DENVER — Tom Flick didn't give it a thought.
If there was a key to what made him so much more effective Sunday than he was in his first start last week, it was shutting off his mind.
Flick was a craftsman in the Chargers' 9-3 win over Denver, completing 16 of 22 passes with just one interception. Last week, he had thrown four interceptions and completed just four passes in a 24-23 loss to Kansas City.
"I was so pathetic last week," Flick said. "In the final minutes of the Kansas City game, I stopped thinking about what I was doing and just played. (The Chargers scored a late touchdown and took the lead, only to lose on a last-second field goal).
"I realized there was no point in getting down on myself, and that helped a lot. It also helped that I didn't over-study the game plan, as I did before the Chiefs game. I think you reach a point of diminishing returns if you study too much."
Flick clearly wasn't thinking too hard when he said this was his best game by 100 miles. With only one game to contrast it with, his point was obvious.
"He was as cool as a cucumber," coach Al Saunders said. "I can't begin to say what a great game he played."
Tight end Kellen Winslow, who had 7 catches for 54 yards, created a stir in Denver during the week when he was quoted as saying the Bronco linebackers were "ordinary." That remark, understandably, didn't go over too well with the Broncos, but they were unable to punish Winslow for his indiscretion.
"Hey, what I said was blown way out of proportion," Winslow said after the game. "I told a TV interview they had a good line and good defensive backs, but their linebackers were average. The next thing I knew, boom, boom, it's in all the papers.
"But I didn't let it faze me. I just wanted to play my game. And this was a very sweet win for us. After all the losses and the transition in coaching, this has to build a lot of confidence."
For field goal specialist Rolf Benirschke, the victory also was meaningful. He had missed a field goal at Kansas City that cost the Chargers a win three weeks ago.
"It was a very emotional moment for me to hear Al (Saunders) talking to us about believing in ourselves," he said. "The thing he has already taught us is, believe in yourself first, then in the team collectively. It takes a strong person to pass the word along."
' . . . I didn't over-study the game plan, as I did before the Chiefs game. I think you reach a point of diminishing returns if you study too much.'--Tom Flick