Chargers answer the call

In the past, when teams mounted a charge against the Chargers, the results weren't always pretty. But after the Bills quickly sliced a 17-0 deficit into a 17-14 deficit to start the third quarter Sunday, the Chargers didn't blink.

"It got us frustrated a little bit," guard Mike Goff said. "But the difference between this year's team and last year's team is we got over that frustration. We said, 'OK, what's done is done, and there is still a ton of football left, and we are still up.'"

The Chargers answered with their longest scoring drive of the season, holding the ball 8 minutes, 6 seconds on a series that didn't end until LaDainian Tomlinson found the end zone for the second time in the game.

The drive showed off the physical nature of the Chargers offense.

"We always think that in the course of a ballgame, for the offense, there's going to be a time when we have to put a drive together," Tomlinson said. "Sometimes, we have to be able to close it out, and that's what we always said. That eight-minute drive, I think, says something about this team, and it continues to say something about the way we played all year. It's absolutely what was needed at that time."

Center Nick Hardwick, who had a good day blocking, said that put a bow on the team's last regular-season road game not on the West Coast.

"That wrapped it up right there," Hardwick said. "That is what we needed to do, just pound it at them and wear them down."

It's an offensive badge the Chargers will carry into a journey they hope will go deep into the playoffs.

"That's who we are, and we know that," quarterback Philip Rivers said. "We just have to make sure we have it with a little more consistency as we hit this home stretch."

CB Quentin Jammer got his third interception in as many games, after collecting just one in each of the past two seasons. "I just keep grinding, man," Jammer said. "I'm just trying to do what everybody else is trying to do, and that is to go to the Pro Bowl."

Seattle RB Shaun Alexander's one-year-old NFL record of 28 touchdowns could be history soon. With two scores Sunday, RB LaDainian Tomlinson is just two shy of tying the mark. "The record, I don't really like to talk about it because who knows that's going to happen," Tomlinson said, politely. "I'm within two, but there's still four (games) to go, and anything can happen. Tomlinson's 178 rushing yards give him six consecutive games of surpassing 100. It was Tomlinson's second-highest total of the year. He abused S Ko Simpson on a 51-yard touchdown run. "We talk on the sideline, what do you do if you're a safety back there and it's one-on-one," QB Philip Rivers said. "You can't be right; LT is unbelievable."

TE Antonio Gates has been more productive of late. He had game highs in receptions (seven) and receiving yards (90) Sunday, and he added an 11-yard scoring catch. After catching two passes against the Browns on Nov. 5, Gates has had at least five receptions in each game since. Gates said people think he's having a down year because they put him up against wide receivers. "They compare me to playmakers," Gates said. "They say 'Chad Johnson's got 11 touchdown, you got six.' It's kind of cool that they take me out of that box and compare me to other playmakers in the league. I want to be known as one of the playmakers and not a tight end. I set my standards high."

K Nate Kaeding was true on a 42-yard field goal but later missed from 36 yards. Mike Scifres had a line-drive punt that was short and gave the Bills a short field to work with in getting their first touchdown. Scifres also booted his first touchback in 38 attempts. Needless to say, the Chargers weren't getting their kicks in the blustery conditions. "It's like punting into a wall," Scifres said. "When the wind is like that, it is crazy. For the kickers to get out of here without a big mistake is saying a lot." The wind was 11 mph at kickoff, but it swirled and often changed direction.

SD Super Chargers Top Stories