Ready to Roll?

The Chargers always knew they would reel off a series of wins. In 2004, the Chargers won eight games in a row. In 2005, they won five straight. And in 2006, they pushed a winning streak to double digits. Coming off a third consecutive win, the question arises: how long can they stay on a roll?

The week eight win over the Houston Texans was to be expected. The Texans had lost four of their last five games coming in and were without their top wide receiver (Andre Johnson) and running back (Ahman Green).

Nonetheless, the manner in which the Chargers broke the Texans' spirits before intermission was nothing short of impressive. Particularly notable was the performance of Antonio Gates, who scored two touchdowns of 30-plus yards against an undermanned Texans secondary.

"We busted a zone dog," said Gary Kubiak of Gates' first score. "We busted a situation and they took advantage of it."

As for the second?

"That wasn't a bust. It was a good route by (Gates) and he got our free safety out of position. It was a nice a nice throw and catch by them."

The defense did its part to salt the wound, collecting a season-high four interceptions. Stephen Cooper hauled in an interception -- the first pick by a Chargers linebacker this season. Eric Weddle also got in on the act, thieving his first pass as a pro late in the fourth quarter.

However, the primary culprit was Antonio Cromartie, who picked off a pair of errant throws and returned one 70 yards for a score. The second-year pro now has three interceptions over the last two games and has turned his season around since a poor showing in Green Bay -- one in which he gave up a game-winning 57-yard touchdown to Greg Jennings.

"It motivated me a lot," Cromartie said. "I told myself I wasn't going to let anyone else catch a ball or a touchdown on me. My biggest thing was to finish plays. In the Green Bay game, I didn't finish the play like I wanted to. That was hanging over me for a long time. Now it's over with and it's time to keep going."

The Chargers will keep going all the way to Minnesota, where they will face a Minnesota Vikings team that has lost five of its last six games. That doesn't mean the Chargers can look past the Vikings and towards a bigger game around the bend -- a week 10 showdown against the Indianapolis Colts at Qualcomm Stadium.

"You can't look past anybody because it's the NFL," Cromartie said. "Minnesota has a great running back in Adrian Peterson…we've got to focus on making tackles on him and making plays as a defense."

If the defense succeeds in containing Peterson, the Chargers will walk away with their fourth double-digit victory in as many games.

Michael Lombardo is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and a long-time contributor to the Scout.com network. He has followed the Chargers for more than 14 years and covered the team since 2003.


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