The Chargers have become identifiable by one word – team. In the face of adversity over the past two weeks, they have found ways to win as a team when a loss stared them in the face as it did Sunday in Kansas City.
"Well, everybody got their money's worth today," Chargers' coach Marty Schottenheimer said. "It was quite an exciting football game."
The two teams combined for 65 points on the day and put up 31 points combined in the fourth quarter. While it doesn't rival what Cincinnati and Cleveland were able to do, it was still a battle that saw the action sway to and fro.
When Dante Hall returned a kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown in front of his home crowd in Kansas City – the momentum shifted and the groan in San Diego could be heard.
"The beauty of our football team is that stuff, they understand it is what it is and you move forward," Schottenheimer added.
The wind had been taken out of their sails. But the team showed resolve and battled back with a score of its own – an 11-yard strike to Antonio Gates as an answer and a tie game.
But it was the drive that setup the score that proved the theory into more than mere concept.
A false start penalty on Roman Oben made it first and fifteen.
A three yard pass to Tomlinson.
Brees connects to Gates for a 51 yard gain – only to have it brought back on an illegal formation penalty.
The next play never gets started as Shane Olivea is called for a false start.
The Bolts were faced with a second down and 22 yards to go.
That is when the play happened. Brees hit Kassim Osgood on the sidelines and the second year receiver spun and broke the first tackle to get first down yardage. As he ran down the sidelines, another defender latched on and Osgood dragged him down the field with an eye on the end zone. Unfortunately, he was a little short, falling down on the 19 yard line after a 65-yard gain.
"He saw me open and I just tried to catch it and score a touchdown," Osgood said. "I tried to drag him in."
"Kassim Osgood made what, in my mind, is as fine a play as I've seen in my entire career in football – six years as a practicer and 28 years as a coach," said Schottenheimer. "Wade Phillips has a saying that he uses that there are certain things that are not in the playbook and that play he made was not in the playbook. He merely refused to be denied on the play. It was obviously the difference in the football game."
Four plays later the ball was in the end zone and the game tied.
It went beyond that.
And even though Nate Kaeding had two missed field goals in the first half, one from 29 yards out and another from 52, not to mention a kickoff that went out of bounds and a low kick that ended up being returned by Hall, the team and coaching staff continued to believe in their rookie and kept sending him onto the field.
"Everybody here has been real supportive of the process and it paid off today at the end," Kaeding said. "Coach talked about it, us being together being a great team, not one person bad mouthed me or put me down. They all knew that helping me out would be to encourage me."
The result was a game winner and the division lead thanks to a win by Oakland.
"That is what Coach Schottenheimer talked about in the beginning of the year, ‘team'," said safety Terrence Kiel. "And he kept preaches to us ‘team'."
In San Diego, they believe. From the playground to the locker room to the field and everywhere in between, the Chargers are a team of destiny. They are the story – not one player, not one unit – the entire team.
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SD Super Chargers09/01/2016