The Chargers Successful Slow Start

The Chargers are 2-1, and you can’t take that away from them. They will finish September with a winning record for only the second time in Norv Turner’s tenure as head coach with the team. Yet, while the team is at the top of the AFC West (tied with the Raiders), fans seem to be equally split between satisfaction and frustration with the teams’ performance over the first three weeks of the season.

For the fans who are happy this morning that the Chargers sit at 2-1, rather than 1-2 or even 0-3 (which, based on performance, would not be a stretch), I can agree that a win is a win is a win. First place, even this early in the season, is better than last place, right?

For the fans who are still frustrated with the Chargers performance through their 2-1 September, I can also agree that this team looks bad far too often. Contenders should not look this sloppy.

In a world where players are crucified for looking beyond the opponent directly in front of them, instead taking it one game at a time, we as fans have the luxury of looking deep into the future, and postulating future performance and game outcomes based on the data we are presented with now. And what we have in front of us is a team who, in my opinion, is really lucky to be sitting at 2-1. They have played three games poorly enough to lose all three games. They have also played just well enough to have won all three games, which may make you feel better or worse, depending on whether you are glass half empty or glass half full kind of fan.

In the Chargers single loss, the team hung-in there with MVP caliber QB Tom Brady and his very mediocre defense and, really, could have won minus a couple of dumb plays. In the Chargers two wins, the team struggled against two 0-3 teams who routinely find ways to beat themselves.

The biggest problem, from a fan’s perspective, is that we have seen this before. We have seen this Chargers team, full of potential, fight and claw to win supposedly easy early season games at home against weak opponents. We have seen injuries pile up early in the year to cause roster disarray and add to slow starts. We have also seen this team go on a run after the fourth or fifth week of the season, only to fizzle out in the playoffs. We’ve seen this story before; it looks all too familiar, and it has yet to end in a spectacular fashion. That is why many fans are so frustrated this morning. So far this looks like a carbon copy of any season from 2007-2010. Should make the playoffs. On pace to disappoint in the postseason.

There is plenty of time to prove the less optimistic fans wrong. One or two good lucky bounces could put this team in the Super Bowl. But, really, it’s hard to figure out who this team is at this point in the season. I think they are contenders, but they have done little to instill any confidence in that belief.

Now, the good and the bad from this weekend:


Ryan Mathews.
He was two yards from his second career 100-yard rushing game, but his two touchdowns are what mattered the most. He looked confident when running the ball, and he looked good in pass protection. Perhaps he will live up to those lofty draft-day expectations.

Vincent Jackson. He didn’t have the receiving yards that he gained last week, but VJ made plenty of key catches in traffic to keep the chains moving. With Antonio Gates out, VJ’s importance to this offense is magnified dramatically.

Eric Weddle. I don’t think he had a great game, but his game-saving interception was HUGE. It was great, and almost surprising, to see a defensive back get his hands on a ball and hang on.

Ryan Succop. His missed field goal was the difference in the game. Thanks field goal kicker!

The Bills beat the Patriots. Hey, I’m just happy to see a team that should have beaten the Patriots actually beat the Patriots. The greatness of the 2011 Patriots is an illusion. Beyond Brady they are not that good, and the Bills are a lot better than they are getting credit for. Stop being surprised that the Bills beat the Pats. Call me a Billiever!


Philip Rivers. I love Rivers. No one has more fun playing football than that guy. That being said, I may have never seen him look worse. There are a number of reasons or excuses for Rivers’ average performance on Sunday, but the simple fact is that he needs to be better. For the record, pretty sure he will be better.

Turnovers. Two more interceptions by Rivers. Two more fumbles by the Chargers (Rivers and Patrick Crayton), which, luckily, were recovered by the home team. Two more turnovers, which could have been four, by the offense puts the team at a –6 turnover ratio.

4th-and-inches. How a team can’t gain a foot is a mystery to me. Now, credit to the Chiefs, they had about 18 guys on the line of scrimmage waiting for a QB sneak. That being the case, I don’t know why they ever ran the play. Call something else!

Are you happy with the Chargers' win over a division rival, or are you more frustrated with the Chargers' performance in their first three games?

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September 26, 2011

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