Long Road Trip Just Got Longer

RB LaDainian Tomlinson (Rick Stewart/Getty)

A long road trip got longer with the Chargers stewing in London this week, awaiting Sunday's game against the Saints in the NFL's International Series.

The Chargers aren't in a jolly mood after falling below .500 -- yet again -- at 3-4 with a disheartening loss Sunday in Buffalo. Immediately after the game, the Chargers took the roughly six-hour plane trip to England.

Despite being far from home, the Chargers can't let their third defeat in four road games linger with the Saints on-deck.

New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees will be looking for revenge against the Chargers. General manager A.J. Smith chose Philip Rivers over Brees, with Brees leaving after the 2005 season and signing with the Saints as a free agent.


QB Drew Brees
Matthew Stockman/Getty

While Rivers had to sit behind Brees for two seasons, the pair were never arch-enemies.

"We pulled for one another," Rivers said. "It was a healthy competition that you really need to push everybody. He knew I was trying to take his spot. And I knew he was saying, 'There ain't no way you're getting it.'

"But at the same time, we were able to encourage and pull for one another and compete and I know it made me better. I would like to hope it made him better as well."

Smith remains comfortable with his decision.

"We think he's a heck of a quarterback," Smith said of Rivers. "He's our guy, and hopefully things will work out for him and he'll have a bright future and wonderful things will happen for him. We think he's great. We think he's terrific."

While the passers will command most of the attention overseas, the Chargers realize it's their running game that needs to find some footing.

Among the reasons for the Chargers' mediocre season is a tepid running attack -- even with LaDainian Tomlinson part of it.

Tomlinson was held under 50 rushing yards for the third time this season in Buffalo. He has rushed for 100 yards but once this season as a toe injury slowed him; the run blocking has also not been stellar, either.

"We need to run the ball better," Tomlinson said. "We're not very good at running the ball. I'm just going to be honest with you."

Truth is, no one has any sympathy for the Chargers' quirky travel schedule.

"I think the fact that there is a bye at the end of it helps," said Rivers, who had three turnovers in the loss at Buffalo. "You see at the end of it we get to take a deep breath and regroup before the second half of the season. I think that can be the mentality and focus, understand 'Yeah it's tough. There's traveling and there's variables and there's all these things.'

"We don't want to get into those because that's the easy way out. 'Oh, it was tough. We had to fly here and fly there.' The team we're playing is having to do the same thing and nobody cares. There's not an asterisk by the win/loss record."

QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's everyone else's show. It's not for our fun. We're there to win a game." -- RB LaDainian Tomlinson, on the team's visit to London.

LINEUP WATCH: Wide receiver Malcom Floyd has taken advantage of increased playing time and will get more going forward. With Chris Chambers missing the past two games, Floyd has caught seven passes for 140 yards and two touchdowns. Chambers, who has been down with a sprained ankle, could return Sunday. But the 6-foot-5 Floyd's reliable hands and him being such a tall target in the red zone won't be forgotten. With Buster Davis having trouble staying fit, Floyd becomes the No. 3 receiver and possibly gets some looks in the base offense.

PLAYER/PERSONNEL NOTES

--WR Chris Chambers (ankle) is expected to start Sunday after missing the past two games.

--WR Buster Davis continues to be slowed by a groin injury. Davis, a first-round pick, has but four catches for 59 yards and was inactive Sunday.

--OLB Jyles Tucker (hamstring) has increased his running load and has a chance of playing Sunday. He has missed the last three games.

--WR Kassim Osgood, a specials team standout, ran some routes with the base offense against the Bills.

--LT Marcus McNeill (ankle) should be fine for Sunday.

--S Eric Weddle (ankle) should be fine for Sunday.

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