Lower the Bar

Coming off a 14-2 season, the 2007 Chargers aren't going to sneak up on anybody. Every opponent in the first quarter of the season has prepared for the Super Bowl-caliber team the Chargers were expected to be. SDBoltReport.com offers a week-by-week summary of why the Bolts failed to live up the the expectations of their opponents.

Where Hype was Born

Members of the Chicago Bears vented their frustration in week one over a Nike commercial that featured LaDainian Tomlinson running over the Bears defense. The hype added to the excitement of the match-up, which starred the two teams with the best records in 2006.

The loudest roar came from Brian Urlacher. Even though Tomlinson spoke of the middle linebacker in high regard, the eight-year pro was ticked.

"How did we do the last time we played them," Urlacher asked the Chicago Tribune. "How did we do that game? Look at the stats and see how he did."

Turned out, the previous Chargers-Bears game was a better indicator than the TV commercial. The Chargers won the opener, 14-3, but the Bears held Tomlinson in check. Tomlinson finished with 25 yards rushing but the Chargers tamed the Bears and ended a two-decade losing streak.

Bad Belichick

In week two, Bill Belichick did most of the hype work for San Diego. Trapped in media frenzy following the Video Gate scandal, Belichick only wanted to talk about the defending AFC West champions.

"Overall, (the Chargers are) a good football team," Belichick said. "They beat the Bears, who we know are a good football team. I'm sure they will be ready for us."

The Patriots were well prepared for a Chargers running game looking to get untracked after sputtering on opening day.

"It's not just Tomlinson," Belichick said. "It's Michael Turner. It's Darren Sproles. They have a great running game, a good offensive line."

The Chargers were expected pull in to Gillette Stadium at 110 mph. Instead, the New England Patriots pulled the emergency brake. Tomlinson failed to reach the 50-yard plateau for the second consecutive week and Rivers had two interceptions.

No Time to Unpack

After the embarrassing loss in New England, the Chargers carried more baggage to Lambeau Field. The Bolts faced a team whose leader was gunning for the history books. Like Belichick before him, Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy heaped praise on the Chargers.

"I know they probably haven't hit the goals they'd probably like this year, but when you talk about play-makers, one thing that impresses me about the whole football team is they have individuals that have incredible big-play ability in all three phases: special teams, offense and defense," McCarthy said.

McCarthy named Antonio Gates as one of the big play-makers and the tight end fulfilled the forecast. Gates finished with 113 receiving yards, but it was Tomlinson, Vincent Jackson and Craig Davis who hauled in Rivers' three touchdown passes. The Chargers ran out of ammunition in the Midwest shootout and quickly turned their attention to upcoming divisional play.

Too Many Chiefs

There was little doubt that week four would bring an end to the team's first losing steak in more than a year. The Chargers were on a nine-game home winning streak and nothing could stop them. Even their visitors agreed.

"They've lost two games in a row on the road and they aren't used to losing," Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Damon Huard said. "They were 14-2 last year, they know how to win at home and they beat us out there last year pretty bad. They expect to win and we are going to get their best effort. We know that we have to go out there and play our best if we are going to have a chance to win."

The Chargers showed flashes of 14-2 ability in the first half. After intermission, the offense went cold and left the fans heated. The boo birds chased the 1-3 Chargers off the field.

Colorado Concern

Each loss of this season has been downplayed by players but there will be no excuses in week five. All the other teams of the AFC West have two wins under their cleats, including the Oakland Raiders, who only won two the entire 2006 season. The Chargers have only won once in Denver in the past three years but are determined to live up to the mile-high standard their opponents have set for them.

"Bill Walsh taught me this a long time ago -- we all go through some slumps," Steve Mariucci said on NFL GameDay. "(The Chargers) have good players on that team and good schemes on both sides of the ball. The AFC West is no great division. You are only a game out of first place and you go to Denver next week. Go up there and win the game."


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