Chargers not settling this season

A smart man once noted that it was easier to correct your mistakes after a win. How about five of them? The San Diego Chargers aren't settling - and it starts from the top with one of their leaders.

That man mentioned previously is Philip Rivers and It was back to basics for the quarterback this week.

The Chargers, winners of five straight, face Buffalo on Sunday hoping their first-year quarterback gets back on track. Rivers is coming off an uneven game, one in which he never did look right.

"I was all over the place in the pocket, just moving around too much and kind of just off balance," Rivers said.

Why? He wasn't quite sure. Maybe it was because left guard Kris Dielman was out with an ankle injury and his replacement, Scott Mruczkowski, was blown up by Warren Sapp early in the game and got Rivers.

Rivers was completed only 14 of 31 passes for 133 yards with an interception. He had a career-low 44.2 rating as a starter.

"The whole game I was rushing a bit," he said. "I was just off balance. You never want to do that in a game, but I'll be able to benefit from it."

What should benefit Rivers -- who still has an impressive 65 percent completion mark -- is the game's venue. For whatever reason, Rivers has especially done well on the road.

Rivers' rating of 102.2 in road games is among the reasons the Chargers are 4-2 on the road, with wins at Cincinnati and Denver.

Rivers' road rating is bettered only by Drew Brees (106.3), Tom Brady (106.2) and Tony Romo (106.1), with a minimum of 6.25 attempts per team game.

Rivers was not only missing Dielman last Sunday at home, but savvy wide receiver Keenan McCardell was down with a sore calf. Dielman probably will be a game-time decision, but McCardell has worked this week and should play.


After breaking three ribs in a victory over Green Bay on Nov. 5 and sitting out two games, running back Willis McGahee made a dramatic return to the lineup in last Sunday's victory over Jacksonville.

McGahee rushed 12 times for 63 yards, an average of 5.3 yards per carry, and scored on runs of 4 and 30 yards. It was McGahee's first multi-TD game since the final game of the 2004 season against Pittsburgh, and he tripled his season output.

But maybe more important were the points McGahee scored in the toughness column.

"It's something that won't heal until the season is over," McGahee said of his ribs. "My body is in shock therapy right now. I felt OK the next day after the game, but it kicked in (Tuesday)."

McGahee is practicing sparingly this week as the Bills (5-6) get set to host San Diego (9-2) and LaDainian Tomlinson, who leads the NFL in all-purpose yardage and touchdowns with 24.

A year ago, McGahee caused a stir when he declared himself the NFL's best running back. Tomlinson said he understood where McGahee was coming from.

"Any running back is supposed to think they're the best at what they do," Tomlinson said. "That's how we're built as athletes and competitors. So I definitely understand what Willis was saying. You have to think that way. He should think that way."

But he was impressed by Tomlinson's ability to find the end zone. Tomlinson is just five TDs from breaking Shaun Alexander's NFL single-season record of 28 set a year ago.

"He has over 21 touchdowns," McGahee said of Tomlinson. "That's hard to do in the NFL. I'm struggling to get five."

McGahee needs to average 112 yards per game over his final five games to top 1,200 yards for a second consecutive season. Tomlinson needs just 54 yards to hit that milestone for a sixth consecutive year. Only Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson has run for 1,200 yards six years in a row.

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