I'm a big believer in winning football games one half at a time. If you can head into the locker room with a lead, the rest of the game is tilted in your favor. The opposing offense has to give up their gameplan and their defense has to start playing desperate. For a team like the Chargers, that means playing right into their hands.
Earlier this season (around the time of 2-2), I was harping on this team for constantly coming out flat in the first half. By time the Chargers came back for the third quarter, it was them who had to abandon their offensive philosophy and start playing more desperate defense. Sometimes it worked (@OAK), sometimes it didn't (BAL). While there have been many different reasons for the Chargers' current winning streak, I think that coming out strong and winning the first half has been the most important.
To back up my unresearched claim....research! After the jump I go game-by-game and look at the score at the half as opposed to the final score.
Week 1 - at Oakland
- Score at the half: 10-10
- Final score: 24-20, Chargers
Week 2 - Baltimore
- Score at the half: 21-16, Ravens
- Final score: 31-26, Ravens
Week 3 - Miami
- Score at the half: 3-3
- Final score: 23-13, Chargers
Week 4 - at Pittsburgh
- Score at the half: 21-0, Steelers
- Final score: 38-28, Steelers
Week 6 - Denver
- Score at the half: 20-17, Chargers
- Final score: 34-23, Broncos
So what have we learned up to this point? In 3 out of the first 5 games, the Chargers had 10 points or less at the half. In only 1 out of the first 5 games did the Chargers have a halftime lead. That's not a dominating team in anybody's book. Now, let the winning streak commence...
Week 7 - at Kansas City
- Score at the half: 20-0, Chargers
- Final score: 37-7, Chargers
Week 8 - Oakland
- Score at the half: 21-10, Chargers
- Final score: 24-16, Chargers
Week 9 - at New York (N)
- Score at the half: 7-7
- Final score: 21-20, Chargers
Week 10 - Philadelphia
- Score at the half: 14-6, Chargers
- Final score: 31-23, Chargers
Week 11 - at Denver
- Score at the half: 13-0, Chargers
- Final score: 32-3, Chargers
Week 12 - Kansas City
- Score at the half: 28-7, Chargers
- Final score: 43-14, Chargers
Week 13 - at Cleveland
- Score at the half: 13-7, Chargers
- Final score: 30-23, Chargers
Week 14 - at Dallas
- Score at the half: 10-3, Chargers
- Final score: 20-17, Chargers
Week 15 - Cincinnati
- Score at the half: 14-13, Chargers
- Final score: 27-24, Chargers
Wow, okay...time for a summary. Let's take a look at the Chargers first-half records.
First 5 games: 1-2-2
Not surprisingly, the Chargers lost more halves than they won during this timespan. I think you'd have to to get to a 2-3 record. What stands out to me is that they went 1-2-2 in the first half. That's one game with a lead at the half, two trailing and one tied.
Next 9 games: 8-0-1
It's much easier to win 9 games in a row when you never, not once, have to fight from being behind at halftime. This team has learned that a fast start makes winning at the end of the game much, much easier.