One thing to boast about

The Arizona Cardinals aren't that good. Without their top receivers, the challenges just were not there. Repeating the mantra. The Cardinals aren't that good. Their current setup without receivers borders quite closely on stinking. So the San Diego Chargers trounced a bad team.

Face it. The Chargers did not just beat the world champs. They beat the Cardinals, a team that had the same record as the Bolts, scored fewer points and allowed more points in 2003.

Then they were without their top playmaker from a year ago and their newest threat.

Temper the enthusiasm. It's preseason and this was a moral victory. A game they should have won handedly. And they did. To say the team has turned a corner would be hearsay at this juncture. The team turned in a win – that's it.

The defense knew they would not be facing a team that had much and toned down their game from week one. It was the 2003 defense on the field with the pressure having to come from the line and the receivers playing more zone than man.

On the plus side, the Chargers fixed a number of errors from a week, heck, even a year ago.

They were better on third down – something they have never been good at. Making 45 percent of their third downs was a leap from any point over the last year. They held the opposition down to 33 percent on third down.

They forced two fumbles and returned one for a touchdown. A year ago the Super Bowl had more stripping than the Chargers defense.

Special teams was finally an area that the team won. It is one-third of the game and never before had it looked like the Chargers believed that. One day may have changed that.

Many say the call should not have been made. Many will point to it as a gaffe by the San Diego Chargers coaching staff. The radio shows are bound to talk about it – and likely in a negative light.

But the positives of running the fake field goal outweigh any possible "preseason" negatives.

The play still amazes to the next day. After brooding over it and racking the brain, there was no better call in the game.

‘But now other teams know we will do it!'

Does anyone remember having a field goal blocked last year or the year before?

"It will tell teams we are capable of doing things like that and maybe it will loosen up the edges and not bringing as much heat off the edges," punter Mike Scifres explained.

He has a point you know.

The facts are the Chargers were never capable of doing something of this magnitude with the elder statesmen running the show. There is new blood in town.

When did anyone ever look at the Chargers and think they weren't kicking?

"I didn't think they would call it because we just started practicing it," Scifres mused. "They told me that if the look was there to go ahead and call it. Sure enough we got the look we were hoping for.

"It was crazy. At first I thought I led him too much but actually it ended up working out perfectly fine."

Nate Kaeding was on the verge of an all-time low. Sure he would bounce back but the third round pick got a boost like no other when he ran in a touchdown. That is confidence in your kicker and holder and confidence restored to the fragile psyche of the player who will be bagging three points with regularity.

Did anyone see the onsides kick that the Colts pulled against the Jets? Another hell of a play.

Now is the time you can afford to test the merchandise. Maybe the Chargers don't pull the deed once this year. Maybe they kick everything. Next year they will know their bag of tricks is a little heavier.

Scifres even whispered, "I throw the ball pretty well too."

Denis Savage can be reached at

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