Flexible organizations with an ability to adapt down the stretch are often the teams that overachieve in January. Right now, that's the San Diego Chargers.
San Diego's offense established itself early Sunday, controlling the Bengals along the line of scrimmage and carrying the rock 20 times against a Cincinnati defense that consistently dropped six and seven men into coverage. Over the first two quarters, quarterback Philip Rivers attempted just six throws to finish 12-of-16 passing on the day for a mundane 128 yards.
Nobody's trying to take the ball out of Rivers' hands, but his 25.2 attempts over the past five games are down from the 37 throws per outing he attempted over his first 12 starts. The game-plan shift speaks more to a strategy tweak by coach Mike McCoy, who has used his stable of running backs -- led by Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead -- to control the clock and play to his roster's strengths.
San Diego has specialized in hurting opponents with clock-chewing drives this season. It swallowed half of the first quarter against Cincy with a 12-play, 86-yard touchdown march, giving the Chargers a league-leading 40 drives of 10 plays or more on the year. Seventeen of those have resulted in touchdowns, tying them with Denver.