Chargers draw on experience

That winning feeling is a year-to-year thing. Success in a prior season apparently doesn't translate into dividends in the next. But there is a familiar ring to the Chargers season.

They are playing like it's 2004 all over again.

"I think it's safe to say that we are starting to get the feeling that we had last year," running back LaDainian Tomlinson said.

The Chargers head for Washington, D.C., on Sunday to try and extend their winning streak to four against the Redskins. The Redskins are headed the opposite direction, having lost three of their past four.

The Chargers look at their recent past and smile. Last year they won eight straight and nine of their final 10 games to qualify for their first playoff berth since 1995.

And after stumbling from this year's gate and sitting at 2-3 after five weeks, the Chargers have got their groove back.

"It's a confidence level, that attitude that we can move the ball no matter if it's the pass game or the run game," said quarterback Drew Brees, who is coming off a sensational game in the win over the Bills. "We are going to move the ball and score points. That's our job and that's what we do and our attitude is that's just what we do."

The Chargers offense, which is averaging 30 points per game, has been cranking. It is ranked in the top 10 in virtually every critical category.

"That's something that is built up over time," said Brees, who has thrown 18 touchdown and eight interceptions. "It's not something where you just wake up and snap your fingers and it is there."

But escaping the D.C. with a victory is no slam dunk. The Redskins will be in a sour mood after losing to the Oakland Raiders last week.

And as well as Brees and Co. are playing, they know the Redskins defense is no pushover, particularly when egged on by some 90,000 Redskins fans.

"They are a solid defense and have been all year long," Brees said of the No. 10-ranked unit. "They have played well lately and it's a group that, especially with us on the road, thrives off that crowd.

"Plus, they are in a situation now, sitting at 5-5, that it's some what of a must win for them. And it's kind of a similar situation for us. So it should be a heck of a battle."

Added Tomlinson: "You want to play your best football down the stretch and I think we are playing our best football."

Lightning Quicks:

Tight end Antonio Gates is out of his protective boot and took part in a portion of practice, running routes individually. His status remains a gametime decision.

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