The San Diego Chargers had everything working against them on Sunday. But they're used to having their backs against the wall by now.
San Diego was forced to play against the Cincinnati Bengals on the road. The weather was below 50 degrees on game day. Cincinnati scored 34.4 points per game at home in the regular season. The Bengals were undefeated at home this season.
The Chargers shouldn't have even been playing on Sunday. A week earlier, San Diego barely qualified for the playoffs after Kansas City's Ryan Succop missed a 41-yard field goal that would have eliminated them.
Given that extra chance, the Chargers did not care about any of the obstacles at Cincinnati. Despite having so many factors working against them, the Chargers stepped up and pulled off a surprising a 27-10 wild-card victory.
San Diego advance to play against the Denver Broncos next week.
The Chargers can thank their defense for Sunday’s improbable win.
Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton is known for his postseason struggles, and the Chargers exploited him. Dalton completed 28-of-50 passes for 331 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Dalton also lost a fumble. All of his turnovers happened in the second half.
Coach Marvin Lewis is winless in five playoff games in Cincinnati during his 11-year tenure with the Bengals.
The Chargers mostly kept it on the ground against the Bengals. Philip Rivers attempted just 16 passes, had 128 yards, but the Chargers rushed for 198 yards. Ronnie Brown and Danny Woodhead each rushed for touchdowns.
San Diego got into the playoffs with an amazing series of events that culminated with the Chargers winning in overtime after Succop's miss in Week 17. Now they're one of eight teams still alive in the postseason.
Not bad for a team that barely made the playoffs.
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