"In our league we play 16," head coach Marty Schottenheimer was quick to remind.
The difference today is the Bolts must rely on others.
They had a chance to meet their destiny head on by winning and staying one game back of division leader Denver.
Instead they sit two back with three to play. And they must rely on someone else losing to make the playoffs. Had they won out, the Chargers were assured of a playoff spot. Now, even if they win all three, there is no assurance that they will be in the postseason when the final bell rings.
But Elvis is still in the building and the season long concerto is not over.
"There is no finality to today," said Schottenheimer. "This is the NFL. At the end, and not before then, we will take a look at where we are and see what happens."
The Chargers, facing Indianapolis this week with games against Kansas City and Denver to follow, would seem to be facing insurmountable odds.
The collective records of the three teams is 31-8. The Steelers, who own the sixth and final playoff position at 8-5, face a tough Minnesota club before coasting home with games against Cleveland and Detroit. The Jaguars, sitting at 9-4 in the fifth spot, face the 49ers, Texans and Titans – leaving little chance for the Bolts to overcome them.
The only other team that will have a say in the playoff picture is Kansas City – at 8-5. The Chargers travel there in two weeks but the Chiefs face the Giants first – in New York – and end the year against the Bengals.
Which boils down to Pittsburgh. The Steelers may lose one of their remaining three. If they do, the Chargers must be perfect of they will be sitting home for the playoffs because of their head-to-head loss earlier this year.
It isn't pretty. But, crazy things have happened in the final stages of the NFL season.
"It is almost like every game is a must win," said quarterback Drew Brees. "That pressure makes you really focus and gets you locked in at the task at hand."
It is more than almost at this stage. They face the 13-0 Colts on Sunday and HAVE to be the team that knocks them off their perch. A tall task.
"The last three mean a lot. We are in a situation where we just have to win," Brees corrected.
Otherwise the fat lady will have officially sung, Eminem may have never seen the stage, and the music will die down on the football field until next September.