WR Vincent Jackson (Donald Miralle/Getty)
In baseball, momentum is only as good as the next day's starting pitcher. How about in football? Waiting seven days to play again can seem like an eternity after a win.
"I think so, but you have to go with it," Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers said. "It doesn't just happen. We got to go do it."
The Chargers will discover Sunday just what are the benefits to their recent spanking of the Patriots. With a road game in Buffalo -- and then a scoot to London -- on deck, the Chargers are hoping momentum rides along.
But Rivers knows it's not as easy as snapping one's fingers.
"It's not just, 'Hey, we played not a complete game but a better game as a whole, all three phases. Now we've got it. Now this is the Charger team we knew we could be,'" he said.
But a look at the Chargers' effort Sunday was a peek into what was expected: a high-octane offense spearheading a sound defeat over another top AFC team.
Among the reasons for the production was a stellar showing by Rivers. He racked up 306 passing yards and tied a career high with three touchdown passes. With keen protection, he was able to complete nearly 67 percent of his passes while collecting a season-high rating of 141.9.
"Certainly there are plays in games and types of games, types of wins that can kick-start you and get you on a roll," Rivers said. "Hopefully that was the one (Sunday). There were some plays in that game that can certainly cause you to go on a little spurt."
The Chargers will be spending 11 days away from Chargers Park starting Sunday. Excuse them for leaving one of the moving crates empty, saving room for their freshly minted momentum.
--QB Philip Rivers put in his best game of the season, throwing for more than 300 yards and for three scores. Rivers was content to throw some of his passes in a jump-ball way, banking on tall receivers Vincent Jackson and Malcom Floyd to come down with catches thanks to their size advantage. But Rivers was also crisp on the underneath stuff. Plus he's playing well minus a prolific running game -- impressive.
--RB LaDainian Tomlinson looked as sharp and ran as crisply as he has since hurting his toe early in the year. He was getting to the linebackers and secondary in a quicker fashion, and the result is the Chargers hoping they aren't far behind in getting that part of their offense on track. Tomlinson still had just 74 yards on 20 carries.
--RB Darren Sproles returned a punt 28 yards and brought back a kickoff 23 before tweaking his ankle; he gained 17 yards from the line of scrimmage. Sproles should go this week.
--TE Antonio Gates bounced back with a four-catch, 35-yard game that included a scoring reception. He had snagged only one pass the week before. Gates is looking better after being slowed toe and hip ailments.
--WR Vincent Jackson stepped up big-time with Chris Chambers out and had one of the better games of his career. Jackson had 134 yards and a touchdown on five catches. He's starting to play with more confidence, and QB Philip Rivers is looking his direction more.
--WR Chris Chambers was close to playing Sunday night, but he gave his ankle one more week. He's expected to play Sunday in Buffalo.
--WR Malcom Floyd took advantage of the playing time with Chris Chambers out and caught a touchdown pass and gained 75 receiving yards. Floyd has often been the odd man out in the receiving rotation, but he has always been on the same page with QB Philip Rivers since their days of being backups together. Floyd didn't hurt his standing going forward with his game against the Patriots.
--WR Buster Davis didn't play after hoping he could nurse a groin injury through the game. The Chargers' patience with last year's first-round pick has about expired; they are growing weary of nagging injuries keeping him on the sideline.
--FB Jacob Hester has been aching to get on the field, but the rookie didn't shine Sunday night. He got one carry, and he fumbled the ball away. However, he continues to contribute on special teams.
--FB Mike Tolbert got through the game OK. He has been slowed by a sprained ankle of late.
--OLB Jyles Tucker is hopeful of playing this week after injuring his hamstring Sept. 28. If Tucker goes, Marques Harris would return to a backup role.
--LB Anthony Waters, who usually plays inside, got on the field at the outside spot Sunday. It was Waters' first game, as he's had a challenging road coming back from a knee injury he suffered his last year in college.
--CB Quentin Jammer tried to deflect praise, but he was effective in shutting down Patriots WR Randy Moss on Sunday night with a solid all-around game. He had an interception and a game-high five passes defensed.
--DT Jamal Williams was a force in the middle, playing his best game of the season. It's been a slow climb for Williams after two knee surgeries and 11 years in the trenches, but his game is rounding into shape as he continually took on two run blockers or collapsed the pocket with his push up the middle.
--ILB Tim Dobbins has taken over Matt Wilhelm's starting spot. Dobbins is seen as a more physical player against the run, although he had only one tackle in the win over the Patriots.
--ILB Matt Wilhelm is still seeing plenty of action, usually on throwing downs when he can drop back into coverage. Despite not starting for the first time this season, he had six tackles.