The Chargers players and staff all became average fans this Sunday after getting their week of work completed early in Thursday night’s win. San Diego had plenty of rooting interest across the league during week 15’s slate of action, but unfortunately none of the eventual outcomes were favorable for the Bolts.
Without question the game first and foremost on the wish list for the Bolts lied in St. Louis on Sunday where the Kansas City Chiefs battled their in-state rival Rams in a match-up of AFC West versus NFC West leaders. The football hasn’t been pretty all season long on the left coast for the NFC while the Chargers’ home in the AFC version has getting better of late. Despite newfound Rams’ fans in San Diego for this weekend only, St. Louis was defeated by the Chiefs 27-13 keeping the Bolts on the outside looking in for the AFC West crown.
Other action appealed to fans of the Bolts as well with the Wild Card race potentially tightening up with some assistance. Alas that failed to break in favor of the Chargers as well with both the New York Jets and Baltimore Ravens prevailing against very difficult opponents. What all of these results boil down to for the Chargers is that in all likelihood, reaching the playoffs without winning the AFC West is a highly unlikely scenario with the way things currently stand.
The only possible silver lining to this weekend for fans to look at is with the Indianapolis Colts’ win over the Jacksonville Jaguars each of these teams has the same record as the Chargers. As they currently stand, Indy and Jacksonville are tied atop the AFC South division and one of them will host a playoff game come Wild Card weekend. San Diego has defeated both teams during the course of the regular season thus if they prevail and ultimately win the AFC West, the Bolts would get the lesser seed in the opening weekend of the postseason.
This is clearly a small consolation considering that the possibilities are down to the Jets, Ravens, and Pittsburgh Steelers vying for those two Wild Card spots, but at least the Chargers would get the weaker opponent by record should that situation arise.
All of these hypotheticals are obviously contingent upon whether or not the Bolts can finish off the regular season with two more wins and if the Chiefs falter in either of their remaining home games with the Tennessee Titans in week 16 or the Oakland Raiders in the season’s final week. If the team had simply taken care of business in the earlier weeks of the season this wouldn’t be a concern, but their patented slow start has yet again crippled their potential playoff aspirations.
Head Coach Norv Turner must again shoulder the blame for the team’s lackluster beginning to the season. No one is really sure of the phenomenon that is Turner’s coaching style and what makes it so conducive to sleepwalking through the first four to six weeks of the season, but there is no arguing the trend that has emerged.
With the team still more than alive for a division title and an opportunity to make a deep run in the postseason, it is premature to make dramatic proclamations concerning Turner’s job security moving forward. Still the question hangs over his head like an axe poised to drop if the Bolts fail to make the playoffs: will Turner finally be relieved of his duties as the team’s head coach?
Making the playoffs is obviously the number one priority at this point for the Bolts and their recent surge is a step in the right direction on that front. Ron Rivera’s defense is playing rock solid, Mike Tolbert and Ryan Mathews are finally healthy and running for big chunks of yardage, and Philip Rivers is just delivering the rock to the open man each and every snap. Defense and running game wins championships as they always say and in the cold weather of January, the Chargers have a great combination when it comes to those two aspects.
Finding a way into the postseason is going to be a bit more difficult sans all-world tight end Antonio Gates who has been unable to play in recent weeks due to a painful plantar fascia injury. As Rob pointed out in an earlier post here on BOLTHYPE, it is likely now that Gates will sit out the remaining two regular season games in hopes of feeling a bit better should the Chargers reach the playoffs. Rather than jeopardizing any possible chance to suit up if the Bolts make it to January football, this decision seems wise for both Gates and the organization on all fronts.
The message for fans should be grab your cheerleading outfits as the Bolts need some help from the Titans or the Raiders in the final two weekends of football. It goes without saying that the Bolts themselves must maintain their rhythm to make a playoff run possible and this team knows that they can only control the outcomes of their own contests. Desperate times call for desperate measures however, so grab your Titans and Raiders gear!
Let’s hear from you. Which team is more likely to give the Bolts the help they need, the Titans or the hated Raiders? If this team fails to make the playoffs, can Norv Turner really be the coach needed to take this team to the Super Bowl? Do you agree with the team’s decision to likely sit Antonio Gates for the final two regular season games? With the number one defense in the league and a running game on fire, do the Chargers have the perfect recipe going for some serious playoff success if the cards fall their way? Please give your take below in the comments section!
Labels: NFL Season 2010 Week 14
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