--RB Darren Sproles made a splash against the Indianapolis Colts, which landed him the game ball. Sweeping through with the winning 22-yard touchdown 6:20 into overtime, Sproles ended the game collecting 105 yards on 23 carries and catching five passes for 45 yards. He also gathered 106 yards on four kickoff returns and 72 yards on three punt returns. The 328 all-purpose yards were the third-most in playoff history, and he scored a pair of touchdowns for good measure.
--LB Tim Dobbins grabbed the Bolts first sack of the game at a crucial time. With just over two minutes remaining, Dobbins dropped QB Peyton Manning at the Colts 1-yard line on third down, forcing them to punt and give the Chargers the ball at the Indy 38. That drive set up K Nate Kaeding for a 26-yard field goal to force overtime.
--Another star was P Mike Scifres. Setting an NFL postseason record on Saturday night with a 51.7-yard net average, he punted six times for a gross average of 52.7, with one kick sailing 67 yards. Scifres landed all six punts inside the Colts 20-yard line, another playoff record.
--The Chargers put the Colts in third-and-long situations by limiting Indy to 2.9 ypc. From there, San Diego held the Colts to 6-of-15 on third downs. As a result, the Bolts possessed the ball for almost eight minutes more than the Colts. It was the Bolts running game that kept them in the game, totaling 167 yards to the Colts' 64.
What Didn't Work
WR Chris Chambers
--Even though the Bolts dominated time of possession, the Colts still managed to outgain the Chargers, 366-357. The Colts also won the turnover battle, 2-0.
--For the first time in a long time, the Bolts passing game was a weak link. With Philip Rivers going 20-of-36 for 216 yards with an interception, Manning raised the stakes by hitting 25-of-42 for 310 yards. The Colts averaged 7 yards per pass compared to the 4.8-yard average of the Chargers.
--The Bolts offensive line allowed too much heat off the edges. Defensive ends Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis combined for four sacks and had too much speed for Marcus McNeill and Jeromey Clary to handle, respectively.
--Midway through the third quarter, the Colts capitalized on a communication mishap. While trying to substitute, Chargers defenders were looking to the sideline for instructions. Manning quickly snapped the ball and found WR Reggie Wayne for a 72-yard touchdown, putting the Colts up, 17-14. Antonio Cromartie, whose focus has been under scrutiny all season long, was burned on the play.
The Chargers will travel to Pittsburgh to play the Steelers (12-4) in the Divisional Round of the playoffs. The last time the Bolts met the Steelers, the Chargers left with an 11-10 loss. However, in a quirky but favorable statistic, the Chargers are 0-13 in Pittsburgh during the regular season but 2-0 in Pittsburgh during the playoffs.
San Diego looks to win a road game in the Divisional Round for the second straight season. The team certainly has momentum on its side, as the Chargers are 12-1 in the months of December and January under Norv Turner.