The enigma that is the 2011 Chargers proved again on Sunday that they are good enough to win and equally bad enough to lose every game this season. That’s hardly a ringing endorsement for a team that had such high post-season hopes when the season started. Following Sunday’s loss to the Green Bay Packers, the Chargers find themselves exemplifying the dictionary-definition of the word mediocre, yet still find themselves in a virtual tie for first place in the AFC West.
What do you make of a team that could have won every game they lost, and vice versa?
Most obviously, you have to say they make too many mistakes. Three more interceptions and two more fumbles (which, luckily, were not lost), compared to no turnovers for the Packers. Eight penalties for 64-yards compared to five for 33-yards the Packers. And that doesn’t count random dropped passes and missed blocking assignments.
You have to expect some mistakes in every game- even the Packers weren’t perfect. But the Chargers make too many mistakes far too often, and they are killing this team. It’s hard enough to try to compensate for injuries and poor match-ups (i.e. a rookie corner against any Packer receiver). But the Chargers could have come out winners yesterday if they weren’t also trying to overcome for the usual tsunami of game day gaffs.
The Stats: Just look at the stats, aside from the final score of course. 385-yards for Rivers. 141 for Jackson with 3-touchdowns. 142 total yards for Tolbert. 8 receptions for Gates. 4 sacks for the defense, the most against the Packers this season. It was a positive for fantasy football owners everywhere. And meaningless in the standings.
Darrell Stuckey: The 2010 4th-round draft pick was drafted as the safety of the future, but lately has been making his impact felt on special teams, with his best game of the year coming against the Packers on Sunday.
Injuries: Or a lack thereof. With a number of stars on the sideline, the Chargers have to be happy with their relatively healthy finish to yesterday’s game.
Norv Turner: This is hardly a ringing endorsement for the head coach, but it’s very hard to pin this loss on him (as I’m sure a lot of people will still try to do).
Philip Rivers: His stat line looks great except for the three interceptions that absolutely changed the game. His continued streak of inaccurate passing and poor decisions cost the Chargers the game.
The Defense: I give the defensive unit a ton of credit for playing a tough game against, without question, the best quarterback and overall offense in the NFL. The touchdowns given up by the Chargers’ offense were the difference in this game. Still, is it too much to ask that they force more than one punt from the Packers? Even a second punt could have given the Chargers the game. Also, the 5+ yards rushing per carry didn’t help.
Starting Marcus Gilchrist: Notice I’m not knocking Gilchrist directly. He is way too young and inexperienced to be expected to contain the best offense in the NFL. I don’t know that Cason would have been much better, but I have to think that his experience could have made a difference. At least Cason couldn’t have been much worse. Gilchrist’s time will come, but that time is not during a playoff run this season.
Green Bay West: The fans who sold their tickets to Green Bay fans, combined with Chargers ticket sales that made it easy for them to get into the game all contributed to this loss. If you are a Chargers fan who sold tickets to a Cheesehead, you have no right to complain about the results on Sunday.
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