Chargers, Not Vikings, the Offensive Powerhouse

Maybe it was the planes that flew overhead before the game. Maybe it was honoring Louie Kelcher at halftime, or maybe it was just Doug Flutie, the savior of football in San Diego. Any way you look at it, "It was good to be home," as Marty Schottenheimer said. The Chargers had their most complete offensive performance of the year on Sunday in a 42-28 victory over Minnesota. This is what fans envisioned during the offseason when David Boston and Lorenzo Neal were signed.

"You get a little bit of momentum, you get a little bit of a positive feeling and then you continue to stay the course," said Marty Schottenheimer.

Four straight possessions in the first half resulted in four touchdowns. Who wouldn't pay to be a fly on the wall during that pep rally in the locker room at halftime? The giddiness had to be at an all time high after a dominating offensive performance. It all started at the helm with Doug Flutie.

"I thought he played very well, and I thought a lot of people around him played very well, too," said Schottenheimer. "He was extremely accurate and the ball came out quick and he was very decisive in his reads. Clearly, it was a very impressive performance by our quarterback. There is no doubt about that."

"I believe in magic, Flutie magic," said LaDainian Tomlinson. "He played awesome. Doug Flutie, he's just amazing. He's unbelievable."

Flutie went 21-29 with two throwing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns on the day. Rarely did he miss his mark and he led receivers in such a way that they could gain valuable yards after the catch.

"I told these guys the other night…my job is to get the ball out of my hands and into your hands," said Flutie. "We have a lot talented skill position guys. If we get the ball in their hands enough, they are going to make plays. When people believe we are going to make a play or believe things are going well, they are going to play loose, relaxed and with confidence. You would have to ask them how that occurs. I don't know. I just try to play football."

David Boston was involved early on and was a factor all day. Tim Dwight saw his number called a few times and he responded. Antonio Gates was running rampant over the middle of the field putting up his hands as the ball was laid in on a platter. Everyone was in on the action, and they all had to be pleased by their new starting quarterback.

"It was fun. I had a blast," said Flutie. "It was an emotionally draining day. It might have been the longest game I think I've ever had to play. I felt like we did so many things early. That first half seemed to last forever."

They did do a lot in the first half. They ran 34 plays, and almost every one was a success. They were three for three inside the red zone by halftime and LaDainian Tomlinson had seven rushes for 83 yards. Flutie had three of his four touchdowns and the team had the lead, 28-14.

So where does that leave us with Denver on the horizon?

"Drew Brees earned the job as a starter a year ago and he continued to be our starter," Schottenheimer said. "I am not going to get involved with playing musical chairs at quarterback. It destroys your team. And I won't do it.

"I was with the New England Patriots in 1970, and we had a starting quarterback and he had a bad game or two and brought Joe Kapp in. Right, wrong, or indifferent, they put him in the lineup and split the football team right down the middle."

There is no doubt anymore. If there was dissention in the locker room, it was just put to rest. Imagine Brees going back in after the performance you just saw Sunday. It has been put to rest.

"It is not a controversy," Schottenheimer added.

It isn't. He is right. Doug has proved it. He has now earned the job. There is no such thing as development in the NFL. As much as we all may want to know if Brees is the future, wins is what matters. Everyone feels better today. You feel better because of the win. Another loss and the questions regarding your own affiliation to the team pop up, and that is scary territory.

"Because Doug started and played well this week, he is probably going to be the starter next week," Schottenheimer said. "But we don't need to go beyond that. We may in fact commit to Doug, but not today."

Let is settle in for a day. When the euphoria passes, he will be left with the same choice as last week. Who gives us the best chance to win? The answer is clear. Pixie dust is still left in Doug Flutie's back pocket.

Denis Savage can be reached at

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