The .500 Chargers acquire a Hall of Fame Tight End

San Diego Chargers TE Antonio Gates

With Monday’s rain came a gust of wind. It was a sigh of relief from Chargers fans.

Really, it’s OK to exhale.

The Browns left San Diego and they didn’t leave the Chargers red-faced.

A win is a win and that’s what the Chargers claimed in Sunday’s 30-27 see-saw verdict.

Dang right victories are tough to secure in The League, even if this was more a paint-by-the-numbers than masterpiece.

So what if the Chargers’ play was substandard.

Big deal if they made Josn McCown look like Brian Sipe.

No problem here with another Josh, the Chargers’ Lambo, getting the NFL’s version of a penalty kick.

The Chargers sit at 2-2 and that’s more than a number better than 1-3.

A peek at what lies around the Chargers’ corner does’t bode well if two games under .500.

“Going to 1-3 with what we have coming up wouldn’t be ideal to say the least,” Philip Rivers said.

With four under their pads here is the next four-pack: Pittsburgh, at Green Bay, Oakland and at Baltimore.

Not a gimme in the bunch, especially for the gimpy Chargers.

“I don’t know that our actual play was great,” said Rivers, and with his kids in the room, this southern gentleman couldn’t fib. “So that obviously will make us dig back in and go to work this week and get ready with an extra day of preparation. Get ready for the Steelers to come here.”

The Pittsburgh posse has injuries woes of its own.

One week after disposing of the Dawg Pound residents, here comes Michael Vick and fill in your own line here.

The Steelers will likely be without Ben Roethlisberger and that brings a shrug from the Chargers.

Just like no cried for the bang-up Chargers, they aren’t losing sleep over the Steelers’ injury list.

Maybe Sunday’s game was a snoozer as there was little buzz in the ol’ Mission Valley stadium.

But what was impressive was the Chargers won in a manner which is noteworthy.

The injury card — the first offramp on the highway of excuses — was there for taking. Three offensive starters were out, backup cornerbacks were playing in the fourth quarter, Malcom Floyd and Stevie Johnson were sidelined and we doubt anyone in Draft Kings or Fan Duel had tight end John Phillips on their teams.

“You have to go with who we have left,” Rivers said, scratching his head over the different players being shuffled in and out. “I was getting a personnel group and I was thinking, ‘where are they? This is not them.’ We had to adjust on the run.”

It’s the arm of Rivers that is the constant. With him flinging it around a damp Jack Murphy Field — getting the ball out quick with his body clock accelerated — Rivers willed the Chargers to this win. He threw for three scores and 358 yards with zero turnovers.

He was sensational in making his patchwork offensive line work. He was sacked but twice, hanging in to take numerous body blows to complete key passes.

“We’re so fortunate that he’s our quarterback,” coach Mike McCoy said.

Hopefully this wasn’t the real McCoy Chargers — shoddy run blocking, bad tackling, etc.

But all that is washed away in Monday’s downpour. It’s all sunshine at Chargers Park, after the players dodged a bullet by biting one of their own.
“There were a number of injuries during the game,” McCoy said. “Guys went down.”

And others kept rising, putting their foot on any notion of going 1-3.

“We don’t have to think about that,” said Danny Woodhead, who contributed 138 yards. “We’re happy where we are at now and we have got to prepare for this coming week.”

There’s plenty of work to do.

But it will be done at .500, with No. 85 — Pro Bowl tight end Antonio Gates — hitching a ride.

“We’re acquiring a Hall of Fame free agent,” Rivers joked.

More importantly, Gates is healthy.


+ Contact Jay Paris at Follow him on Twitter at @jparis_sports.



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