Chargers Unapologetic After Shocking Colts

There was not much to like in the Chargers' 23-21 win over the Colts, other than the final score. Philip Rivers finished with a 30.6 passer rating and the running game picked up 2 yards or less on nine of 24 carries. However, the players came away grateful for the win and confident that a full-scale turnaround is imminent.

Norv Turner knew his offense was in for a tough battle with the Indianapolis Colts. Indy came in with the league's No. 2 scoring defense, a unit that held the potent New England Patriots offense to 10 points through 52 minutes in week nine.

The Colts defense has what Turner refers to as the big three: DE Dwight Freeney, DE Robert Mathis and SS Bob Sanders. Turner expected that trio to give his offense problems and they did exactly that, combing for eight tackles, a sack and numerous quarterback hurries.

Turner's plan was the win the battle on special teams and steal an edge in one of the other two phases. The special teams came through as Darren Sproles returned two kicks for touchdowns. The defense did its part as well, forcing Peyton Manning to throw a career-high six interceptions.

Although the offense was anemic, Turner was unapologetic about his team's performance.

"I think our players feel they earned that game," Turner said. "I think the guys that were involved in those returns and the coverage and the special teams -- and the guys that were involved on the defense that intercepted Manning six times -- I think they'll remember that for a heck of a long time."

Some players, such as Philip Rivers, would rather forget everything that happened on Sunday night. Rivers completed 13 of 24 passes with zero scores, two interceptions and a fumble that was recovered by Gary Brackett for a touchdown. He didn't get much help from his receivers; Michael Turner dropped a ball with nothing but green in front of him, and Antonio Gates watched a pass bounce off his hands and into the arms of Clint Session for Rivers' and Session's second pick of the game.

Nonetheless, Rivers knows the blame is his to shoulder. Opposing defenses load up to stop the Chargers' running game and will continue to do so until Rivers makes them pay for it.

"It's not like I can't make a read or I'm getting fooled on coverages or things like that," Rivers said. "It's a couple of poor decisions on whether I should throw it or not.

"I have to play better for us to get to where we want to go, but I've by no means lost any confidence whatsoever."

Add LaDainian Tomlinson to the list of confident Chargers. That may sound strange, as the reigning MVP has been held under 80 yards rushing in six of nine games this season, but he insists it's true. His faith comes not from what the Chargers have done this year but what they have done in years past.

Tomlinson realizes the Chargers have talent on offense -- eight players on that unit have been invited to at least one Pro Bowl -- and believes the Chargers are going to get hot at just the right time.

"We haven't been hot all season, so it has to be coming" Tomlinson said. "With seven games to go until the playoffs, if we're fortunate enough to get there, that's when you want to be hot. I've seen it over and over again that this team gets hot. So when's it going to happen again? The reality is we're 5-4, we're in first place and we haven't gotten hot yet."

Tomlinson's high expectations for the future do not disguise his frustrations from the recent past. He realizes the Chargers almost let one slip away against the Colts but remains grateful that, for one night, Lady Luck was on the Chargers' side.

"It's about time we have a game like that go our way," Tomlinson said. "It wasn't pretty at all, but you got the win. That's the only thing to feel good about."

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

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