RB Darren Sproles (Nick Laham/Getty)
The Chargers welcome the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday and they do so on a winning roll. After rallying to beat the New York Giants for their third straight win, the Chargers looked primed to once again go streaking.
"It's something that we talked about, gaining that confidence that we have been in the situation before where we went on a winning streak," LaDainian Tomlinson said of the Chargers shedding their 2-3 start to sit at 5-3.
While another NFC East opponent awaits with the Eagles, the Chargers got more than a win when coming back to shock the Giants. It was as much where the triumph happened as why.
"This is how you do it, win in tough places like New York and win games at home," Tomlinson said. "You just keep building that confidence and everybody starts buying into it and believing that no matter what happens you are going to end up on the winning side."
The Chargers have been down this road before in winning three straight AFC West titles. In 2006, they won their final 10 games. In '07, they won seven of their last eight. Last year, they prevailed in their final four games to reach the playoffs.
But this year didn't have a signature victory. Three of the Chargers' triumphs came against the Chiefs and Raiders; they beat visiting Miami but didn't play well in doing so.
That was what made Sunday's win against the Giants so significant.
"We definitely needed a spark," left tackle Marcus McNeill said. "We had to come on the road and beat a good team -- that is one thing we haven't done to this point in the season and we came and beat one of the better teams in the NFL on the road. Whenever you come in and do that it gives you a certain level of confidence but you never want to rest on your laurels because we got a big game against Philly."
But the Chargers will pause ever so briefly and exhale, knowing their dismal start hasn't steamrolled the season.
"That was a good win and it gets us through the first half of the season, and now we got the second half to keep this going," left guard Kris Dielman said.
The Chargers still have blemishes. The running game is no good and the defense has issues, especially on third downs.
"If we don't win that game, it goes, 'Chargers can't run the ball. They can't finish big games. They can't beat a good team,'" Philip Rivers said. "All of a sudden it's reversed."
Kind of like the Chargers' season that not long ago seemed to be a lost cause.
"Our guys have great character and they're awfully competitive," coach Norv Turner said. "That's what it is all about. We have all been in situations where you see the circumstances and a team thinks it is over before it is, but there's no quit in this group."
LINEUP WATCH: ILB Brandon Siler has played well when filling in for Kevin Burnett (ankle) and Tim Dobbins (knee). Siler could be in the starting lineup again Sunday, depending on Burnett's condition. Dobbins, the backup to Burnett, will miss at least another game.
BY THE NUMBERS: 2 - Half of the Chargers' final four games come at home, but only one is against an AFC West rival, the Chiefs.
--OLB Shaun Phillips (ankle) could skip some practice time leading up to Sunday's game.
--ILB Kevin Burnett (ankle) has missed the past three games but could try to practice this week.
--C Nick Hardwick (ankle), who hasn't played since the season opener, has an outside shot of returning this week.
--ILB Tim Dobbins (knee) will miss his second straight game Sunday.
--OLB Jyles Tucker (ankle) likely will miss at least some practice time this week.