Bolts Chomping at the Bit

It's the rinse-and-spit game looming for the Chargers. Still eager to chase that bad taste from their mouths, the Chargers travel to New England Sunday for a date they have long looked forward to.

"We got some unfinished business," guard Kris Dielman said.

The Chargers are still stinging from last January's home playoff loss to the Patriots, which derailed a team which had compiled an NFL-best 14-2 mark.

"It's going to be great," inside linebacker Matt Wilhelm said of the New England visit.

"We're being tested very, very hard these first two weeks. We're 1-0 and can put a check mark against the Chicago Bears. And now there is a whole lot on the line against what a lot of people are saying is the best team in the AFC, besides ourselves.

"Obviously they left a sour taste in our mouths last year in the playoffs so there is a lot of motivation after that loss."

The Chargers aren't easing into a season which has such high expectations. They disposed of the Bears in the opener, face New England Patriots on Sunday and then travel to play the improving Green Bay Packers on Sept. 23.

The last time the Chargers went to New England, they snapped the Patriots' 21-game winning streak with a 41-17 pasting.

"We're excited to get back out there, no doubt," Pro Bowl center Nick Hardwick said. "We want to see what they got this year. Junior (Seau) is back in there, they got a different linebacker in Adalius Thomas and Randy Moss. Let's see what they got."

Defensive tackle Jamal Williams said it's a big outing, but that they all are.

"That's our next time we play but every week is a statement game," Williams said.

"You don't worry too much about what happened in the past. You got to look at what is happening right now. We got a new coach, a new team."

That new coach, Norv Turner, will try to get his star running back, LaDainian Tomlinson, going early. Tomlinson was restricted to 25 yards rushing by a tenacious Bears defense.

Tomlinson often fares well against the Patriots, with three of his career 100-yard rushing games (including the playoffs) coming against New England. Among that trio is a 217-yard effort.

But among the franchise's most disappointing defeats was the 24-21 verdict in last season's divisional playoff game. It was an outing in which the team and coaching staff made numerous mental mistakes, something Tomlinson hopes the team has learned from.

Lightning Quicks

--ILB Stephen Cooper had a team-high nine tackles, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in the opener. Cooper took over when the team decided not to invite Randall Godfrey back this season.

--ILB Matt Wilhelm, who replaced ex-Charger Donnie Edwards in the lineup, added eight tackles and fumble recovery in his first NFL start.

--OLB Shaun Phillips recorded his first sack on the game's second play. Phillips had 11.5 sacks last year.

--Rookie WR Craig Davis was inserted into the starting lineup over Malcom Floyd for the opener. Davis had two catches for 15 yards. Davis also fielded one punt with Darren Sproles suffering a concussion on the opening kickoff.

--RB Michael Turner was slowed by a sprained ankle coming into the opener. But he averaged 4.1 yards on 10 carries, showing no signs he was still bothered by the injury.

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