Monday, October 15, 2012

Monday Night Massacre in the 619

I’m still feeling numb thinking about that Chargers game. Not angry, not frustrated, not even smarting from my teams (Dallas and San Diego) having a combined 4 straight stomach-punching losses. Just numb because this is a new low for a Norv Turner team and that’s saying a lot.

A 24-0 lead at home. Gone.  Fire to finish? Non-existent. Somebody as a calming, firm presence? Nowhere to be found. Philip Rivers looking like a steady leader? Nah man.

I left work with the Chargers up big at halftime. I was puffing out my chest thinking we’re going to see Peyton Manning locked up and owned by San Diego once again. I was wrong.

What I saw qualifies as the worst regular season Chargers loss in my 10 years as a fan. And that’s saying a lot considering there have been at least 2-3 gut-punching games a year. This was a slow descent from Mt. Everest to Death Valley with unbelievable mistakes that just symbolized this era of Charger football.

Philip Rivers looked like the long lost brother of Tony Romo. Six turnovers (4 INTs and 2 fumbles) says you panicked and didn’t stop until the end. Rivers and Romo have been the quarterbacks of my teams since I left college and right now, I’m seeing them brilliantly flame out.

Over the last two years, both Rivers and Romo have played like dog crap. Romo’s goodwill has been long gone. Rivers is getting there. His window for greatness isn't slamming shut, it's about to be locked and left in the past.

The Chargers running game left when LaDainian Tomlinson went to the Jets. I know Ryan Matthews rushed for 1,000 yards last year but I don’t see him as the true lead back who has asserted himself. It's a shame that I know Mike Tolbert and Jackie Battle more because while Matthews is still young, I haven't seen a sign that he can carry the load. Yet the team hasn't drafted quality offensive linemen over the last few years so that explains why Matthews (and LT his last years) have to fight for yards.

The defense looked lost and lifeless. Where’s the passion after playing so well in the first half???? Where’s the commitment to finish?? Eric Decker trucking defenders on the way to the end zone??? Real talk, the Chargers D hasn’t been the same since Ron Rivera left to be the Panthers head coach.

Norv Turner is incapable of firing up a team or keeping a team poised. But none of that’s new. I’ve said for years that Norv needs to be fired and somehow after 2009, 2010 and 2011, he’s kept his job. He hasn’t changed. He’s a horrible coach and a great offensive coordinator. He’s a terrible leader. He’s only the team because he’s a cheap hire.

Which brings me to management. If they were truly committed to winning, they’d go get a great coach. They’d realize Turner has been the common factor in disappointment. They haven’t been to the playoffs since 2009. If they could fire Marty Schottenheimer going 14-2, they can fire Turner after three straight seasons of supervising lifeless games.

They let Drew Brees go, albeit for Rivers to grow. They let Darren Sproles follow Brees to New Orleans and he’s thrived there. Antonio Cromartie is making plays for the Jets. Just bad decisions that have come back to haunt them.

Technically this might be the worst regular season collapse in NFL history. The only good thing about it? It wasn’t in the playoffs. But losing to a division rival at home like that? After losing to the Saints in embarrassing fashion on national TV the week before??? It’s enough for me to wonder what more it will take for a change in direction.

Respect to Peyton Manning being dang near perfect in his execution. Respect to Denver showing more heart and energy. I’m just dumbfounded how a team could play that poorly at home.

Then again, these are the Norv Turner/AJ Spanos-led Chargers. Leaders in disappointment since 2007.

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