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
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
“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.
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
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,
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,
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.