Chargers must get it done right at home

The Chargers learned the importance of winning at home the hard way. In 2004, they went 7-1 at home and won the AFC West Championship....

Last season, they went 4-4 at home and narrowly missed earning a spot in the postseason. This year, the Chargers are determined to take advantage of playing at home.

So far so good, as the team is 2-0 at home. The Chargers beat the Titans by 33 points in week two and fended off a desperate effort by the defending Super Bowl champions for a hard-fought win in week four. This week, the 4-2 Rams come to town, fresh off their bye and hoping to hand the Chargers their first home loss of the season.

"What you try and accomplish when you play at home is establish that home-field advantage," LaDainian Tomlinson said. "We are getting to the point where we are getting it done."

The Chargers found out last weekend just how powerful an asset home-field advantage can be. Playing in a hostile environment at Arrowhead Stadium, they fell behind by 14 points before ultimately losing to the same Chiefs team that was defeated by 38 points the week prior.

It should be noted, however, that Qualcomm Stadium is one of the league's least intimidating venues. Maybe that is because San Diego - America's finest city - is an inviting place for opposing fans to come visit. Or maybe it's because the Chargers don't have a long history of success, thereby tempering the enthusiasm of their own supporters.

Whatever the reason, the Chargers need to change the culture around their home stadium. That starts on Sunday.

Said coach Marty Schottenheimer of home-field advantage: "It is very important in this league. The teams that have real success in this game are many times a product of winning at home."

So far this season, the Chargers have played twice as many games on the road as they have at home. With back-to-back home games on deck, they can ill afford to drop either game, not after blowing two very winnable contests already this season. Should they manage to win these next two games, they will reach the season's midpoint with a very respectable record.

"Having two at home to get us 6-2 at the halfway point would put us in a good position," Philip Rivers said.

The Chargers have a chance to make a statement over the next two weeks. They need to win and win impressively to let it be known that San Diego is a difficult place to play. Only then can the Chargers fully capitalize on their home-field advantage.


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