Bolts face must-win game at Denver, where they hardly ever win Print
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Wednesday, 03 October 2007 16:37
NFL Headline News

 SAN DIEGO (AP) -The San Diego Chargers find themselves in a must-win situation going into a place where they hardly ever come away with a victory.
The Chargers certainly didn't expect to be 1-3, but they are after their third straight loss, a 30-16 shocker Sunday at home against Kansas City, which scored 24 straight points in the second half.
``I don't know when it's a must-win, to be honest with you, but I know it should be a must-win,'' LaDainian Tomlinson said Wednesday. ``We need a win really bad and we've got to get one this week.''
The saving grace for the Chargers is that they're just a game behind everyone else in the mediocre AFC West. The Broncos, Chiefs and Oakland Raiders are all 2-2.
``It's right up there, pretty close,'' quarterback Philip Rivers said. ``That's really how we approach every game, to be honest with you, but certainly the situation we're in, we obviously know how bad we need to win. The whole community needs a win. This being a division game and considering where we stand in the division, this win here gets us right back in the thick of it.''
Rivers wasn't kidding that the community needs a win. The loss to Kansas City came in the middle of perhaps one of the worst three-day stretches in San Diego's mostly dismal sports history. While the local 11 got shut out in the second half against the Chiefs, the Padres lost three straight games to blow the NL wild-card, and the San Diego State Aztecs were routed by then-No. 24 Cincinnati 52-23 on Saturday night at Qualcomm Stadium.
Not only was Rivers booed mercilessly, but late in the game fans started chanting for Marty Schottenheimer, who was fired as coach in February and replaced by Norv Turner. Turner fell to 59-85-1 in three stints as an NFL head coach.
``If the fans think they're disappointed, we're doubly disappointed,'' Rivers said. ``We hate to lose worse than anyone. We feel for everybody. We know we can play better and want to play better.
``You somewhat understand it, then again it's somewhat disappointing, early in the first half in a game where we're up 16-6. I think we just keep playing, and we can get this thing heading in the right direction and get everybody back on board.''
The Chargers won 35-27 at Denver last season after rallying from a 24-7 third-quarter deficit. But the Chargers haven't had consecutive wins in Denver since 1967-68, back in the teams' AFL days. In the last 24 years, San Diego has won only four times in the Mile High City.
Part of the Chargers' sluggish start can be attributed to Rivers' nine turnovers. He's thrown six interceptions and lost three fumbles, leading to 37 points for the opponents. He's had one interception and one fumble returned for touchdowns.
Tomlinson raised an interesting point when asked if he was alarmed by Rivers' turnovers.
``You know, I think Philip is definitely trying to make plays. And if you think about it, last year, for the most part, we protected him a lot. We ran the ball and we played a lot more conservative at times running the football, whereas this year, we're taking chances, and that's all about having Norv Turner as your head coach, you're going to take more chances. So you may have a little more interceptions than you did the previous year.''
Asked if there was anything to that, Rivers replied: ``Nah.''
Tomlinson finally cracked triple digits in a game by rushing for 132 yards and one touchdown. The reigning league MVP gained 116 yards in the first half, then carried only six times in the second half for 16 more yards.
``I think the opportunities were there,'' Tomlinson said. ``We just had more opportunities running the football. The second half, we didn't have many opportunities to run.''
 

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