Chargers focus on Bills before heading overseas Print
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Thursday, 16 October 2008 13:47
NFL Headline News

 ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) -If this is the start of what Philip Rivers dubbed the Chargers' ``World Tour,'' then the San Diego quarterback wants to make sure the team has its itinerary in order: Buffalo comes before Buckingham Palace.
``We're going a long way here in the next 10 days, but our guys are focused on Buffalo,'' Rivers said. ``After Buffalo, we'll worry about where that plane is going to take off to.''
They'll be boarding a trans-Atlantic flight that'll take them directly to London for a game against New Orleans at Wembley Stadium on Oct. 26. And ``Taking Off'' might be the operative theme as the Chargers (3-3), coming off a 30-10 win over New England last weekend, hope to have finally righted themselves after an 0-2 start and a dreadful loss at Miami two weeks ago.
But first comes a game against the upstart and AFC East-leading Bills (4-1) on Sunday.
``This is going to define which way our season is going to go,'' running back LaDainian Tomlinson said. ``We can't worry about London until it gets here. We've got a big test ahead of us.''
The Bills, so far, have shown they're no longer the pushover they were the previous eight years, a stretch in which they've had only one winning season and not made the playoffs - the longest drought in franchise history.
Buffalo opened with four wins for the first time since 1992, and has a chance to get to 5-1 for the first time since 1995 in a divisional race that's suddenly wide open now that New England has been left vulnerable without Tom Brady.
As well as they've played, the Bills understand they've not accomplished anything yet, and spent their off week smarting from a 41-17 loss at Arizona. If certain teams such as San Diego, which has made the playoffs in each of the past three seasons, automatically draw respect, the Bills realize they have to earn that each and every week.
``No doubt. We haven't done it on a consistent basis,'' receiver Lee Evans said. ``The teams that have, even though San Diego started slow people still look at them as a viable opponent because we know where they've been. And that's what we're trying to get to.
``You have to earn that right. And that's what we're striving for.''
up J.P. Losman. And the defense was uncharacteristically soft, having difficulty defending Kurt Warner's efficient short-passing attack.
``Arizona? Hell, that was two weeks ago,'' defensive tackle Marcus Stroud said. ``It's one game. It's a long season. ... It's about playing this week and bouncing back.''
It won't be easy considering the Bills are likely to be without two defensive starters: defensive end Aaron Schobel (left foot) and cornerback Terrence McGee (sprained left knee). At least Edwards will be back, having recovered from his concussion.
Edwards has played a key role in the strong start. The 2007 third-round draft pick has provided spark to a once-sputtering offense and has been particularly poised in the clutch, helping Buffalo produce three consecutive fourth-quarter comebacks prior to the loss to Arizona.
``We're off to a good start, but it really doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things if we lose our next 11 games and go 4-12,'' Edwards said.
The Chargers have been all over the board and haven't enjoyed many breaks. San Diego lost its opener 26-24 to Carolina by giving up a last-second touchdown pass. Then followed a 39-38 loss at Denver, which was in part decided on a botched official's call in the final minute.
The Chargers' offense might finally be coming together, even while Tomlinson has been slowed by a nagging toe injury.
Rivers went 18-of-27 for 306 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions against the Patriots, and was effective in spreading the ball to seven receivers. That includes little-used Malcolm Floyd, who had three catches for 75 yards and a touchdown in helping fill in for injured starter Chris Chambers (ankle).
The defense did its part with a goal-line stand that stopped the Patriots four times from the 1 early in the third quarter.
Suddenly, San Diego finds itself one win behind the AFC West-leading Broncos. Not so fast, Tomlinson said.
``I think it's way to early to say that. We're not back in it at all. We've still got to continue to win games,'' Tomlinson said. ``We can't keep on going up and down, a win, a loss. We can't do that. We've got to be able to put a streak together where we can feel good about ourselves.''

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