The wait is almost over for the San Diego Chargers, who earned a bye in the first round of the NFL postseason as the No. 2 seed in the AFC.
The Chargers watched last weekend as eight teams battled it out in the wild-card round. They’ve had a chance to rest and heal injuries, and returned to their normal schedule this week in preparation for a Divisional playoff game at home on Sunday.
San Diego earned its week off by finishing with the AFC’s second-best record behind Indianapolis. The Chargers (13-3) won their last 11 games in a row after starting 2-3.
“You work hard to get to this point,” Chargers coach Norv Turner said. “You work hard to position yourself. You work hard to get the bye and the home game. Now we want to take advantage of that.”
The Chargers took Monday, Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday off last week before game-planning this week.
“Wednesday, Thursday and Friday practices will be very similar to getting ready for a game,” Turner said. “There are some things we can do to shorten it up in areas. I’m very aware of our guys not only being fresh physically, but mentally being fresh and I think we can get that done.”
If anything, Turner knows how to prepare his teams for the postseason. In 2007, the Chargers defeated Tennessee 17-6 in the wild-card round, followed by a 28-24 win at Indianapolis before losing in the AFC championship game to New England.
Last season, the Chargers beat the Colts 23-17 in overtime in the first round before falling to the Steelers in a Divisional game.
The road to the Super Bowl is long, but the Chargers have a shorter route to take this season with the bye week. It might just pay off with a trip to Miami for Super Bowl XLIV.
Johnson joins exclusive club: Tennessee running back Chris Johnson became only the sixth player in NFL history to rush for more than 2,000 yards in a season in the Titans 17-13 win at Seattle in the regular-season finale.
Johnson carried the ball 36 times for 134 yards, and closed the season with 2,006 rushing yards. Additionally, Johnson eclipsed the NFL record for total yards from scrimmage formerly held by Marshall Faulk by ending the season with 2,509 combined rushing and receiving yards.
“It means a lot for me to get to 2,000 yards; only the sixth player ever to do it, and especially that we got the win,” Johnson said.
Johnson joined the 2,000-yard club early in the fourth quarter when he jumped over a teammate for a four-yard gain. Four plays earlier, a holding penalty negated a 62-yard touchdown run by Johnson.
The Seahawks were leading with less than five minutes left to play when Johnson scored his second touchdown of the game on a 1-yard run for the game-winner. Seattle, which held Johnson nearly two yards below his season average of 5.8 per carry, wasn’t going to make it easy for the second-year running back out of East Carolina.
“They told me I wasn’t going to get it on them,” Johnson said about what Seahawks players told him during the game. “Our offense won out in the end. Our goal was to come in and run the ball.”
Johnson also claimed the Titans’ franchise record for rushing yards in a season and the NFL rushing title by 590 yards over St. Louis’ Steven Jackson. He has now gained 100 yards or more in 11 consecutive games, second all-time behind Barry Sanders’ 14, and became the first player in history to have 2,000 rushing yards and 500 or more yards receiving in a season.
Johnson’s play was one of the keys in the Titans ascent from a 0-6 start to an 8-8 finish, the first squad to achieve that in NFL history. “I’m very, very proud of this football team and what they were able to accomplish the last 10 weeks, and the things that we’ve accomplished with our young running back,” Titans coach Jeff Fisher said.
Players who have rushed for 2,000-plus yards in a season:
- Eric Dickerson, 2,105 yards (Rams, 1984)
- Jamal Lewis, 2,066 (Ravens, 2003)
- Barry Sanders, 2,053 (Lions, 1997)
- Terrell Davis, 2,008 (Broncos, 1998)
- Chris Johnson, 2,006 (Titans, 2009)
- O.J. Simpson, 2,003 (Bills, 1973)
Did You Know?
Since 2000, there have been 15 teams that have gone undefeated at home during the regular season. New England and Minnesota did it this season. Of the previous 13 times, five teams went on to play in the Super Bowl with three (New England 2003-04; Indianapolis 2006) winning it.
Ted Olafson contributed to this report.
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