After years of postseason disappointments, the San Diego Chargers finally have what they need to go to the Super Bowl: teamwork and momentum.
In past seasons, they were too reliant on two players—linebacker Shawne Merriman and running back LaDainian Tomlinson—even though they had a bevy of talent on their roster. This season, Merriman was lost early on to a knee injury and Tomlinson was still feeling the effects of his from last season.
The Chargers would have to learn how to win without them.
Some tough early losses tested their confidence. LT was having the least productive season of his illustrious career, and without Merriman the Chargers began to...well...stink.
Only four short weeks ago, they were 4-8 and had little hope for the post season.
The pressure to win was suddenly lifted. The expectations, which were great, disappeared. The fans were this close to giving up. Even I wrote them off.
That is when the winning started.
LT was used more sparingly. Darren Sproles and Jacob Hester helped carry the load, keeping LT fresh for the 4th quarter. Philip Rivers had a monster season. His 105.5 passer rating and 34 TDs were league bests (He actually tied former teammate Drew Brees in passing TDs).
The Chargers did not pack it in as many thought they would. Instead, they stepped up and showed the character they had lacked the past few years.
But with eight losses, the Chargers could only get the playoffs if Denver fell flat on their face. The Broncos did just that, leading up to last night's showdown where the Chargers scorched Denver 52-21.
The Chargers are now AFC West Champions and will host the Indianapolis Colts next Saturday in the Wild Card round. This will not be an easy game at all for the Bolts.
The Colts are pretty hot themselves; but remember that it was the Chargers who went into Indianapolis last year and knocked out the Colts.
This game—to me—is the best matchup of the playoffs.