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Five Lessons from the Chiefs Game

Posted Dec 30, 2013

Here are your weekly five lessons from the past week's game.

Here are five lessons we learned from Sunday’s 27-24 thriller over the Kansas City Chiefs sending the Bolts to the postseason.

1. Faith Never Wavered– Many doubted the Bolts, but the Chargers never lost faith in themselves.  Even when media pundits put their odds at making the playoffs at less than one percent, the team kept fighting, believing at 5-7 that if they got to 9-7 they had a chance to make the tournament.  They did just that by rattling off four wins in a row.  Philip Rivers said it was a tough task, but one they knew they were capable of accomplishing:

“When we lost at home against Cincinnati and went 5-7, we knew it was tough as it could be. I think we believed at that point, not saying we predicted it, but we believed nine would be enough. At that point we all kind of said, ‘Hey, nine will be enough. That’s going to be a challenge.’ That means we had to win the rest of them. It barely was, but it was enough. Now, we’re one of the handful that get to move on.”


2. Ball Bounced Bolts Way – So many times over the course of the season, it seemed like the ball bounced the wrong way for the Bolts.  On Sunday, everything went right when it had to.  Starting before the game with the losses by the Miami Dolphins and Baltimore Ravens to Ryan Succop’s missed field goal at the end of regulation to even winning the coin toss at the beginning of overtime, things went right for the Chargers.  Of course, you often times make your own luck and have to take advantage of it, but as Antonio Gates said, it felt good to have luck on their side:

“We needed to stick together. That is the main ingredient in my mind. That is what got us to this point, believing. As you see, the ball finally bounced our way and we were able to come away with the win today…In my mind it was fortunate we finally got a break. Throughout the season, we didn’t get that break at times. The ball wouldn’t quite bounce our way. Like I said, those ingredients of just constantly believing, sticking together and putting in the hard work and dedication. That’s what we talk about in the locker room. It paid off today.”

 

3. Rivers is Mr. December –Winning four of five in the final month of the year, Philip Rivers is now 30-6 lifetime in the month of December.  Since 2006 when he became the starter, that is the most wins in the entire NFL.  His 98.9 passer rating is third highest in NFL history in December.  Overall, Rivers has completed 682 of 1,087 (62.7%.) for 8,337 yards with 66 touchdowns and just 20 interceptions for his career in the final month of the year. Keenan Allen may be a rookie, but he knows that his quarterback has that special quality when the game matter most.

“It’s something you can see in his eyes.  You know you always have a chance with him.  I’m lucky to have him as my quarterback.”

 

4. Being Aggressive Paid Off– Whether it was being aggressive at the line of scrimmage or being aggressive in the play calling, the Bolts played no holds barred in the second half and in overtime.  The results paid huge dividends, none more so than the daring decision to run a fake punt at their own 28-yard line in overtime on 4th-and-2.  Eric Weddle came through by getting just enough for the first down, propelling the team to victory.  After the game, he knew it was a situation where he had to get past the sticks when making such a gutsy call:

“Coach gives me the opportunity to call those things when I see it.  I was looking to see the (Chiefs’) look – whether the corners were going to come in at all like they did earlier in the game, and they didn’t.  With that look I felt like we could get two yards as a punt team with me running the ball.  If we are going to go down, let’s go down doing what we do and that’s playing aggressive until the end.  We got just enough.”

5. This Team Wants More –The Chargers are ecstatic to be in the playoffs, but to a man, they aren’t simply satisfied to be there.  They want to go on a special run and do some damage, proving all who doubted them wrong.  Just listen to what Head Coach Mike McCoy said about this being just the first step in a long journey:

 “That’s the first goal.   Obviously there are certain things you set aside for the team as goals early in the year, but you have to get in the tournament and that’s the number one thing….We have to play our best game next week.  We’re going on the road and it’s all or nothing.  And that’s how we have to play every game.  Every snap matters and it’s critical at every play. We have to protect the football.  We’re going into a hostile environment.  It’s going to be the San Diego Chargers against the world next week.”

 

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