SAN DIEGO – In the Chargers locker room, belief has set in. It didn’t take a string of five wins in a row, a series of improbable outcomes, or a missed field goal to send them into the playoffs for it to set in.
It didn’t even take a win in the first round of playoffs.
Belief has been a part of this team from the beginning of the season – the belief that they could go in and play against any team and beat any team.
Quarterback Philip Rivers said on Monday after the team’s 27-10 win in Cincinnati, that he wouldn’t have picked the Chargers to be in the playoffs when they were 5-7 mid-season, if he hadn’t been in the locker room all season long and known this team.
He wouldn’t have picked the Chargers to beat the Bengals in the playoffs, if he hadn’t been in the locker room and known this team.
“All that matters in a football game is that your team believes in you, and that’s the most important thing,” said head coach Mike McCoy. “You’ve got 53 guys on your roster, and your coaching staff and everyone in the organization, as long as they believe, you’ve got a chance. When people don’t believe, you’re playing with two strikes against you,” he said.
Still, the Chargers are being touted as underdogs all throughout the playoffs.
But that isn’t something that second-year linebacker Melvin Ingram is thinking about. Ingram, whose impact on the defense has been felt since his return after missing 12 games due to injury, said he didn’t think about being the underdog, over-dog, or the upper-dog.
“If we need motivation because people don’t believe because we’re a whatever-underdog, we’re in trouble,” McCoy said. “You got to go out there because you believe that you can do it, and get it done, and that’s why we’re here today,” McCoy added. “We’ve been underdogs plenty of times this year and won.”
What the Chargers don’t believe is that they’re done in the playoffs.
“I don’t think there’s any secret formula we found, it’s don’t turn the ball over, create turnovers defensively, which they’ve done, and score one more point than the other team,” Rivers said. “And we’ve done that now for five weeks.”
For the next couple of days, the Chargers will work on their game plan before facing off against the Broncos in the divisional round Sunday in Denver.
It’ll be the third time these two teams will face each other this season.
The series was split with the Broncos taking the first game and the Chargers winning only a few weeks ago in Denver.
“We’re out to continue to believe in ourselves,” said veteran cornerback Eric Weddle. “We’ve got an ultimate challenge this week, but we’re excited for the challenge.”
Weddle reiterated Rivers’ comments after Sunday’s game that they’re only eight quarters away from the Super Bowl.
“When you really think about that, it’s pretty surreal,” Weddle said. “We’re excited; we’re chomping at the bit. If we could play right now tonight we would and we’d be ready to go.”