Subiect: The Los Angeles Chargers had every reason to be . Jersey
CARSON Doug Flutie Color Rush Jersey , Calif. (AP) — The Los Angeles Chargers had every reason to be susceptible to a trap game against Cincinnati.The Chargers were coming off an emotional, come-from-behind victory against Pittsburgh last Sunday and a key AFC West showdown at Kansas City was fast approaching.Sunday’s 26-21 victory over the Bengals was not one of Los Angeles’ best-played games of the season, but it does improve the record to 10-3 going into Thursday night’s game against the 11-2 Chiefs for the division lead.“Everyone wanted to talk about Pittsburgh and if it wasn’t Pittsburgh then it was Kansas City. This team was dangerous and we got out of there with a win,” Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said.The Chargers scored touchdowns on their first two drives and then got four field goals from Michael Badgley — including a team-record 59-yarder — to deal the Bengals (5-8) their fifth straight loss.“We did enough to win. Shoot, they all count the same. We found a way to win, in a different way,” said Philip Rivers, who was 19 of 29 for 220 yards and a touchdown.The Chargers had 160 yards of offense on their first two drives — which ended in a Keenan Allen 14-yard TD catch and 5-yard score by Austin Ekeler — but had 128 the remainder of the game. Three of the last eight drives started at or inside the Chargers 7.Ekeler rushed for 66 yards on 15 carries with Melvin Gordon missing his second straight game due to a knee injury. Allen had five receptions for 78 yards and has a touchdown in five straight games.“Sometimes you just have to play complementary football. Defensively we stopped them when we needed to,” Lynn said. “Offensively we started out, but then slowed down and kicked field goals the rest of the day.”Cincinnati had good field position for most of the day with an average drive start of its 35. Joe Mixon had 111 yards on 26 carries and a touchdown. Jeff Driskel, who was making his second straight start since Andy Dalton’s season-ending thumb injury, was 18 of 27 for 170 yards and a touchdown.“The decisions I made today didn’t work out. We didn’t get to make the break. This or that decision put us in situations, whether it’s fourth down and we’ve got to make the stop, the 2-point (conversion) and so forth, those things today, we didn’t get to make the breaks,” Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said.Cincinnati got within two points at 14-12 late in the first half on a pair of field goal by Bullock — one came after an apparent TD run by Driskel was overturned by replay — and Driskel’s 5-yard TD pass to John Ross (the 2-point attempt was no good). The Chargers, though, would take a 17-12 lead when Badgley made his 59-yard field goal on the final play of the first half.The Chargers led 23-15 late in the fourth quarter when Mixon scored from a yard out. The 2-point attempt, which would have tied the game, failed when Driskel was sacked by Darius Philon.BIG OVERTURNDriskel appeared to score a touchdown with about five minutes remaining in the second quarter on a 1-yard scramble that would have brought the Bengals within four, but replay overturned it saying he was short of the goal line.In the past, quarterbacks were safe to go head-first and not be considered to be giving himself up, but that was changed this season.“He dove forward to the goal line and as soon as his knee hit the ground, he was ruled to have given himself up. The ball was short of the goal line Trevor Williams Color Rush Jersey ,” referee John Hussey said after the game.The overturn meant the ball was spotted inches short of the goal line and brought up fourth-and-goal. Bengals guard Alex Redmond was then called for a false start and Cincinnati had to settle for a Bullock 23-yard field goal that cut the Chargers’ margin to 14-6.BIG LEG BADGLEYBadgley, who had the winning field goal last Sunday at Pittsburgh, now has the longest field goal in Chargers history.The Chargers attempted a Hail Mary with a second remaining, which resulted in Rivers being sacked, but Bengals defensive end Jordan Willis was called for a false start, which brought out Badgley, who said he was very confident about making it.“You got to go out there with that kind of confidence. If you’re going out there thinking you’re going to miss it you probably shouldn’t be kicking it,” said Badgley, who is 14 of 15 on field goals since joining the Chargers last month. “But going out there, it was a way for us to steal momentum from them at the end of the half, go into the second half with more points. It was definitely good for us to get those points at the end of the half.”The former team record was a 57-yarder by Nate Kaeding at Tampa Bay on Dec. 21, 2008.UP NEXTBengals: Host Oakland next Sunday before concluding the season with two straight road games.Chargers: Travel to Kansas City on Thursday night in a matchup of two of the top teams in the AFC. NFL teams buck for a playoff bye all season. Then people wonder if those four lucky clubs are going to be rusty when they return in the divisional round.The football world finds out this weekend when the Chiefs, Patriots, Saints and Rams get into postseason action.That January week off is coveted for a variety of reasons. Playing one less game decreases the chances of getting knocked out of the Super Bowl chase. Healing injuries is a critical piece of the puzzle. Extra time to strategize, particularly against an unfamiliar opponent, is a bonus. And yet, there's always the question of getting stale."I think, really, you could look at it where if you want to maintain your rhythm and your routine and being able to play — it's been a couple weeks off — but I think the players would say that the rest is definitely the best way to go," Rams coach Sean McVay says."Getting as healthy as possible for us where we're about as healthy as you could ask to be going into the divisional round. So, I know we've certainly looked at it as a positive. It's been a good chance for guys to kind of get refreshed, rejuvenated. There's a good buzz in the building this week building into Saturday night."That would be when the Rams (13-3) host the Dallas Cowboys (11-6), who eliminated Seattle in the wild-card round.The other matchups are AFC top seed Kansas City (12-4) hosting Indianapolis (11-6 after beating Houston) to open things. On Sunday, it's New England (11-5) at home for the Los Angeles Chargers (13-4 after winning at Baltimore), and NFC top seed New Orleans (13-3) home for defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia (10-7 after a victory at Chicago).So what if Neil Young was correct that rust never sleeps? Are the Chiefs Dan Fouts Color Rush Jersey , Patriots or Saints in need of some WD-40?New England safety Patrick Chung notes the bye was "a good time to rest up, hang out with my family, chill out, get my mind off football. We're locked in now."Teammate Phillip Dorsett senses the opposite of rustiness: "Having a week off from football, it's tough, but a lot of guys wanted to go back out there, it's a big game coming up … definitely excited to go out there and start playing."INDIANAPOLIS AT KANSAS CITYThe Colts are 4-0 in the postseason against the Chiefs, 2-0 at Arrowhead Stadium. They are on quite a roll after going 1-5, with an efficient offense that protects its quarterback better than any team, allowing sacks on only 2.7 percent of Andrew Luck's passes. That could be a key because the Chiefs' defense is one-dimensional, with a strong pass rush but otherwise plenty of holes.Of course, keeping pace with Kansas City's dynamic offense led by All-Pro quarterback Patrick Mahomes is a major challenge.Kansas City scored a franchise-record 565 points, third most in NFL history. Mahomes led the league with seven games with a 100-plus passer rating (Luck was third with five). Mahomes set a franchise record for TD passes (50), touchdown-interception differential (plus-38) and 300-yard passing games (10).Worth focusing on: The tight end production for Indy's Eric Ebron, who had 15 touchdowns this season, and KC's Travis Kelce, second among TEs with 1,336 yards receiving. He has a catch in 79 straight games.DALLAS AT LOS ANGELES RAMSThese franchises have split eight postseason games, and the Rams are the most frequent playoff opponent for Dallas. The Cowboys last won a road playoff game in 1993 on their way to a Super Bowl title, but their next playoff victory will be their 36th, tying Pittsburgh for the most in NFL history.Rams All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald topped the NFL with 20 1-2 sacks, nearly twice as many as Cowboys leader Demarcus Lawrence's 10 1-2. Under former Dallas coach Wade Phillips, LA's defense had 41 sacks to the Cowboys' 39, yet the Rams had 97 more sack yards.Worth focusing on: This game could be decided on the ground, which means All-Pro Todd Gurley for the Rams and second-teamer Ezekiel Elliott for the Cowboys. Elliott won the rushing title for the second time in three years Lance Alworth Color Rush Jersey , but Gurley was sidelined late in the schedule by a knee injury. Gurley led the league in touchdowns with 21, 17 rushing.LOS ANGELES CHARGERS AT NEW ENGLANDNew England was 8-0 at Gillette Stadium, the only perfect home record in the league. And the Chargers were a league-best 7-1 on the road — some say they don't really have home games considering they play in a temporary stadium built for soccer — and won at Baltimore last Sunday.Quarterback Philip Rivers enters Sunday's game with a 1-7 record against the Patriots, including 0-4 in Foxborough and 0-2 in the playoffs. There is concern about leading rusher Melvin Gordon, who hurt his knee in Baltimore.Conversely, Tom Brady is 2-0 in the playoffs and 6-2 in regular-season meetings.Worth focusing on: The secondaries. If the weather is decent, Brady and Rivers will be testing defensive backfields of varying accomplishments. There often have been gaping holes in New England's coverages, while the Chargers have an All-Pro in rookie safety Derwin James, and another standout back there in Desmond King.PHILADELPHIA AT NEW ORLEANSThey call him St. Nick around Philly, and the way Nick Foles has performed, why not? He guided the Eagles to the championship and was Super Bowl MVP last year after replacing an injured Carson Wentz. This time, with Wentz sidelined again, Foles got the struggling Eagles into the postseason, then helped them beat the Bears in the wild-card game.He'll need to be plenty, well, saintly against New Orleans and its collection of Saints, the league's top team in the regular season. Drew Brees has had perhaps the best season of his Hall of Fame-caliber career. And of all the teams coming off byes, New Orleans is the most balanced. Oh, yeah, the Saints also routed the Eagles 48-7 in November, before Philly won six of the next seven, including the 16-15 verdict in Chicago.Worth focusing on: Again, the secondaries. The Eagles have prospered despite a rash of injuries there, and the Saints' DBs can be had when the guys up front don't get in a QB's face.