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The San Diego Chargers are finally playing well, while the Buffalo Bills have completely lost their way.
Behind Philip Rivers’ three touchdown passes, two of which went to Antonio Gates, the Chargers kept their playoff hopes barely alive in their 37-10 victory over the Bills Sunday, while eliminating the Bills from playoff contention for the 12th straight season.
The Chargers have won two straight following a six game losing skid to move to 6-7, but a few minutes after their game ended the Broncos beat Chicago in overtime to move into first place atop the AFC West at 8-5. The Raiders are still ahead of the Chargers as well, despite losing to Green Bay sitting at a 7-6 record.
“Until they say we’re done, there’s always a chance,” said safety Eric Weddle, “Even if we were done, we’d be playing our hearts out.”
The Chargers will have to win out and hope they get some help from other teams to have a shot at winning the AFC West, but it won’t be easy as the Ravens, in a divisional race of their own, are up next for the Chargers.
For Buffalo, this marked their sixth straight loss and the final nail in the coffin on a season that started out with so much promise. The Bills started 5-2, but haven’t won in over a month and a half.
“I think the last few weeks we made some progress. Today obviously we took a step backward,” Buffalo quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said. “We didn’t do anything well.”
Both teams came into the game desperate for a win to keep their seasons alive and the Chargers put their foot on the gas pedal and never let up.
Rivers finished with 240 yards on 24 of 33 passing and running back Ryan Matthews continued his good running with 114 yards on 20 carries.
The Bills tried to make it a game when Rivers fumbled a ball that was recovered by Bryan Scott in the end zone for a touchdown that pulled the Bills close at 16-10, but San Diego kept their composure and with a successful fake punt by Weddle, the Chargers were able to punch it in on Antonio Gates’ two yard reception.
“We had a very small window to make that a game and we didn’t stop that drive when they faked the punt,” Chan Gailey said. “We didn’t stop that drive and we couldn’t get anything going offensively consistently.”
After the touchdown on Buffalo’s first play, Fitzpatrick was picked off and it was returned by Steve Gregory for the touchdown to make the score 30-10 and seal the game.
Fitzpatrick finished the game 13 of 34 for 176 yards and two interceptions a far cry from the numbers he was putting up at the beginning of the year.
San Diego will need some help from other teams if they hope to make the playoffs trailing in the AFC West. Their schedule also doesn’t lend itself to them as they face the Ravens, Lions, and Raiders to finish the year. The Bills, now looking to play spoiler have the Dolphins, Broncos, and Patriots remaining on their schedule.