LA Chargers roll into short week vs Dallas after blowout win
By GREG BEACHAM, AP Sports Writer
COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP) — With a Thanksgiving date in Dallas looming, the Los Angeles Chargers got zero time to enjoy their most emphatic victory in over three years.
In truth, that’s exactly how coach Anthony Lynn likes it. The Chargers (4-6) can’t afford to get comfortable with any success if they plan to make a late-season run into playoff contention.
“We don’t have time,” Lynn said Monday at the Chargers’ training complex after their 54-24 blowout of the Buffalo Bills. “We leave Wednesday morning. We’ve got to get onto the Cowboys right away. We started last night.”
Lynn and his staff already put together a detailed plan maximizing every extra hour in their three-day stretch between games. They studied film of the Cowboys during their bye two weeks ago, and they’re catching up on Dallas’ most recent games before a light practice Tuesday.
The players won’t do much physical work before they hit the field in Arlington on Thursday. After everything that went well for the Chargers in their thrashing of the Bills, Lynn simply wants the Bolts to stay in that groove.
The blowout was a boost to those efforts because many regulars, including quarterback Philip Rivers, got to rest for much of the second half.
“Veteran players, they need more time to recover” on a short week, Lynn said. “Young guys, I think, can care less. They just want to play on Thursday nights. Everybody is watching.”
The holiday game will provide a rare showcase for the Chargers, who haven’t exactly seized the attention of the nation or even their new hometown during their relocation season. But Lynn’s first team has been quite capable after an 0-4 start, going 4-2 with a bizarre overtime loss in Jacksonville that easily could have gone the Chargers’ way as well.
With the nation watching, the Chargers hope to show off an offense that racked up 429 yards and a defense that produced six takeaways against Buffalo and its rookie quarterback, Nathan Peterman. While the Cowboys present a formidable challenge, the Chargers welcome the chance.
“I guess it gives you the opportunity to really (stink) or really be good, and everybody notices,” said cornerback Casey Hayward, who had two of the Chargers’ five interceptions against Buffalo. “So if you’re really good, a lot of good things will come out of it, but if you (stink), don’t get on Twitter.”
The Chargers are aware of the thorough mediocrity of the AFC standings. They’re two games behind AFC West leader Kansas City (6-4) in a pack of eight AFC teams with 5-5 or 4-6 records — and not many of those teams are in the Chargers’ recent form.
After their trip to Dallas, the Chargers host winless Cleveland and struggling Washington. Kansas City is the only team with a winning record left on Los Angeles’ schedule.
“We’re definitely confident,” Hayward said. “We’re still in the race. Hopefully the other teams will keep losing and we keep winning, and we can get into the playoffs some kind of way. It’s still a stretch, and we have to do some things well. We have to win this game Thursday. That will be the start, so we can’t worry about what those guys are doing. It doesn’t matter how you get into the playoffs as long as you get in there, and that’s what we’re trying to do.”
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