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News » San Diego Chargers Inside Slant 2008-12-12

San Diego Chargers Inside Slant 2008-12-12

San Diego Chargers Inside Slant 2008-12-12
The Chargers head for America's heartache to face the Kansas City Chiefs.

They do so with a broken heart.

The buzz from last week's victory over the Oakland Raiders returns the dismal Chargers to earth with a thud. With each passing week comes the growing realization the playoffs will get cranked up and the Chargers (5-8) won't have a seat at the table.

But this week -- at least one more week -- they are still alive. They can still say their prayers and hope they can run the table with three more wins as the Broncos lose all three of their final games.

What else can they do?

It's tough swallowing the pill, which comes when expectations meet reality.

"You would hate to be in a situation where you have to depend on a team to lose," tight end Antonio Gates said. "We can only control what we control."

And the Chiefs are no slam dunk, despite losing 11 of their 13 games. The Chargers have a fresh memory of escaping with a 20-19 win last month to remind them of that.

The Chiefs played great that afternoon and nearly upset the Chargers. Gates said rivals giving their own have what the Chargers have seen a steady diet of.

"Once you are established, an elite team with 11-12 Pro Bowlers, you are going to get each team's best shot," Gates said, "That is what elite is all about; we didn't expect no team to take us lightly and no team has taken us lightly."

That's why the Chargers can't flick off the Chiefs on Sunday like lint. Especially in Kansas City, where Arrowhead Stadium will be rocking.

"It's certainly loud," said quarterback Philip Rivers, who'll try to get the snap count down the line in the din. "You start off slow and dig yourselves a hole and it's only going to continue to get louder and be an issue with you.

"Hopefully you get off to a fast start and keep it somewhat under control Sunday."

But it could officially unravel with a loss Sunday -- lose and see you in 2009.

Well, maybe not everyone on a team that has never found its mojo on a consistent basis. As the team aims for the heartland, it's also time for a gut check.

"You are always playing for a job -- this is the National Football League," Gates said. "It's a business obviously.

"In this situation you get to evaluate your teammates when things are not going well; things not going the way you want them to go.

"You see the true leaders, the true teammates to pick each and other in a time of need."

The Chargers are in some need of some big-time help -- hello, Carolina over Denver. But first they must prove they have what it takes to help themselves.

SERIES HISTORY: 97th regular-season meeting. The Chiefs lead the series 50-45-1. The Chargers traditionally have a tough go playing in Kansas City. They have lost 10 of their past 13 and nine of their past 11 at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chargers' biggest win over the Chiefs came in the 1992 wild-card playoff game in Qualcomm Stadium, where the Chargers prevailed 17-0.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 12, 2008

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