Having won nine of their last ten, the Bolts have used grace, style and sweat. When the winning began it was a Brees. The offensive assault left behind a wake of eager onlookers – anticipating the next show. They weren't buying yet, but they were definitely intrigued.
The Chargers pulled off the coup de grace against their detractors with three straight wins over divisional opponents – but it was the way they won that turned the onlookers into buyers.
When they were beating teams by twenty, the look was businesslike but they turned sexy when the victories were coming down to the final play of the game.
And Sunday was no different. They pulled off a seven point win that was really a tie game until the clock struck fifty-five. It was during that minute that Donnie Edwards intercepted a pass and took it in for the score. Minutes later it was Steve Foley swatting the ball from Bucs' quarterback Brian Griese and Shaun Phillips pouncing.
"I wasted a good effort by our team," Griese offered.
Brian Griese said he didn't see Donnie Edwards on the ill-fated fourth quarter pass that was returned for a touchdown. He apparently didn't see Steve Foley coming one series later as he fumbled the ball away.
The plays, however, were just another step of the Chargers defense coming up big – a trend that is recurring.
It is not just the defense that is coming through. The offense is also playing well enough to win. They are not setting the world on fire as they had previously but the team concept is turning more heads.
"It may sound trite, or cliché, but it was a team victory," Chargers' coach Marty Schottenheimer said. "When one segment dropped down the other stood up and pulled the other up by the bootstraps."
The defense had to cover up three offensive turnovers, two by Drew Brees and a fumble by LaDainian Tomlinson. The defense decided it needed four turnovers and made it happen.
"Everybody contributed to the win," Tomlinson said. "The (offensive) line doesn't say much, but they play with honor and pride ... and it was the defense that really won this game for us. This is the ultimate team game and no one person is more important than others; it takes everyone to win games. Having the guys like Eric Parker that can simply make plays, takes some of the burden and the attention."
What opponents and critics (are there any left?) are finding out is the Bolts can show pizzazz, tone it down or grind.
"We've lost some sick, gut-wrenching games this season," Bucs' head coach Jon Gruden said. "This was another one."
"We found another way to win one," Schottenheimer countered. "That is the mark of a good football team."
At 10-3, the Chargers have gone from ugly to bad to good. They are approaching great.
Chargers show flair for the dramatic
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