Chargers will get the rest they need

The Chargers survived the final game of the regular season, but it didn't come without same anxious moments.

In cruising to the 27-20 win over the Cardinals, the Chargers won for the 10th straight time and secured the AFC's top seed. They are off this weekend, then welcome either the Chiefs, Patriots or Jets -- whichever of the lowest seeds prevail in the wild-card matchups -- on Jan. 12 or 13 at Qualcomm Stadium.

But in Sunday's win, quarterback Philip Rivers had his foot twisted in an odd manner on a sack and suffered a sprain. He hobbled around after that before giving way to Billy Volek toward the end of the third quarter.

Rivers, though, said he is fine.

"To me it's not the biggest news of the day and I know it's not," said Rivers, who didn't undergo an X-ray or take a pain-killing shot. "I know you all think it is but it's what we did (Sunday) and we accomplished this year."

The Chargers also swallowed hard when running back LaDainian Tomlinson came up with a hitch in his giddy-up. Tomlinson's leg was stepped on during a tackle and he left the game early, too.

"It's nothing," said Tomlinson, the first NFL rushing king in Chargers history. "It wasn't the reason I came out of the game. The Coach wanted to sit me down. Like I said, it isn't a big problem."

If either went down it would be a huge problem for the Chargers. But it appears both dodged getting bit by the injury bug at the most inopportune time.

Highest Marks:

The Chargers not only paced the NFL in scoring this year but they set a team record with 492 points.

"If anyone deserves credit, it's those guys up front," quarterback Philip Rivers said.

That includes rookie LT Marcus McNeill, who was among the biggest surprises this season for the Chargers.

"To go 14-2 in my first year, I feel blessed," McNeill said.

Action, At Last:

Backup QB Billy Volek saw his first action of the season, subbing for an injured Rivers.

"It felt great," said Volek, who arrived in a trade with the Titans on Sept. 19. "Just to get out there and play with the guys."

Rivers said he had confidence in Volek, a seven-year pro who completed one-of-two attempts for four yards. "Shoot," Rivers said, "Billy has played in a million games."

Volek took one snap to end the first quarter, then watched Rivers return. Volek returned on the Chargers' last series of the third quarter and closed out the win.

The Injury Front:

While it appears Rivers and running back LaDainian Tomlinson escaped injury, the same might not be true for DE Jacques Cesaire. The valuable backup exited on a cart in the first half and didn't return. Cesaire has been a plus subbing for Luis Castillo as he sat out the final two games with a sprained ankle. His status for the playoff game on Jan. 12 or 13 wasn't immediately known.


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