- Aug 18, 2005
Before looking ahead to a month that is perhaps as daunting as any NFL team has ever faced, a victory such as Sunday's trouncing of the New York Giants deserves a pause – to reflect on what is and what might have been.
So here the Chargers are, a convincing win, and two losses that they believe shouldn't have happened.
"It's easy to think that way, because that is the fact," Drew Brees said. "But you can't look at it like that. What's done is done. We have a lot to look forward to this season."
Chargers' schedule for the upcoming month:
DATE / OPPONENT / TIME
Oct. 2 at New England (2-1)10 a.m.
Oct. 10 Pittsburgh (2-1)6 p.m.
Oct. 16 at Oakland (0-3)1:15 p.m.
Oct. 23 at Philadelphia (2-1)10 a.m.
Oct. 30 Kansas City (2-1)1:05 p.m.
The Chargers quarterback waxed philosophical a day after playing one of the best games of his career, in which he completed his first eight passes and 19-of-22 overall.
Brees has been saying for more than a week that, sure, a better start should have been but simply wasn't destiny. He is a believer that all things happen for a reason, and he thinks his team needed a little adversity.
"We kind of missed out on the first two," he said yesterday. "Either of those could have worked out. That wasn't meant to be. Because of that 0-2 start, we had to kind of dig down deep. Facing a little adversity, it was part of bringing us together for this season."
Following a coming out in the form of the 45-23 rout of the Giants, in which the Chargers scored more than any NFL team this season and more than any Chargers team since 1993, Brees might have something.
But he knows the true test lies ahead.
"You want to talk about some challenging games," Brees said. "New England, the Steelers back here at home, Philadelphia coming up. There are some tough, tough opponents."
The Chargers' October begins this Sunday at New England. The Patriots are the defending NFL champions, victors in three of the past four Super Bowls and winners of 21 consecutive home games.
The Pittsburgh Steelers, the team the Patriots beat in the AFC Championship Game last season and in overtime this past Sunday, visit for "Monday Night Football" on Oct. 10.
A visit to Oakland follows. And while the Raiders are 0-3, their losses were at New England, to Kansas City at home and at Philadelphia.
The Chargers visit Philadelphia on Oct. 23 – their second game against a team in last year's Super Bowl and their second trip to the East Coast in 21 days. It also will be their first time facing Terrell Owens since he caught seven passes for 171 yards and two touchdowns against them in 2002. (Of course, this is an entirely different secondary. But given that the Chargers currently rank 27th against the pass, is that comforting?)
October ends with a home game against Kansas City, a seemingly improved contender for the AFC West title despite being blown out by the Broncos last night in Denver.
While Brees acknowledged the struggle ahead, coach Marty Schottenheimer is either entirely consumed by New England or not entirely forthcoming.
"I don't know who we play in October," he said. "I know who we play this week, and I know who we play the following week. Beyond that I have no idea who we play.
"We're not going to worry about next week. We're going to worry about this week. We're playing the three-time world champions in the last four years. It's going to be a great opportunity."
Schottenheimer did acknowledge that October represents a seemingly meaty portion of the schedule.
"As you look at it from today you would say that," he said. "But I would have said a year ago the part of the schedule where we had to play Tennessee and Jacksonville, that was the heart of the schedule. As it turns out, we were able to win. Now, both of those were at home, obviously."
However, it is hard to argue with Schottenheimer's focus. If the Chargers are to survive or even thrive during this stretch, it would seem imperative they not get overwhelmed.
The head coach appears to have one very important convert.
"I haven't focused at all on our schedule in October," LaDainian Tomlinson said. "I really don't want to. I've kind of made it a point of worrying about the next game. I guess that's from being around Marty the past four years."