Nothing was decided Saturday in regards to the Chargers and the playoffs, their fate still tied to games yet to be played.
There is, however, the very real possibility that their next game at StubHub Center won’t come until next season.
For a team that is 6-1 on the road with the regular-season finale at Denver a week away, the prospect of having to travel in the postseason isn’t exactly a troubling one.
“It’s nothing we haven’t faced,” running back Melvin Gordon said. “I feel like every game this year is an away game, to be honest. We’re gradually getting more fans at the Stub. But it’s still packed with other fans. … It’s nothing we can’t handle.”
The crowd Saturday featured another blend of allegiances, although the noise did lean in the home team’s direction.
The Chargers have won this season at Seattle, Pittsburgh and Kansas City, three of the NFL’s most notoriously difficult venues to visit. The latter two wins required coming back in the second half from double-figure deficits.
They have won, in fact, every time they’ve left Southern California, that lone loss on the road coming against the Rams at the Coliseum.
“You want to go through tough situations before you have to face them in critical times,” defensive lineman Damion Square said. “That’s what builds you up. I think we’re the most battle-tested team going into the playoffs.”
This is a bunch that has had to employ a silent count at times at home. The Chargers also have cranked up the sound during practices leading into games at StubHub Center.
So, facing hostility in genuine enemy territory might actually be more comfortable for the Chargers.
“I think our guys eliminate distractions,” coach Anthony Lynn said. “I think sometimes road crowds can galvanize a team. They’re a tough and resilient group, and I think that just fits our style.”
The Chargers have shown no tendency toward crumbling on the road. They had every reason to buckle when trailing by 16 points at halftime in Pittsburgh and by 14 in the fourth quarter at Kansas City.
Instead, they made an abundance of pivotal plays — on both offense and defense — to beat the Steelers with no time remaining and the Chiefs with four seconds to go.
“We’ve got some preparation playing big games on the road,” Lynn said. “I think when you do that, it breeds confidence. I think our guys have played well on the road all year. To be honest with you, it doesn’t matter where we play.”
He returned Saturday just in time for the Chargers’ stretch run — and the end of the fantasy season.
Last week, as he was missing his third consecutive game because of a sprained ligament in his right knee, Gordon took to Twitter to apologize to those who play fantasy football.
“To my fantasy owners … who lost without my help I’m sorry,” he tweeted. “Crunch time in these playoffs and I couldn’t come thru.”
Gordon punctuated the post with two emojis: a sad face and a crying face. A couple days later, he explained.
“I was super big on fantasy football, huge in college,” Gordon said. “I used to get ticked when guys weren’t playing. … I’d be like, ‘Bro, what are you doing? I need you this week.’ I just wanted to let them know, ‘I feel your pain.’ ”
Gordon has missed four games this season because of injuries. In two of those instances, his playing status wasn’t determined until just a couple hours before kickoff, adding to the angst of fantasy players.
He said he regularly fields questions from family and friends about his availability during those weeks when his health is in doubt.
“One of my friends texted me, ‘Hey look, bro … It’s playoff week, bro … Let me know if you playing or not,’ ” Gordon said. “I was like, ‘I don’t know, bro.’ He was really into it. It was funny. It was cool.”
When they played at Kansas City last week, the Chargers had to quicken their preparation and physical recovery since the game was on Thursday.
After stunning the Chiefs with their late comeback, they then benefited from having three extra days to rest before getting ready to face the Ravens.
“I gave them 2½ days off,” Lynn explained, “told them to get all of your Christmas shopping out of the way and told them to get refocused, and we’ll go straight into Saturday.”