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Twelve Wins One Heck of an Accomplishment


This doesn't happen often in the NFL.

In fact, the last time the Chargers did it was back in 2009.

But after going into Denver and earning a hard-fought 23-9 win over the Broncos, the Bolts finish the regular season with a 12-4 record, reaching that many wins for only the sixth time in their history. The other times they reached that many came in 2009 (13), 2007 (14), 2004 (12), 1979 (12) and 1961 (12).

Philip Rivers knows as well as anyone how difficult an accomplishment it is to go 12-4, explaining how meaningful it is for the team as a whole

"It's hard to do," Rivers said. "(It's) hard to win 12 games. All but one outside our stadium, we won. This organization hadn't won 12 games since 2009, so it's a heck of a stretch. It is tough (to do that), and I thought it was great the way we won today. The defense was unbelievable. (They) kept getting turnovers, scored nine points and found a way in a circumstance that was a little weird as the game went, knowing that the actual outcome wasn't going to affect where we went the following week or where we didn't go. The guys hung in there and found a way to get our 12th win."

Rivers was far from the only veteran to note how big a deal it is to win as many games as the Bolts did this regular season.

"It's big to win that many games," said Antonio Gates. "At the end of the day, I know it's hard to have double-digit wins in this league, and that's something we've always talked about since I got here. You get 10 wins, you get to the playoffs. We got 12, and we've advanced to the postseason. So winning 12 is a lot to say about this team, but make no mistake about it, that means nothing when the postseason starts. We're happy. It's an achievement. We didn't get out our short-term goal. We didn't win our division, but a 12-win season is good."

"It's hard to win 12," added Casey Hayward. "It's hard to win 10. It' hard to win a lot of games. We try to take them one at a time. That's what it's about. I always say, going into the season, if you can win all your home games and win half of your road games, you're good. We just did it the opposite. Won almost all our road games and (five) at home."

The Bolts enter the postseason as the fifth seed even though they tied the Kansas City Chiefs for the best record in the AFC. However, based on record in the division, Kansas City captured the AFC West crown and first overall seed.

Derwin James may only be a rookie, but even he knows 12-win seasons are hard to come by, even if didn't come with an AFC West title.

"We set goals for ourselves at the beginning of this season back in OTAs, and this was one of the goals," he said. "We wanted to win them all but I feel like 12-4 is a hell of a good record, especially after last year what they went through. Just making the playoffs this year at 12-4, it's tough. That tells you right along, if you're 12-4, you're still the Wild Card, that tells you what type of league this is."

Meanwhile, the Bolts' 12-win season meant a little something extra to the Bolts who were on the 4-12 and 5-11 teams in 2015 and '16. Add both seasons win totals up and you still don't get to 12.

Just ask Melvin Gordon.

"It means a lot," he said. "(It's) something I haven't been part of, so I'm excited. I won (at) most games (five those first two years), and then last year we won nine. Before that, though, it was tough sledding around here. We're trending up which is good."

"Not only is it a big accomplishment, but man, it takes a lot of grit," added Damion Square, who was also on those 2015-16 teams. "You've got to really, really sacrifice to go and win 12 games in this league. I feel it right now. I'm still in my pads (well after the game ended). This is exhausting, but you've got to come and play for your brothers. You put too much in not to get what you put in out and that's what I try to tell my teammates all the time. When you think about what you invested, then it makes you play. I think this team has really, really learned that. Opportunity comes, put the ball in the end zone, it's happening."

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