When things were at their worst, when the
The team that nobody seemed to want here didn't seem to want to be here, either, playing just well enough to lose and doing its best to fade into the background of a crowded Los Angeles sports landscape. The Chargers' motto, "Fight for L.A.," became unintentionally humorous because they couldn't win the battle for fan support in their own stadium, let alone challenge the Rams' popularity.
That all felt like ancient history Sunday during the Chargers’ 19-10 victory over winless Cleveland. Fans wearing blue outnumbered and out-yelled the visiting team’s supporters by probably the greatest decibel margin in any of the Chargers’ six home games, roaring their approval for
"When you start 0-4 and the division leader starts 5-0, you go 'Oh, it's going to be tough to even have a chance,'" Rivers said, referring to the Chiefs. "But here we are with a chance."
That's all they wanted, a chance. They've earned it.
“We’re right where we want to be,” cornerback
The circumstances appear to favor the Chargers because none of their remaining opponents is above .500. They play host to the 5-7
His joke provided insight into the ways he and his teammates kept their heads up early in the season and how they've kept going with increasing sharpness and purpose. They stuck together and laughed together instead of splintering into finger-pointing cliques. They could have let their season unravel. Instead, they revived it.
"No one ever flinched," coach Anthony Lynn said. "At 0-4 we still had a lot of football in front of us. That's always been the way we've looked at it, so being in this position doesn't surprise me at all because the guys work hard and they're committed to the process. They never stopped believing."
Barksdale made sure they remained positive.
"You've got to take it one game at a time, but sometimes it helps to speak life into a situation, too. You can look at things optimistically or pessimistically. I choose to be optimistic," he said.
It has been a powerful weapon.
"That, and focusing on controlling what we could control," Barksdale said. "At the end of the day, it's not like we were getting blown out those first four games. But adjustments here, adjustments there — the next thing you know, they add up and you can make something happen."
Their momentum is strong. Rivers again was a leader and a steadying force with a 31-for-43 performance for 344 yards and one touchdown, and receiver
Allen said going from 0-4 to 6-6 wasn't a surprise to him.
"That's what I was expecting," he said. "We had nothing but confidence to go win out the rest of the season. That's our mind-set and that's what we want to do."
Running back Melvin Gordon said it's not impossible.
"We're in a good place right now but we're not in a great place and that's why we have to keep working," Gordon said. "I feel like everything is in our hands right now. We're starting to see the light a little bit, but by losing those four games at the start of the season we dug ourselves a pretty big hole."
They've emerged into the light.
"It's exciting to be in the month of December and have everything in front of us and have a lot on the line," Rivers said. "It is exciting to have a meaningful December."
Especially after their season might have ended, in essence, in October.