Fact: The 2010 San Diego Chargers are snakebit. But can they overcome it? Were the unfathomable mistakes in Sunday's loss to the Patriots enough to end the Chargers' season?
Snakebit (snake′·bit) adjective
Having or characterized by bad luck; marked by a series of misfortunes, mistakes, etc.
I’d say that’s a fairly accurate description of the San Diego Chargers. Google Images even agrees. Look at the screen shot above of what comes up when you search “snakebit”.
There’s the fumbles, the dropped passes, the tipped passes which led to interceptions, the blocked punts, the poor kick coverage, and the injuries – the Chargers just signed their 64th player through just 7 games, five of which are long-snappers! As David said the other day, they have found all conceivable, and even some inconceivable, ways to not win. This type of thing doesn’t happen on its own. The Chargers are snakebit. And the plays that happened yesterday have me thinking this just might not be the Chargers’ year.
3 PLAYS THAT MAY HAVE VERY WELL ENDED THE CHARGERS’ SEASON
Hardly can you pin anything on three plays in the NFL, but these three plays were so almost inconceivable that they’re the perfect plays on which to pin this valley of a season.
Play #1 – You’re Not In College Anymore
On the second play of the second quarter, Rivers completed a 25-yard pass to a rookie receiver. It was former practice squad player, Richard Goodman’s, first NFL catch. And he'll all too soon want to, but never will be able to, forget it because of what followed. Goodman fell to the ground as he caught the ball, placed it on the ground as a Patriot jumped over him, and then he began to run back to the huddle. The problem was, Goodman was never touched down by the Patriots defense. So the ball was still live. The Patriots realized this first and recovered what would officially be ruled a Goodman fumble.
The funniest thing about the play, because we have to find something to smile about, is the celebration of the Patriot, James Sanders, who “recovered” the ball. Oh yes, he certainly deserved a WWE Championship belt after that fumble recovery. You can see the clip here.
"That was kind of crazy," Goodman said, and then he admitted his mistake. "I thought, catching the ball in front of the safety, the way he rolled over me, I felt he'd touched me. The lesson there is, whether I'm down or not down, you hand the ball to the ref."
What’s funny is, that’s the very same thing Norv Turner had told the team and said in a press conference following Ryan Mathews second fumble of the season. You hand the ball to the ref. Are these guys learning anything in practice?
Play #2 – The Backward, er, Forward Pass
Norv’s response to a question about silly mistakes and fumbles: “If you watched the play to Hester, the side judge waives his arms to say incomplete. It’s very clear. Everyone on the field stopped. Then one Patriot started running. Then everyone else started running. But I think some of the guys may have seen the side judge waive his arms and assumed the ball was incomplete. That is not an excuse. We should go get on the football if it’s laying on the ground. But if you look close you’ll see those things I’m talking about.”
The side judge doesn’t show up in this video, but at the 1:02 mark you can easily see that Rivers releases the ball around the 38-38.5 yard line and the ball is headed toward the 37 yard line. Perhaps there’s some obscure rule about the position of the receiver relative to the ball as it’s released, but that rule is nowhere to be found on the great World Wide Web. The ball was moving forward. I’ve heard multiple people call it a clear backward pass. Are my eyes playing tricks on me!? The ball moves forward when I look at it.
Play #3 – You Might Want To Block That Guy
One month ago I issued myself a one-month moratorium on using the term “Special Teams” or anything similar. And considering the way this season has gone, I have the perfect play to discuss as I come out of Special-Teams-Discussion retirement. It doesn’t seem to be getting any focus, but the blocking on the final field goal attempt appears to me to be the reason Kris Brown missed right.
At the very beginning of the clip you can see that the Patriots overloaded their right side and Randy McMichael is left to block two guys. Meanwhile, Kris Dielman is blocking air on the right side. So, the outside rusher for the Patriots, CB Kyle Arrington, comes in cleanly. At :30 mark in the clip you can see that Arrington is centimeters from getting his hand on the ball. Kris Brown probably instinctively felt that and ever so slightly kept his kicking motion to the right. That feels like yet another terrible special teams breakdown. Next time, they might want to block that guy. And I’m not even mentioning the fact that they had a False Start penalty before that that made it a 50-yd try.
I like what Rivers said, “We’re trying to win one game. We’re not worried about where we sit in the Division…We’re just trying to win a game.“ That’s what I’m going to do too. I’m not going to go look at the Chiefs’, Broncos’, and Raiders’ remaining schedules to determine if the Chargers can make the playoffs. I’m going to wait and see what happens against the Titans. Then, maybe I’ll decide if I want to look forward.
I don’t see this as the end, because I’m not looking for the end. The only thing I want to end is these stupid mistakes. But what about you, do you think Sunday’s loss to the New England Patriots was the end of the Chargers’ season?
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