Sunday’s 30-21 victory of the defending Super Bowl Champions may go down as the biggest non-playoff-determining-win in recent memory. After all, the odds were stacked against the Chargers versus a team previously deemed unbeatable.
First, there was the unfortunate news that center Nick Hardwick was gone for the season, and possibly for his career due to a recurring neck problem that may finally force him to retire. That was followed up by a midweek report that cornerback Brandon Flowers injured his groin during practice. And then Saturday, it was revealed that linebacker Jarrett Johnson was not going to play because of the impending birth of his child. That’s three vital starters inactive before the game even started.
I haven’t even mentioned that the Chargers were playing on six days rest compared to the Seahawks' ten.
The odds makers had this game as a six-point victory for Seattle.
But we all know how it turned out, and suddenly the Chargers will move up in the NFL power rankings. This is evidenced by the MMQB Fine 15, where they moved up seven spots to seventh overall.
And though this victory is to be savored by the fans for the Chargers dominating performance against perhaps the league’s most complete team, the Chargers as a team, are looking at this victory for what it really is.
"It’s still one game," head coach Mike McCoy said after the game. "Honestly, I mean we’re going to play one game at a time and this is a big win for us. We have to put it to the side now and enjoy it tonight. The next couple of days we’ll have to get ready to go. We’re going to a tough place on (Sunday)."
When asked what is the difference in starting 0-2 or 1-1, quarterback Philip Rivers was quick to mention that it would have not made a difference in preparations for their week 3 opponent had the score reflected a loss.
"Well, for you guys it means you get to write the article that says 12% chance of getting into the postseason," Rivers pointed out at the press conference. "For us, I don’t know that it means a whole lot," Rivers said. "It certainly feels better one and one. But, I don’t think we would of had a different approach going to Buffalo had we gone 0-2. We’ve got to keep the pressure on, and we’re going to a 2-0 Buffalo team."
Despite his big day, Antonio Gates, who had arguably his best game in his career finishing with 7 receptions for 96 yards and 3 touchdowns, still found room to keep this win in perspective.
"At the end of the day, it’s one week, and obviously we beat a good football team so that’s something to be proud of because you can’t take a victory in this league for granted," Gates said. "But after Monday, our minds will definitely be focused on going into Buffalo and beating a good Buffalo team."
Rivers, ever the optimist, feels that what you saw on Sunday versus the Seahawks, is the same team you will continue to see as the season progresses.
"The same team today played on Monday night six days ago," Rivers said. "We just made the plays today that we didn’t make Monday night, and that’s why it’s an awesome game, and that’s why you play all sixteen to see the teams that are most consistent will be hanging around in January."
I hope the odds makers take note.