On the heels of an emotional Sunday night win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, and with the Kansas City Chiefs on short rest on deck, few in the media asked the Chargers about the task at hand last week.
They either wanted to rehash Week 13 or look ahead to Week 15.
Well, the Bolts knew they had a tough task up first in Week 14.
Thus, they paid no mind to the outside noise, remaining singularly focused on the Cincinnati Bengals. That tunnel vision helped the Bolts grind out a gritty, hardnosed 26-21 win on Sunday, improving their record to 10-3.
“It was a tough win,” said Head Coach Anthony Lynn. “Guys showed grit. They showed good mental toughness preparing for this game because hell, everyone wanted us to talk about Pittsburgh, and then if it wasn’t Pittsburgh, then Kansas City — this team was dangerous, and we got out of here with a win today. I’m thankful for that.”
Philip Rivers also stressed how important that tunnel vision was as he totally understood why everyone wanted to ask about the Chiefs. The Bolts had all the respect in the world for the Bengals, and the hard-fought win certainly showed why, but it’s the nature of the beast for fans and the country to look ahead when an 11-2 team is set to host a 10-3 squad in primetime.
“If there was ever a term, ‘trap game,’ to be applied, it was probably this one,” Rivers said. “In the sense of, no disrespect to Cincinnati because of the scenario we just laid out (playing Pittsburgh last week and Kansas City next)…. It’s a close game league and you respect every opponent. We’re not more concerned with anyone else, and that’s why they kick it off. If you could just do the next game stats, give you the percentage and just say, ‘OK we won that,’ we’d never play. You have to kick it off and see what happens, and anything can happen on any week.”
“That was a dangerous game (vs. the Bengals),” Lynn added on Monday. “I know some of you guys looked at me (funny because) half their team is hurt. Well, that team was playing for the playoffs last night. They lose that game, they’re (more than likely) out of the playoffs. They win out, they’ve got a chance. To us, coming off the Pittsburgh game and getting ready for the Kansas City game, I just thought that was a little dangerous. I was proud of the way we went in and executed and won the game.”
However, now that the game is over, it’s fully on to Kansas City.
All eyes will be on Arrowhead Stadium as the teams with the top two records in the AFC square off. With kickoff less than 96 hours away, many of the Bolts began preparing for the Chiefs the second they left StubHub Center.
“If there’s ever a week of the Nunc Coepi (phrase) applying, it’s (this) week,” Rivers said immediately after the game, referencing the Latin phrase of beginning anew that he’s adopted in recent years. “We’ve got to begin, and begin in a hurry. I heard some of the guys going back to the facility right now, get in a cold tub, start that. Start watching tape. We have to get going, start shifting gears and hurry.”
As Rivers noted, rest and recovery is of the utmost importance with the condensed week ahead. It’s something that Lynn emphasized as well on Monday, explaining how rejuvenating the body is key to getting ready to play fast and physical Thursday night.
It’s also something the locker room is buying into.
“It’s all about getting recovered and (being) ready to go on Thursday,” Joey Bosa said. “It’s going to be a real tough turnaround to be ready (to play a game) on Thursday. So, it’s all about recovery, starting now through Thursday.”
“It’s important to just get back to being healthy,” added Michael Badgley. “Get back in there, go through all of our recovery, and it will be short week, so a big mental week. Maybe not as physical as a normal week would be. It’s a big game for us for sure, just like this one was for us.”