What will Bolts do for an encore?

The Chargers' 41-3 victory over the Denver Broncos righted a lot of wrongs. San Diego hopped right back into the division race and found a way to ebb its constant flow of turnovers. The key now is to maintain the sense of desperation that propelled Sunday's victory and use it to fend off the Oakland Raiders.

The Chargers liked what they saw as they exited the field on Sunday – thousands of empty seats at Invesco Field. However, when they woke up on Monday the found themselves tied for last place in the AFC West and on the wrong side of .500.

Those sobering facts did little to mute the team's enthusiasm. The players admit it might not be all smooth sailing ahead, but it is nice to have the ship pointed in the right direction.

"I went in saying it was a must win," Marlon McCree said. "If we didn't get this win, to come to work 1-4…it's been done before and it could be done again, but the morale is so low. It was low being 1-3."

While the Chargers morale is bouncing back nicely, they can take extra satisfaction in dropping Denver's spirits into the dumps. In addition to losing their third consecutive game, the Broncos lost center Tom Nalen and tight end Nate Jackson to season-ending injuries.

By the time the Broncos come to San Diego for a Christmas Eve special, they will likely be without running back Travis Henry as well.

"I don't think it was a distraction, to be honest with you," said Mike Shanahan of Henry's pending suspension. "I think it was a distraction for him because he's got to talk about it. Obviously, I had to address it but, besides that, there was no reason for the performance we had. That had nothing to do with it."

By the time the Chargers and Broncos reacquaint themselves in week 16, maybe, just maybe, there will be at least one team in the AFC West with a winning record. If the Chargers hope to be that team, they still have a lot of work to do.

Firstly, the Chargers must get more pressure on opposing quarterbacks. The defense is getting just two sacks per game after averaging more than 3.8 last season. Secondly, the offense needs to get more of its playmakers involved. Philip Rivers completed passes to just three players on Sunday, fewer than any other team in week five.

Finally, the Chargers must carry their newfound momentum past the Oakland Raiders and right into the bye week. The 38-point win over the Broncos was a big step in the right direction; a loss to the Raiders would be two even bigger steps back.


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