So the Chargers couldn't throw in the towel if they wanted to — and neither could these players and teams on a gripping Sunday:
•Minnesota's Adrian Peterson, whose recovery from a major knee injury has been stunningly fast, ran for 153 yards and a touchdown in the Vikings' 21-14 victory over Arizona.
Of course, Peterson isn't satisfied.
"There's still a little missing," he told reporters after the game. "You guys probably think I'm crazy, but it is. I feel good. I'm not going to complain. I'm just going to keep working and just keep getting better each week."
•The 6-1 Houston Texans, fresh off a thrashing by Green Bay, bounced back with a 43-13 rout of Baltimore to claim early-season supremacy in the AFC.
•Two Pro Bowl linebackers we thought we might not see this season made their debuts: New Orleans' Jonathan Vilma, who's fighting his "Bountygate" suspension, and Baltimore's Terrell Suggs, last season's NFL defensive player of the year, who was returning from an off-season Achilles' injury.
•On a day when eight of the 10 day games were decided by a touchdown or less, the New York Giants and Washington Redskins played a breathtaking round of "Can you top this?" The teams traded touchdowns in the final 1:32 — Eli Manning answering Robert Griffin III's long scoring pass with one of his own — and the Giants emerged 27-23 winners.
"With our offense and Eli at the helm, we're never too worried," said Giants receiver Victor Cruz, who clinched the victory with a 77-yard touchdown with 1:13 to play. "No matter what situation we're in, no matter how many points we need or a field goal we need, we have the confidence we can do it. We have a lot of confidence in each other, and in Eli."
Manning-to-Cruz came 19 seconds after Griffin, playing in his first game against an NFC East opponent, threw a beautiful 30-yard touchdown pass to Santana Moss. That drive was kept alive by a wild scramble and completion by Griffin on fourth and 10.
But in the end, just as it did so often last season, the game came down to Manning making the biggest plays at the crucial moments.
"He has done it so many times," Giants defensive tackle Chris Canty said of Manning. "He has really bridged his performance in the 2011 season to the 2012 season. It's just more of the same."
There were only two games Sunday afternoon, and both were decided in overtime.
Oakland beat Jacksonville, 26-23, with a 40-yard field goal by Sebastian Janikowski after the visiting Jaguars fumbled the opening kickoff of the extra period.
The Raiders, who dug their way out of a 14-point hole to win, failed to secure the victory in regulation when Janikowski's would-be-record 64-yard field-goal try fell short.
Moments later, on the opposite coast, the Patriots clinched a 29-26 victory over the New York Jets when Rob Ninkovich forced a Mark Sanchez fumble, squelching the Jets' chance to match the Patriots' overtime field goal.
The Patriots are 15-4 in their last 19 games against the Jets, and Sunday's game was the Patriots' first win this season by fewer than 10 points.