The Chargers went 2-2 during that span. What does that tell us about this team? Absolutely nothing, say it again. In fact, you could argue that the two toughest games in that string, the visits east to play both defending conference champions, were not the monumental challenges we envisioned over the summer.
Rodney Harrison was injured the week before the New England game and the Eagles clearly aren't the same team with or without that bitch Terrell Owens. I'm happy to see that the Bolts have shrugged off any talk of Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Jacksonville having insanely easy schedules.
The big question coming into this year was how the Chargers would fare against the NFL's elite. We still don't know. Of their four losses, I would argue that the Pittsburgh game was the only one where the Bolts didn't piss the game away. Yes, they had the lead in the fourth quarter, but they were never really in control of the game. In the games against Dallas, Denver and Philadelphia the games should never have been in doubt at the end.
But that's in the past now.
The Chargers seem to mean it when they say that the only way to guarantee a return to the playoffs is to run the table. It's a lofty goal, but not an unreachable one. They should have that mindset. I honestly believe that we're a better team than Denver. In fact, is there any team in the AFC that the Chargers couldn't take? This is definitely a conference where any playoff team could get to the Super Bowl. But the Bolts need to get there first.
At the beginning of the season, I felt 10-6 would represent a successful 2005 campaign. I still think it would be, but it may not get us into the playoffs. Nobody wants to see that. The Chargers have no one but themselves to blame for their missed opportunities. However, I really think that it will be what happens from here on in that will ultimately decide their fate. If the Chargers have a strong finish (this was no small feat before last season) I don't think they will be forced to spend the off-season obsessing over September and October.
The Bolts know they need to tighten a lot of things up. The defense has played extremely well over the last three games. Drew Brees has promised to take care of the ball better than he did against the Jets. This team needs to really find itself against a lesser opponent on Sunday. The teams we are currently chasing have poured it on against inferior competition. The Chargers are 10-point favorites, but they haven't shown the ability to play up to expectations. That needs to change now. They can't let Buffalo hang around. They need put together the complete performance we expected during the last two games. Sure, the Bolts won. But the efforts against Kansas City and the Jets will not cut it if we want erase those autumn nightmares.
As I leave you, I hear the words of one Billy Squier blaring out of my speakers. I gotta admit, I do enjoy his stuff. "Lonely Is The Night," is not only a great example of great cheesy 80s rock, but offers us these pearls of wisdom for the last two months of the season:
You feel the time is right--(say) the writin's on the wall
It's a high time to fight when the walls are closin' in.
Lonely is the night when you hear the voices call
Are you ready for a fight--do you wanna take it all
Slowdown, showdown--waitin' on line
Get the dynamite...the boys are set to prowl,