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Chargers can clinch playoff spot with win over the Colts



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After a season of uneven performances, the Chargers’ protection has leveled off — and leveled up — over the past two weeks.

The group has been so good that it has impacted not solely the opposition’s offense but in addition its personal offense.

“It’s not even a lot what they did however how they did it,” heart Corey Linsley mentioned. “Simply the power they’ve had. You may really feel it. They’ve had this angle that they received’t be denied. That breeds a lot confidence in the remainder of us.”

Behind smothering defensive efforts in victories over Miami and Tennessee, the Chargers went from outdoors the playoffs to the brink of clinching a berth in what felt like just some snaps.

The truth is that they received consecutive video games over groups additionally competing to advance to the playoffs whereas everybody round them within the AFC standings stumbled.

Now, they journey to Indianapolis for a Monday night time sport during which they’ll safe a postseason spot with a victory.

“That’s the entire objective of taking part in soccer proper now,” quarterback Justin Herbert mentioned, “to have the ability to prolong your season and to play effectively after what you’re assured.”

The Chargers’ newest alternative comes towards an opponent that has misplaced 4 in a row and 7 of eight, that has an interim head coach and that’s altering quarterbacks for the third time this season.

Of their final two video games, the Colts have been outscored by Dallas within the fourth quarter 33-0 and blew a 33-0 halftime lead in an time beyond regulation loss to Minnesota. The latter was the best single-game collapse in NFL historical past.

A Chargers protection taking part in in addition to it has all season will obtain a lift Monday when Professional Bowl security Derwin James Jr. returns after lacking two video games due to a quadriceps damage.

With James again, the Chargers can be as intact as they’ve been since early within the season, the workforce’s collective well being rallying on the proper time.

The actual fact the Chargers are favored by barely greater than a subject purpose speaks to the betting nation’s wobbly religion in them and the any-given-Monday nature of the league.

“Everybody’s proficient,” Chargers defensive lineman Morgan Fox mentioned. “When you begin backing off or taking your foot off the fuel, everybody on this enterprise has the flexibility to leap proper again within the sport.”

Leaping again in describes what’s taking place with Nick Foles, who received a Tremendous Bowl with the 2017 Philadelphia Eagles however barely has performed over the past two calendar years.

Indianapolis’ interim coach, Jeff Saturday, is popping to Foles over Matt Ryan in an try and salvage the stays of the 2022 season.

Regardless of Foles’ latest inactivity — one begin since mid-November 2020 — the Chargers say they aren’t anticipating any rust to point out.

“It’s not like we’re over right here considering Nick Foles goes to fold,” Linsley mentioned. “This man has a hoop. He’s performed a very long time and he is aware of what it’s. I’m fairly certain that’s the farthest factor from our minds.”

Added defensive lineman Sebastian Joseph-Day: “We don’t pay that any thoughts. The blown lead factor, any of that. This received’t be a straightforward sport.”

The Chargers have performed seven consecutive one-score finishes and, for the season, personal only one victory by a margin higher than six factors. If this sport is shut, they’ll not less than be in acquainted waters.

Additionally acquainted is what occurred to the Chargers precisely one 12 months in the past. The workforce was 8-6 and in a playoff spot when it visited the downtrodden Houston Texans the day after Christmas.

On a day when each groups had vital COVID-19 absences, the Chargers, who entered as 13-point favorites, misplaced 41-29. Coach Brandon Staley mentioned he didn’t intend to revisit that have.

“I don’t assume that’s an efficient technique as a result of there are such a lot of guys who weren’t even right here,” he mentioned. “I feel what’s most related is what’s in entrance of you …

“You must make it about your workforce, not anyone else’s workforce or not anyone else’s scenario. I feel if we put the main target there, then we’ll make the enhancements we have to make to be pretty much as good as we might be.”

The Chargers might be their greatest but below Staley with a win Monday, the franchise’s first playoff berth for the reason that 2018 season there to be taken.