Charged Up | Chargers-Redskins: Bolts Look To Keep Momentum Going for Playoffs

Eric GomezAnalyst IJanuary 2, 2010

NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 25: Eric Weddle #32 of the San Diego Chargers returns this interception intended for Kenny Britt #18 of the Tennessee Titans on December 25, 2009 at LP Field in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Rex Brown/Getty Images)
Rex Brown/Getty Images

That bandwagon is getting a little creaky, as folks from Riverside to San Ysidro continue to pile on.

For five of the last six seasons, Charger fans find themselves in a familiar position: geared for the playoffs.

The AFC's version of the Philadelphia Eagles this decade (Last decade? The '00s? The noughties?), the Bolts have yet to parlay their sustained excellence into a Super Bowl victory.

Furthermore, heartbreaking losses, hard-luck injuries, and questionable coaching calls have been the hallmarks for San Diego in the postseason.

Hey, you—jumping off the bandwagon, where do you think you're going?

They say momentum is everything, and when I say "they," I mean every single jock holding a job as a color commentator or analyst on any one of the big networks, both cable and non-cable.

Normally, you'd doubt guys like Buck Bicep or Randall Roid to impart any type of life lesson, but I'm afraid I have to side with them on this one.

The Chargers have won 10 games in a row, and have supplanted the Saints and the Vikings momentarily on the list of "it" teams in the NFL.

The reason is simple. It's not how you start; it's how you finish.

In December, Brett Favre's body falls apart faster than a snowman in Bermuda, and the Vikings have taken a toll.

The Saints scored 38 points in Week 12, 33 in Week 13, 26 in Week 14, and then 17 in Weeks 15 and 16.

Guess which two games they lost?


So, the Saints can't win unless they outgun everyone on offense? Weird.

Meanwhile, the Bolts are doing it their way.

With a defensive unit nothing short of amazing, considering they have more field casualties than the French army at Waterloo, a resurgent running game, and Philip Rivers featuring They Might Be Giants at WR.

Let's not forget the coaching.

Ron Rivera chose the worst year to re-gain national relevance with Mike Shanahan, Bill Cowher, et al on the prowl for coaching jobs.

Norv Turner's play-calling has experienced a renaissance, and his mastery of trick plays evokes Henry Winkler's playbook in The Waterboy .

Or Don Coryell. Whatever.

With the Redskins rolling into town on Sunday and nothing to play for, the question is, of course: Do we dare mess with the big mo?

The last time the Chargers had a first-round bye, Marlon McCree fumbled a Tom Brady interception and Nate Kaeding missed a last-second field goal, effectively knocking the Bolts out of the playoffs.

If Norv Turner decides to give his starters the game off, that will mean a potential gap of 23 days between the win at Tennessee and the AFC Divisional Playoffs.

My suggestion? Give them at least a half. Except for guys coming back from injuries (paging Shawne Merriman to the article), everyone should approach this game as another day at the office.

That way there's no accumulation of rust, the fans get what they paid for, and no obnoxious media types put pressure on you by saying you played one meaningful game in the past 23 days.


Meanwhile, around the league...

You know what I find funny? How everyone agrees that the Raiders will be better off when a certain senile owner bites the dust.

Even mainstream publications are latching on to this idea. The guy is so stubborn (and don't forget old) that this is seemingly the only way he'll ever relent control.

...unless he has his brain secretly implanted into Randy Hanson 's body when he dies.

Wade Phillips was all but fired just two weeks ago from the Dallas Cowboys. Now he's on the cusp of being renewed.

By this logic, expect ol' Wade to run for Congress and win this year.

So, Mike Holmgren took over the Browns. When Holmgren was the GM and coach of the Seahawks, they were awful.

Seriously, from 1999 to 2002, he was the GM. Their record during that span? 31-33.

From 2002 to 2008, he was solely the head coach—62-41 and a Super Bowl berth.

What's changed? Did he magically learn how to run a team? Congratulations, Cleveland. You're the new Detroit and Mike is the new Matt (Millen).

The Steelers think that teams are going to lay down this week to keep them from the playoffs.

Yeah, you guys are scary and no one wants to play you. You know, unless you're the Browns, Chiefs, Raiders, or Bears.

Those are real juggernauts.

Eli Manning was named the fourth best New York athlete this decade by the New York Post .

The Giants are out of the playoffs.

That recognition was also a huge boost for one-hit wonders all over the world.

In related news, A-Ha's Take on Me was named the fourth best song in the history of music.


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