COSTA MESA, Calif. -- When the Los Angeles Chargers were sitting at the bottom of the NFL, winless after four games, questions should have been being asked. Cracks in the team's foundation should have started to show.
The losing streak had essentially eliminated them from postseason contention since only one team in modern NFL history had recovered from such a horrendous start.
The Chargers, it seemed, were in for a long slog to mediocrity at best, and disaster at worst. But for Anthony Lynn, the team's first-year coach, the problems were only going to be temporary.
"When we started out that way," he said Monday, "I really wasn't as concerned as maybe I should have been."
Strangely enough, neither were the players.
The typical signs of frustration -- inconsistent effort, finger pointing, hordes of players hiding out in the training room -- it didn't happen.
When faced with total disappointment, the team didn't flinch.
"We've been through it before," quarterback Philip Rivers said.
Nine weeks later, the Chargers are one of the hottest teams in the NFL and definitely the hottest team in the AFC West, somehow tied for first place with the Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders. They are in the thick of the wild-card race.
They are in this position, in part, thanks to their shortcomings in San Diego.