Please stop me if you have heard this one before, but the San Diego Chargers were defeated by the visiting Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday at Qualcomm stadium. The 20-13 loss is not what is killing all of us but it’s the percentage of games the team have lost, how they went into halftime with a 13-10 lead, and the anemic play that led to the loss. With finals on the minds of so many in school, let's do some analysis and give grades
to this week's Chargers performance.
The one huge reason why the offense gets an D: they have trouble scoring an actual touchdown. This would be the third time this season that they have failed to get into the end zone. You can’t win football games if you can’t score a touchdown and this team can't seem to do either. The Chargers scored 13 points in the 2nd quarter which is good, but nothing in quarters 1, 3, and 4 and that is bad. Philip Rivers actually had a pretty good run in the first half as he was the team's leading rusher with two carries for 20 yards. Ryan Mathews had nine carries in the game for 26 yards. The offense allowed four sacks in the game, including a strip-fumble of quarterback Philip Rivers that pretty much put the nail in the coffin. Speaking of sacks, for those keeping score, Rivers now has 36 sacks.That's second in the league behind Aaron Rodgers and more than Eli and Peyton Manning COMBINED!
The Chargers defensive line was the lighting bolt that the team and the fans wanted. The defense, who are in the "fighting for their job" phase of the season, held star QB Andy Dalton under wraps for much of the first three quarters, including a scoreless third quarter.Chargers fans had hope when LB Demorrio Williams intercepted a Dalton's pass intended for AJ Green and ran it in for a 31 yard touchdown. Their lackluster job in the fourth quarter stopped them from getting an A grade (and a possible cause for expulsion). They failed to stop Dalton in the final 15 minutes of the game when it mattered. Dalton scrambled up the middle for a 6-yard touchdown with 4:11 left for the win. The fact that they held Dalton to 25 completions on 39 attempts for 211 yards and one TD with two INTs was bittersweet for a win that the defense helped give away. But with injuries and not getting rest after each possession it’s no wonder, that the defensive line could only hold on for 45 minutes of football compare to the full 60. When the offense goes three and out all the time.
Special Teams: C
The team had some problems on special teams as Punter Mike Scifres could only down one of five punts inside the 20 yard line. Ok, one of five in anything isn't special. The good news is that team captain Darrell Stuckey will be testing his injured hamstring on Wednesday. The field goal unit was almost perfect as Kicker Nick Novak made 2 of 3 field goals and got the team 6 points, but when he missed a 54 yard field goal with 2:41 to go in the third quarter it looked like the game would end.
You shouldn't be surprised that Coach Norv Turner has gotten a failing grade because he has continued to fail as the team's head coach. He seems to be making mistakes in managing the game on a weekly basis.
Could he be already planning for a long summer vacation...in December? Every week, you think it can't get any worse, but he manages to surprise you. He is also the team's offensive coordinator calling the plays, including a lot more passing plays than should be needed with the running back talent available. It makes all of no sense to have Rivers constantly throwing when the Offensive line is a joke that lets him become a concussion story waiting to happen.The Chargers have lost seven of their last eight games and will only make the playoffs if teams go on strike again, but allow the Chargers to play against themselves. You can hope for a wild-card berth, but your family may call for an intervention. They're likely to miss the playoffs for the third season in a row which likely has Coach Turner and GM A.J. Smith checking Craigslist ads about now.
While it's fun to blame Norv and A.J. for the disappointing season thus far, let's remember who's at the head of the table and cuts this turkey. Dean Spanos hired these guys, stuck by these guys despite their constant failures and has done little to inspire loyal Charger fans that things will change. You never hear about conversations with other coaches or GMs. ESPN never associates a top coaching prospect or GM to the Chargers. No, because they expect more of the same.Just as players like Vincent Jackson were allowed to leave because of low balling, it's almost a consensus that Spanos won't put out the big bucks to lure a Gruden, Cower or even a Sabin to the 619. There's been no movement on a new stadium and no efforts to cease speculation that soon the blue and gold will be running plays in Los Angeles. Spanos seems disinterested that the fans have begun to turn the other way with the games being blacked out for the second straight week and the third time this season. With so much uncertainty, perhaps it's time for ownership to be transferred to a new school, so the fans can enjoy a quality product that we all deserve.
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