SDUT: Chargers plan to avoid trap of looking ahead

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#GoIrish #Aztecs #SDGulls #Raiders #THFC #RipCity
Staff member
Jun 20, 2005
Chula Vista, CA
By Kevin Acee

The Chargers have fielded questions each week for the past month about possible trap games.

Ever since they started winning regularly and the playoffs came into focus and people began looking toward the season’s treacherous finish, there has been the possibility the Chargers would stumble before getting to the marquee match-ups at Indianapolis and Kansas City and the finale at home against Denver.

It started with the New York Jets on the first Sunday in November and came up again when the Chargers were hosting Buffalo after the bye. There were fears (almost proved valid) before the Chargers went to Washington, and the thinking in some circles was that this past Sunday’s game against Oakland was dangerous.

Those games all turned into victories that have the Chargers on a five-game winning streak, which has them on the doorstep of a gantlet.

But first, a trap door in the 5-7 Miami Dolphins, who visit on Sunday.

“We understand if we don’t beat Miami then the last three games don’t mean as much because we might already be pretty much eliminated,” quarterback Drew Brees said yesterday. “We understand every game is one game at a time, and it’s a must-win situation.”

They understand, because it has worked. And they understand because head coach Marty Schottenheimer repeats some form of the one-at-a-time mantra as if his patent were pending.

“The bottom line is that’s the way our league is,” Schottenheimer said. “We’re right now in a very, very competitive situation. The moment you start thinking about the last one or the next one you’re compromising your ability to deal with the one available to you at the moment.”

There are no such restrictions on the rest of us, who already have one eye on what might await on Dec. 18 – a matchup between 13-0 Indianapolis and a Chargers team with six straight wins that will have the entire football-speaking world agog.

Even Brees acknowledged he’ll be rooting for the Colts this week when they play at Jacksonville “so they’ll be undefeated when we go there.”

He was quick to add: “But other than that, I’ll just worry about us.”

With a 34-10 victory over the Raiders on Sunday, the Chargers moved into the sixth and final AFC playoff spot, ahead of Kansas City by virtue of their October victory over the Chiefs. Winning out assures the Chargers the AFC West title.

But the Chargers’ remaining four games make up perhaps the most difficult closing stretch any team will face. No other team plays four opponents with a combined winning percentage of .708, as the Chargers do. And the Chargers play at Indianapolis, which is noted as the loudest venue in the NFL and where the Colts have won 12 straight. Six days later, the Chargers play at Arrowhead Stadium, where the Chiefs ride a 17-game December winning streak. Then comes a home game on New Year’s Eve against division leader Denver.

But true to Schottenheimer’s doctrine – and that deserves to be believed by now – the Chargers maintained their sights are on the game at hand.

“I’m not even looking at the last three games,” defensive end DeQuincy Scott said. “I don’t know for sure who they are. I know we’ve got to play Miami. That’s our focus right now. Somebody asked me yesterday about the playoffs. We’re not thinking about that. We can’t control what happens down the road. We control what happens now.”

Which is a big reason they have avoided the potential traps.

Big Dave

Nov 8, 2005
Schottenheimer is too anal to think past the next game. His teams are always prepared. His problem is his conservative way of play, but with the playmakers on this team, he's learned to open things up.


Sep 5, 2005
Big Dave said:
Schottenheimer is too anal to think past the next game. His teams are always prepared. His problem is his conservative way of play, but with the playmakers on this team, he's learned to open things up.
Yeah I agree. Marty has adjusted to the times and his team. There's a time for "Marty ball", and thats where were up by a ton of points.