Chargers have eyes on AFC's 5th seed after 4 straight wins

For the second time in three seasons, the Los Angeles Chargers have put together a late-season four-game winning streak.

In this case though, the momentum for the Chargers is coming at the right time as they are in the playoffs for the first time since 2018.

Sunday's 31-10 victory over the Los Angeles Rams was another game in which all three phases played well.

The offense was balanced with 31 rushing and 31 passing plays, the defense held the Rams to one touchdown and special teams was solid.

“I think that we’ve been practicing really well. I think that each phase has taken a lot of pride in where the improvements need to be made," coach Brandon Staley said. "I think that we’re continuing to improve and play against quality competition. We’re going to need it to keep it going so that we can be as good as we can be.”

Defensive lineman Sebastian Joseph-Day has been one of the veterans stressing to the younger players to treat the final stretch of games like the playoffs.

The 10-6 Chargers have responded to the message. They have won consecutive games by at least 17 points for the first time in five years.

“This is very big for us and our development if we want our team where we want to go,” Joseph-Day said. “We’ve got to not get too excited and also remember that the job’s not finished. Just stay humble and focus on the week.”

With the Chargers' win and Baltimore's loss to Pittsburgh, Los Angeles moved into the fifth seed and would assure themselves of that spot with a win at Denver. The fifth seed is more advantageous since it would be against either Jacksonville (8-8) or Tennessee (7-9).

Staley said he doesn't intend on resting players in the regular-season finale with the fifth seed still up for grabs.

“Our approach is definitely going to get a shot to win this ballgame and play as well as we can play heading into the playoffs," he said. "I think that there’s certainly an advantage to be in the No. 5 seed, from where I stand, so we’re going to try to get there.

“Then, the case-by-case nature of the players, I think that that is the approach that we’re going to take, in terms of whether or not to sit them. If there’s something that we feel like that would be a good decision, we’ll take that case by case.”


The run game. With 192 yards against the Rams, the Chargers have had over 100 yards on the ground in consecutive games for the first time this season. Behind Austin Ekeler's 123 yards, the run game averaged 6.4 yards per carry, their second-highest average in a game this season.


Run defense. The Chargers have allowed nine 100-yard rushers this season, which is a franchise record. They are giving up 5.4 yards per carry, the worst average by a team since the merger.


Kyle Van Noy. The linebacker has a sack in four straight games, which is the longest streak of his career. It is his fourth straight season with at least four sacks.


Alohi Gilman. The safety was burned for a 39-yard reception by Van Jefferson in the second quarter after Baker Mayfield rolled right to keep the play alive.


Safety Derwin James was inactive for the Rams game and remains in concussion protocol. ... Linebacker Joey Bosa played 24 snaps after missing 12 games due to a groin injury.


24.5 — The third-down conversion percentage by the defense in the past five games. The Chargers have allowed a league-low 13 third-down conversions on 53 attempts during that span.


The Chargers close the regular season in Denver, where they have lost in seven of their last eight trips. The only victory in that span was in 2018.


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Joe Reedy, The Associated Press