In a season where it seems that something crazy happens each week, you'd think it would be the Chargers' turn to surprise people in a good way. How many times have we played teams (or watched others play teams) who desperately needed a win. Those teams simply wanted it more. It's been a long time since we've seen the Bolts play that way. Honestly, I would rather see them get blown out then follow their formula of fall behind, fight back and NOT MAKE THE PLAYS TO WIN.
Peter King, who actually picked the Chargers to win, 30-26 on Sunday, wrote on Tuesday about reasons they are in trouble
Here are the five things that worry me about the Chargers in the wake of their second straight late collapse, the 23-20 overtime loss at Kansas City on Monday night:
1. It continues to always be something with this team. Too often, when the games are big (and you have to consider Monday's game a big one -- in the division, with a loss making it a three-way tie instead of distancing the Chargers from the pack), something weird happens. And it's never good weird. Either Nate Kaeding is missing three makeable field goals, or clock management is at a third-grade level, or, this year, end-of-game execution is poor. Too many of the same mistakes, made way too often. That's the sign of a team that'll never win a championship.
2. Philip Rivers' mistakes and mobility. He leads all NFL players with 14 turnovers. One of his picks was a tip job Monday night, and those are simply fluky. But he had an easy pick in the first half dropped by Brandon Flowers, which would have given him three on the night, and his fumble that lost the game in the final minute was absolutely inexcusable. It's a Miracle-of-the-Meadowlands turnover, a clear game-loser. His only job on that play is to collect the snap and make sure no one fumbles, and give Nick Novak a 32-yard chippy to win the game. And he fumbled. Regarding the mobility: Lots of quarterbacks make plays on the move. That's the weakness of Rivers' game. I thought the Chiefs exploited that with flush-rushes Monday night.
3. Left tackle Marcus McNeill. Are you kidding me? Six penalties for a veteran left tackle? Three false starts? McNeill played like he'd never played in a loud stadium before. His six infractions left the Chargers trying to convert on first-and-15, first-and-15, second-and-23, first-and-15, second-and-12 and second-and-20. All night, McNeill dug holes for his quarterback to have to get out of.
4. Giving the Chiefs life. San Diego could have buried the Chiefs Monday night. A season-series sweep (after a Week 3 win in San Diego) would have put the Chiefs down by 2.5 games, in effect, in the West with 10 to play -- including the Patriots, Jets and Bears on the road, and Green Bay at home. Instead of building the 2.5-game lead, the Chargers and Chiefs are in a dead tie with 10 to play.
5. Norv Turner's ability to pull the Chargers out of the rut. That'll be tested now, because the world will come down on the Chargers. The Chargers have played the first half of the season much like Turner's career coaching record: 107-112-1. Green Bay comes to town this week, followed by Oakland on a short week. Turner's going to have to coach memory erasure this week. Can he do it? We'll see.