Cheering for Patriots doesn't help Rivers, Bolts
SAN DIEGO (AP)
''Certainly one of the few times I ever have,'' the San Diego Chargers quarterback said Monday.
It didn't help. Miami held on to beat New England, hurting the Chargers' already long-shot chances of earing the AFC's No. 2 wild-card berth.
Even if they beat Oakland on Sunday and then Kansas City in the regular-season finale to finish with a four-game winning streak, the Chargers (7-7) could still miss the playoffs for the fourth straight year. Their fate rests with how Miami and Baltimore finish. Miami (8-6) beat the Chargers on Nov. 17 and Baltimore was 7-6 going into Monday night's game at Detroit.
The Chargers have no one to blame but themselves for their diminishing odds of playing in January. While they might not do so publically, they'll certainly bemoan losses at Washington and Miami during a stretch of four defeats in five games. The most glaring loss was at Washington, when the Chargers had the ball first-and-goal at the Washington 1 and had to settle for a tying field goal before losing in overtime.
''There's nothing we can do to change them,'' Rivers said of those losses. ''I think that's just natural to reflect back on games that you didn't finish or let get away that you know have caused you to be in the bind you are. But what I think is most important for our team is to try to win another division game and get to 8-7.''
Receiver Eddie Royal also was pulling hard for the Patriots on Sunday.
''You hope things happen and play out the way that we have a chance to get in because that's the ultimate goal, to make the playoffs,'' Royal said. ''You want that, but at the same time we've still got to win these last two.
''You like to be able to control your own destiny, but that's just the nature of the business and how it all worked out for us,'' he added. ''Right now we've just got to win these last two games. We've got to take care of that and then see what happens. We can't worry about anything else because if we don't handle our business, it doesn't matter what anyone else does.''
Miami's victory stole from the euphoria of San Diego's big upset at Denver on Thursday night.
''We're 7-7, so we put ourselves in this position,'' said safety Eric Weddle, who sat out Monday's practice to rest. ''We can lament and kick ourselves for those losses or we can worry about what we can control and that's two games left in the season. I really don't care what happened the previous 14 games because they're gone and I'm focusing on the Raiders. That's what the whole team is focusing on and trying to build on what we've done the last couple of weeks and finish the season strong.''
The Chargers lost 27-17 at Oakland on Oct. 6, when they had five turnovers. The Raiders were routed 56-21 by Kansas City on Sunday and have clinched last place in the AFC West.
Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL