The better team

The San Diego Chargers are 0-3 against teams with ten-plus wins this year but that did not stop star running back LaDainian Tomlinson from setting the record, not literally, straight.

"I think those guys know we're a better football team than them," Tomlinson said.

The Chargers were better for 55 minutes but the outcome reflects a loss. What the Bolts established was a mindset that they can play in a hostile environment and it will come down to the fourth quarter.

Plays that defined the team a year ago crept into Sunday's loss but it is not the typical product the Chargers have put on the field in 2004.

Generally, the Chargers have come up with the big play when they needed it and LaDainian Tomlinson swore that play was coming on Sunday.

"I thought we were going to get a turnover or something," he said. "It didn't happen."

An overtime loss against a team they could face in the playoffs makes the Chargers believe they can win out if they play again.

A valuable lesson was learned on Sunday, game intensity must be sustained for a full sixty minutes, especially against an explosive offense such as the Colts employ.

Peyton Manning set the record for most touchdowns in a single-season in the win but that fact is forgotten already in San Diego. They are disappointed that they let one slip away, a game they had.

"It is no hidden fact that the Colts are a very potent team on offense," safety Jerry Wilson said. "They have a lot of weapons."

And it was the bevy of weapons that eventually led to the Chargers demise. In every game there are turning points and Sunday was no exception. Some will point to the kickoff coverage while others point to the sack that Brees took. What was clear, however, was the defense got too caught up in their ability to slow down the Colts offense in the red zone. The Chargers held them to one touchdown in six red zone attempts and that caused the team forgot to play defense everywhere else.

Resiliency is a fine attribute but when a team is able to move the ball as Indy was it is just a matter of time before they convert.

It turned out the Colts didn't need to get inside the twenty to stockpile points. The score that brought Indy within two was from 21 yards out and a two-point conversion tied it and eventually sent the game into overtime.

"It was a play I should have made," safety Terrence Kiel said of his coverage on the final touchdown. "I lined up inside of (Brandon Stokley) and he hit me with an outside move and then back in, and I lost my footing. They tied the game up, but we still had a chance to stop them on a two-point conversion and we didn't do it."

And when teams get inside the twenty, it is a good opportunity to kick field goals. The object of the game is to keep your opponent completely off the scoreboard while putting points on the board for yourself. Four field goals still equals 12 points.

The playoffs are less than two weeks away and the Bolts will need to shore up the defense between the twenties as defenses buckle down across the board.

In close games, a field goal will be the difference between a win and a loss.

"The kicking game should be as solid as the offense and defense," linebacker Steve Foley said. "That's where you win big games."

Lightning Quicks:

Tomlinson did concede one point regarding the Colts:

"Peyton is going to be the MVP this year."


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