Bills-Chargers Preview

The San Diego Chargers aren’t in an enviable spot in the AFC

West race, but at least their lengthy losing streak is over.

The Buffalo Bills’ slide in the AFC East continues.

San Diego looks to snap its longest home losing streak in eight

years Sunday when the Bills go for their first victory in six

weeks.

The Chargers (5-7) are tied with Kansas City and two games back

of Denver and Oakland in the West following Monday’s 38-14 victory

over Jacksonville, but getting back into the win column following

six straight defeats was the priority.

It was San Diego’s longest losing streak since an 0-9 slide to

finish 2001.

“It’s been a rough six weeks,” Philip Rivers said after

completing 22 of 28 passes for 294 yards and three touchdowns. “I

haven’t put a complete game together, but I don’t care about the

numbers. I just want to win.”

With the Chargers finally getting healthy, the team has to like

its chances of stringing together consecutive wins and avoiding its

first 0-4 skid at home since Nov. 4-Dec. 30, 2001.

San Diego’s last three-game home losing streak was Nov. 23-Dec.

14, 2003.

Wide receiver Malcom Floyd will play his first home game since

Oct. 2 after catching four passes for a season-high 108 yards and a

52-yard TD on Monday. He had missed four games due to a hip injury,

and his return marked just the fifth time this season he played in

the same game as receiver Vincent Jackson and Pro Bowl tight end

Antonio Gates.

That does not bode well for the Bills (5-7), who have just one

interception in the last four games after picking off 15 in the

first eight weeks.

Buffalo has just two sacks during its five-game skid, and it

could be difficult to add to that total after the Chargers did not

surrender one Monday for just the second time this season.

San Diego is 15-3 since 2009 when Rivers is sacked one time or

fewer. It’s 12-14 if he goes down twice or more.

The return of starting guards Louis Vasquez and Tyronne Green

following two-game absences gave Rivers plenty of time in the

pocket, and the result was Rivers’ highest-rated performance of the

season at 146.1.

It was also San Diego’s highest-scoring game in a win since a

41-10 victory over Arizona on Oct. 3, 2010.

“That’s the type of chemistry coming into this season we knew we

had,” Gates said. “We stayed on course despite what we’ve been

through these last six weeks.”

While the Chargers try to keep their postseason hopes alive with

a fifth consecutive home win in this matchup, the Bills’ playoff

chances are fading fast.

Buffalo sits just one game in front of last-place Miami after

being tied with New England atop the East with its 5-2 start.

“It’s hard to realize where we are right now and where we were

when we started the season with all the hope,” quarterback Ryan

Fitzpatrick said Monday, a day after a 23-17 loss to Tennessee.

“It’s unfortunate that we find ourselves in this spot.”

Rallying down the stretch could be tricky as the Bills are

struggling on both sides of the ball and injuries are mounting.

“It’s very tough to deal with,” said coach Chan Gailey, whose

team last dropped six in a row during an 0-8 skid to begin his

tenure in 2010. “We’re one game better than we were last year, but

it doesn’t feel anywhere near like that.”

The Bills are averaging 13.4 points during the skid – 16.7 fewer

than in the opening seven weeks – while the defense has forced just

two turnovers in the last four weeks.

“Yeah, there’s a lot of drastic differences,” linebacker Nick

Barnett said. “We’ve got a lot of different guys in this locker

room right now due to a lot of injuries. We’re going through a lot

of different things.”

Already without leading rusher Fred Jackson (leg), tackle Kyle

Williams (foot) and center Eric Wood (knee) for the rest of the

season, the Bills could also be missing tight end Scott Chandler

(ankle) and safety George Wilson (neck) on Sunday when they try to

avoid their first six-game road skid since Sept. 18-Dec. 4,

2005.

Rivers went 22 of 29 for 208 yards and two scores the last time

these teams met, but the Chargers lost 23-14 at Buffalo on Oct. 19,

2008.

San Diego, winner of 14 of the last 19 in the series, has not

dropped a home game to the Bills since Dec. 6, 1981.