Chargers real deal

ROB LONGLEY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:22 AM ET

INDIANAPOLIS -- The scoreboards at either end of the RCA Dome blared the big bold numbers: 13-0.

But this time, it wasn't for the Indianapolis Colts record.

This was the halftime score and, for once, the home side was both losing and not looking good.

Teams, especially the San Diego Chargers, know better than to sit on a lead against the Colts. And just as they did a year ago, the Chargers almost blew it in a thrilling second half.

But with a physically dominating performance, especially on defence, the Chargers were full value for their 26-17 victory.

In the jubilant San Diego locker room, offensive lineman Nick Hardwick said the team took pride in messing with history.

"The next time a team goes 13-0, they're going to rewind back to this game and show how we broke it up," Hardwick said.

They might be doing it in the weeks to come as well, as the Chargers found a way to slow the Colts' offence and, more importantly, to get to quarterback Peyton Manning.

"We were stopping them all day," Chargers linebacker Donnie Edwards said.

Manning completed 26 of 45 attempts for 336 yards, which at first bite sounds good. But he was also picked off twice and sacked four times, and many of those incompletions were sloppy efforts while on the run.

The Colts had entered the game having scored points in 31 consecutive quarters and hadn't trailed since they played the St. Louis Rams on a Monday nighter on Oct. 17.

But when the Colts were forced into a three consecutive three-and-outs in the first quarter, it was clear they were in for a fight.

On offence, the Chargers were able to move the ball on the Colts, especially in the first half.

"When you look at them on film, they play soft underneath and try to keep everything in front of them," quarterback Brees said.

Like Manning, Brees had his struggles as well. With his team comfortably ahead 16-0 in the third quarter, an interception and a fumble deep in his own territory led to back-to-back Indy touchdowns.

"We knew that even if we got up early, the Colts have the ability to score and score quickly," Brees said.

With the win, the Chargers stayed in the thick of the AFC playoff race heading into two tough divisional contests against Kansas City and Denver to close out the season.


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