Chargers stretch run depends on unity

The Chargers haven't been healthy much this season but are still finding ways to win. It isn't just the individual accomplishments of a LaDainian Tomlinson or Shaun Phillips - the team is playing well as a whole.

Now isn't the time to collect atta-boys.

"You can't get complacent until everything is set in place," Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson said. "It's hard to get complacent when you still got four games to play."

Tomlinson continues his trek to the rookie book and the Chargers their drive for the playoffs when they entertain the Broncos on Sunday. Four games remain in the regular season, and San Diego plays three of them at home.

"We're in the fourth quarter now," Tomlinson said. "We are just starting the fourth quarter. We have played three quarters so far, and this team has a tendency of finishing games, so hopefully we can finish this fourth quarter."

Tomlinson needs two touchdowns to tie Shaun Alexander's single-season NFL record at 28. And the Chargers with a win can clinch their second playoff berth since 1995.

But Tomlinson, and the Chargers, aren't there yet. That's why Tomlinson isn't doing cartwheels.

"After the season is usually the time you get a chance to reflect," said Tomlinson, who is 20 points shy of Paul Hornung's single-season record of 176. "During the season is not the time to reflect on what you have done, and I don't want to start patting myself on the back or my teammates on the back because we still have unfinished business."

The Broncos tried to rattle the Chargers' high-powered offense last month with blitzes and stunts, but San Diego rallied for a 35-27 win. This time? One only knows, as the Broncos are desperate to snap a three-game losing streak and stay in the AFC wild-card hunt.

"I think the first time they tried to put pressure on us and thought that would be the key to stopping our offense," said Tomlinson, who scored four touchdowns in the win over Denver. "Who knows what they are going to do? Treat us like the Colts and try to stay back and cover? I don't know what to expect from them, but whatever it is, we have to be ready for it."


Broncos linebacker Al Wilson said he isn't worried about playing again. Wilson was involved in a scary scene Sunday night when he was strapped to a stretcher and taken to a hospital after spraining his neck.

Wilson returned to practice Wednesday after tingling in his shoulders and triceps went away.

"I put my life on the line every time I step out there," Wilson said. "This is what I live for, to play football. If something happens to me on the football field, just know that I feel good about it, and I'm doing what I love to do."

Wilson said the neck injury he suffered against Seattle on Sunday wasn't as bad as it looked. He said he didn't want to be carted off the field, but the doctors were cautious with him because he lost feeling in his arms.

"I can't say what was truly going through my mind, but it was a few bad words for the doctors," Wilson said about being carted off the field. "I told them they didn't have to do that. They could have let me get up and walk off the field."

Wilson took most of the snaps in practice Wednesday and Thursday, and Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said he should be ready for Sunday's game against the Chargers.

"Unless there's a setback, he'll play," Shanahan said.

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