This past Sunday, the San Diego Chargers trailed the Baltimore Ravens, 30-20, with less than four minutes to go in the fourth quarter. The game, for all intents and purposes, was over, especially since it was in Baltimore.
But San Diego kept believing.
“We knew it wasn’t over,” Chargers defensive end Corey Liuget said on The Doug Gottlieb Show. “We knew we had to persevere a little bit and keep on fighting.”
Philip Rivers found Keenan Allen for a 23-yard touchdown pass to make it 30-27 and then hit Eddie Royal for the 1-yard game-winner with 38 seconds remaining.
Thus, the Chargers won, 34-33, despite trailing at the end of the first quarter, second quarter, third quarter and with less than a minute to go.
Kudos to the offense, and kudos to the defense.
“We just had a mindset of knowing and understanding that we have to get off the field and force these guys to punt,” Liuget said. “They didn’t punt at all in the first half. So we knew for a fact that we had to get off the field and go win and go win on third down.”
San Diego (8-4) has now won three straight after dropping three straight to Kansas City, Denver and Miami.
“It was just the swings of the bat,” Liuget said of the three-game skid. “We didn’t have the luck at the time. The plays we needed to make, we didn’t make. When we needed to stop a team, we couldn’t stop them. Things just didn’t go our way.”
Now, it seems, they are.
“We didn’t change anything,” Liuget said of the defense this past Sunday. “We just understood what we had to do. We had to get off the field on third down. We knew for a fact that if we didn’t, it was going to be a long day for us defensively. Get off the field on third down no matter what. And somehow, someway, it happened. And when we needed it the most in the fourth quarter with the two-minute drive, we were able to pull it off.”
San Diego now turns its attention to a Sunday night home game against New England (9-3). The Patriots are coming off a 26-21 loss at Green Bay but are still considered the class of the AFC.
“It’s because they have Tom (Brady) back there, and they have a pretty good offensive line that is protecting him and doing the best they can,” Liuget said. “This guy has only been sacked 16 times throughout the whole season. You don’t get many opportunities, but when you get them, you got to take full advantage of them. We know for a fact their offense is very simple, but it’s so complex at the same time. We just have to be able to figure something out.”
The Chargers are currently the No. 5 seed in the AFC, but Miami, Kansas City, Buffalo, Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Cleveland are all 7-5.
How many wins will it take to make the playoffs?
“As many as Denver has,” Liuget said of the 9-3 Broncos. “We’re trying to get as many as we need to get in there.”