Behind Enemy Lines
Postgame: San Diego Chargers
By Site Staff
Bring on the Steelers!
After the first two games, such a declaration by the 0-2 Chargers would have drawn chuckles.
The Chargers have climbed off the mat, won two straight and are playing with the confidence and tenacity they did last year in running to a 12-4 mark and their first AFC West title since 1984.
And with Sunday's victory wrecking the Patriots' 21-game home winning streak, the Chargers feel that slow start is history.
"It says a lot that we can come in an environment like this, in one of the most hostile places to play in, after a long road trip, and win," linebacker Ben Leber said.
What caused the Chargers' flip?
The offense is humming along impressively. The Chargers have scored 86 points in the past eight quarters, with running back LaDainian Tomlinson rushing for 326 yards and five touchdowns and quarterback Drew Brees completing 38 of 46 passes for 439 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions.
"We have played well over the last two weeks," said Tomlinson, who has scored a touchdown in 16 straight games, four shy of the NFL record. "I think we are starting to click on offense and defensively, too."
The defense has righted itself. It's gotten back to being stingy against the run, and even the embattled secondary is showing small signs of progress.
But it all starts with Brees at the helm of one of the NFL's most versatile offense. And while he'll be overshadowed by Ben Roethlisberger on Monday night, Tomlinson said it's a mistake not include Brees, last year's NFL comeback player of the year, among the top quarterbacks in the game.
"He kind of gets overlooked in the game, but I tell you want: He can go out and play better than anybody with mistake-free football," Tomlinson said. "He can manage the game really well, and he does what he needs to do to get his team a win. That's why he is a leader of the team."
If the Chargers' road is to lead back to the playoffs, they must overcome a difficult stretch that started with the Patriots and includes games against the Steelers, Raiders, Eagles and Chiefs.
The Chargers blew out the Patriots in the second half, coasting to a 41-17 victory.
The teams were tied at halftime at 17, but the Chargers dominated the final two quarters with an up-tempo, ball-control offense that wore down the Patriots.
LaDainian Tomlinson rushed for 134 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries. Drew Brees was efficient, completing 19 of 24 passes for 248 yards and two scores.
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