Let’s be blunt, the San Diego Chargers’ second half performance against the Denver Broncos on October 15 was one of the most disastrous of any all season. After leading 24-0 at half time, the Chargers simply switched off, let in five Denver TDs and ended up losing the game in a heartbreaker, 35-24.
Post-game, most people predictably blamed QB Philip Rivers. The 30-year-old committed six turnovers, including four interceptions. Two resulted in touchdowns. Even he blamed himself, taking responsibility for his large part in the dramatic loss.
“Ultimately, it starts with me not throwing the ball to the team. A couple of turnovers in the game were very un-dynamic plays. It’s just poor throws.”
But Coach Norv Turner took much of the heat off his Captain, asking the media, the NFL community and the fans to blame him.
“If you want to make this about somebody, it’s not about one of the guys in there. Make it about me. I’ve got to do a better job and make sure we put things in there, and then we’re calling things that have less risk. We may not be quite the same big-play team, but we’re not going to turn the ball over,” Turner told U-T San Diego.
Bottom line, the Chargers were dreadful in the second half. Blame Rivers. Blame Turner. Blame the referees if it makes you feel better! Whichever way you look at it, the Chargers didn’t step up. They were far from the same Chargers team who earlier in the season scored emphatic victories over the Raiders, Titans and Chiefs. The same Chargers team who before the season kicked off was 16-1 favorites to win Super Bowl XLVII.
Heading into Round 7, the Chargers have the bye. Maybe a week off will help them; allow them to get in extra training runs, get back to basics. But then again, perhaps the week off will hurt them even more; halt any progress they may have been making, any hunger for redemption.
Next week they face the Cleveland Browns, a game most would expect them to win. But coming off back-to-back losses (remember the Chargers lost another heartbreaker to the Saints two weeks ago), who knows? Will we see the Chargers who dominated the pre-season, winning three of their four games? Or will we be disappointed again by a team who in the past two weeks has allowed their opponents to score a combined eight second half TDs to their one.
So far 2012 has been a season of ‘50-50’ for the Chargers. Six games, three wins. Outstanding first half performances backed up by dreadful displays in the second. Currently sitting about half way in the team rankings and in terms of chances of making the Super Bowl.
But despite the disappointing games and individual performances, Rivers is, well, optimistic. Some may call it naïve, some may call it unrealistic. But Rivers isn’t about to give up on his team just yet. A team, who despite the frustration of recent weeks, only trails the Broncos in the AFC West on percentages.
“Despite how brutal the losses were, we can be awesome. Whether we do that is left up to us but there’s definitely a lot more good than bad on the field. There’s nothing out there we can’t do or can’t correct. That’s the exciting part. If you correct the bad, we can be really good.”
I guess only time will tell…