to get to 6-6. We wanted to be 5-5 after the Miami game, but we have a chance to go back to 6-6 and set the stage for what we do.”
What they have done in the past is go on late-season surges that end in the playoffs. They have the ability to do that again this year. What is interesting is the rest of the football world knows how dangerous the Chargers can be.
During NBC’s Sunday Night Football broadcast of the wildly entertaining Chiefs win over the Broncos the broadcast crew was talking about the extremely competitive AFC West when play-by-play announcer Mike Tirico said he thought, before it’s all said and done, Philip Rivers and the Chargers would have a say in the outcome.
Analyst Cris Collinsworth had a great response: “Who wants to play them right now? Nobody.”
The most dangerous animal is very often a wounded animal. The Chargers are a talented group fighting for their playoff lives. If the hole they dug was not too big they just might have a say in this thing after all.