Hats off to LT

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Still Chargin
Staff member
Mar 5, 2006

Chargers slough off Rams, along with a few doubts
By Kevin Acee

October 30, 2006

A vibe, difficult to grasp yet palpable, hovered in the air in the midst of large and angry men readying to play a game yesterday afternoon.

In the moments before the Chargers took the field, center Nick Hardwick looked around the locker room and wondered.

“You could feel, kind of, y'know, 'Do we still got it?' ” Hardwick would recall afterward.

Quarterback Philip Rivers knew.

“We didn't say it, but I thought it was a must-win,” he said. “It wasn't a nervousness at all. But we came back home after a tough loss . . . 'What are we going to do? Which way are we going to go?' ”

What the Chargers did yesterday may well help decide where they go.

At the least, a 38-24 victory over the St. Louis Rams moved them into a tie with the Denver Broncos atop the AFC West.

At the most, a game in which they set the tone at the outset and did enough throughout shook loose some clinging doubt and cleared the way for a less-stressful foray into November.

“When you're good, much is required of you,” fullback Lorenzo Neal said. “It's easy to say, 'Hey what's wrong with this team?' Because, let's face it, we go to Baltimore, we're winning with four or five minutes left in the game, if the offense can get a first down, the game is over; defense gets a stop, the game is over. Kansas City, we tie the game, we can go down and score, the game is over. The biggest thing is games we could have won – and possibly should have won – we didn't win. That's what makes it frustrating – we expect to win.”