Home is where the Chargers dominate

Several more teams can clinch a playoff berth this week but the San Diego Chargers are not among them are not among them. That keeps the pressure on them to perform even after a huge win against division opponent Denver.

This week they will play against Tampa Bay, a surging team that has a jolt of their own. The Chargers will entertain the Bucs at home before heading out for two on the road.

With the playoffs clearly in reach, no one wants to let up on the gas. San Diego has won six in a row and how they fare over the final four games could also determine their playoff success.

"This game is going to set us up for the playoff race," Drayton Florence said. "That is what we are trying to do, protect our home."

A win on Sunday would put the pressure on Denver to come up big down the stretch and put the Chargers closer to a playoff berth and possibly a home playoff game.

This season they are 5-1 at home with the only loss coming to the Jets in week two. They have won five straight home games since then and Qualcomm has become an increasingly hostile place for opposing teams to play in.

While certainly there are some bandwagon fans that have jumped aboard the Chargers express, they scream just as loud as the diehards who begin their tailgate at six in the morning.

And the players are taking notice.

"It's a huge game not only for ourselves, but our fans," offensive lineman Mike Goff said of Sunday's win over Denver. "They were tremendous. It was loud out there and that is a great feeling. This is becoming our house, and a tough place to play."

And home supremacy means making it to at least the second round of the playoffs more than a remote possibility. The only way to make it happen is to keep the accelerator floored.

"Come back and win the next one," Steve Foley says when asked how they can keep the momentum going with the team and its fans.

The excitement around town is at its highest since their Super Bowl season of 1994. Expectations are suddenly high for those adopting the blue and gold.

Word around town is reaching far and extending throughout North and East County. No San Diego player, sans David Binn, has seen anything like it before.

"Not since I've been here," cornerback Quentin Jammer said. "It's good for San Diego and its good for the team. The fans came out and showed their appreciation for what we've been doing and we know how to win football games now."

The Chargers had 65,395 on hand to see the battle with Denver and hope the numbers continue to rise. As of Wednesday night, there were just over 1,000 tickets remaining. For the game to be televised locally, the Chargers must sell the game out by 1:15 PM Thursday and according to a Chargers official they were optimistic.

Even with opposing fans in attendance, the roar of the home crowd has been able to drown them out. In year's past it was a tough estimation whether there were more Chargers fans or opposing team fans in attendance but this year the answer is much clearer.

The Chargers and their fans have displayed far more attitude and confidence and that is translating into Qualcomm becoming a tough venue for the opposition.


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