WR Vincent Jackson (Donald Miralle/Getty)
A win is a win. Still, there is no underscoring the significance of the Chargers' 30-10 triumph over the New England Patriots on Sunday night -- it meant more than a usual victory.
"It's only one game, but maybe it will kick-start us into a hot streak," quarterback Philip Rivers said.
The Chargers got to 3-3 and revived their postseason hopes.
"The bottom-line significance is it keeps us from being 2-4, which is obvious," Rivers said. "But it gets us into a position that we can -- you can't quite say control our own (destiny) -- still go and accomplish everything we want to."
What the Chargers didn't want was embarking on what Rivers calls the team's "world tour" two games under .500. Instead they travel to Buffalo this week then on to London to face the Saints just one game off the AFC West pace.
"If we were 2-4, that could put you in a bind," Rivers said.
But this win also gave the Chargers' psyche a huge boost. And that can't be discounted considering all the time the Chargers will spend on airplanes and in hotel rooms, contemplating a season that got off to a rough start but could be headed in the right direction.
Beating a team that eliminated you from your last two playoff appearances can do that.
"Emotionally I think it's big," Rivers said. "We had lost to them three (straight) times, and two of them kept you from your dream, your dream season -- the reason why you play, to win a championship.
"So it doesn't change those three, but it's, 'Hey look, we beat them and we beat them pretty handily.' And it means nothing more than getting to 3-3, but it certainly can have its effect if we see them again down the road."
That is when the Chargers would relish a win -- knocking the Patriots out of the playoffs. New England beat back San Diego in last season's AFC Championship Game.
"Now it's kind of like," Rivers said, "we beat them before."
The before- and after-the-game picture of the Chargers heading into this week couldn't look more different.
--To throw deep, which is what Rivers did all Sunday night, the protection has to be spot-on. And it was. "When you're throwing it up the field, you obviously got to have a little more time," Rivers said. "Our guys were awesome up front. They played outstanding, and there's no question about it."