Painting a sweet playoff picture

As Shaun Phillips offered congratulations to his coach, the douse of Gatorade came in.

"You set me up," Marty Schottenheimer smiled, pointing at Phillips.

Not that he minds.

The win over Arizona gave him 200 regular season victories, just the fifth coach in NFL history to win 200, joining a fraternity that includes Don Shula (328), George Halas (318), Tom Landry (250) and Curly Lambeau (226). The win is his 47th with the Chargers, tying him with Bobby Ross for the third-most in team history behind Sid Gillman (86) and Don Coryell (69).

"Two hundred wins are great," defensive lineman Igor Olshansky said. "We got him after the game with Gatorade. I am sure it is a big accomplishment for him.""

Schottenheimer has earned his 47 regular season wins with the Chargers in five seasons. The franchise won only a total of 23 games in the five seasons before he came to San Diego (1997-2001).

"We want to be number one in the division, have homefield throughout the playoffs, and control our own destiny," safety Marlon McCree said in mid-November. Mission accomplished.

The Chargers are winners of ten straight, are 8-0 at home for the first time in club history, and set a new team mark with 14 wins. Schottenheimer had never led a team to 14 wins and the ten straight are a career record for the general. His teams won 13 games twice in Kansas City, including 1995 and again in 1997.

Things are looking good for the Bolts – with a first round bye on the horizon and homefield advantage throughout the playoffs.

"It is good to know you took care of your business and other teams didn't take care of their business," running back LaDainian Tomlinson said. "You can't worry about what the other team is doing. It is ultimately about us."

Only two previous Chargers teams (1979 and '80) have begun the playoffs as the top seed. They will host a divisional playoff game the weekend of January 13-14.

That means rest for Philip Rivers and LaDainian Tomlinson, both of whom were banged up during the game with Rivers ankle clearly causing him discomfort through the game.

Fourteen wins – a new team record – but the postseason is the shot they desire. This is where it counts.

The Chargers are 8-0 at Qualcomm Stadium, setting a new team record. The previous record of seven was set in 1963 when the team went 7-0 at Balboa Stadium.

And the only bags they will pack happens when/if they are heading to Miami for the Super Bowl.

"We are going to continue to work towards our goal," a rarely smiling Schottenheimer said.

"I have never been to the playoffs and I heard the game check isn't so bad," said linebacker Shawne Merriman. "We are focused on the goal and getting team by team out of the way."

Merriman notched the Chargers first and only sack of the game in the third quarter, taking down Kurt Warner for his 17th sack of the season, falling a half sack shy of the team record, despite missing four games to suspension.

Merriman also batted down a pass late in the fourth quarter to prevent a touchdown.

The Bolts defense racked up an NFL-leading 61 sacks this year, second-most in team history and one shy of the team record of 62 set in 1986. The squad had collected six sacks in their two previous games coming into Sunday.

"The reason we are able to get pressure is because the coverage is so good," defensive end Igor Olshansky said.

And that defense will be counted on heavily when the playoffs arrive. Pressure has led to those high sack totals and allowing 356 yards through the air, as they did on Sunday, won't get it done.

"We understand the big picture but focus one game at a time," said Gates.

The big picture starts at home in two weeks.

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