Chargers display they aren’t Super Bowl worthy, then nonfinisher Cromartie piles on

Posted: 10/24/2011 in football
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The San Diego Chargers are in first place in the AFC West but there are numerous things that point out that the Chargers aren’t a valid Super Bowl contender.

Start with the entire 53-man squad and continue with the current head coach.

The Chargers once again displayed they lack killer instinct by letting an 11-point lead get away en route to a 27-21 loss to the New York Jets on Sunday.

San Diego’s offense isn’t up to its recent standards, its defense doesn’t scare anyone and head coach Norv Turner still can’t grasp clock management.

The Chargers didn’t score a single point in the second half and quarterback Philip Rivers has thrown more interceptions (nine) than touchdowns passes (seven). He is either hiding some kind of injury or he has regressed greatly from last season’s stellar showing.

The Jets were next-to-last in the NFL in rushing and suddenly Shonn Green looked like Matt Snell in his prime and ran for a season-best 112 yards. Former jailbird Plaxico Burress kicked away the shackles and made Antoine Cason look like a lost puppy by catching three touchdown passes. The San Diego defense was also flagged for six offsides penalties.

Worse of all, the Chargers looked like they haven’t practiced the two-minute drill all year with that pathetic final drive in which they wasted time getting lined up, threw two short passes in which receivers had no chance to get out of bounds (to waste even more time) and Rivers ending the drive by heaving a fourth-down pass closer to the Statue of Liberty than anyone wearing Chargers’ garb.

And think, the Chargers had two weeks to prepare for the Jets, who played six days earlier on Monday Night Football.

Perhaps Rex Ryan knows what he’s talking about when he pokes fun at Turner’s lack of playoff success with the Chargers.

But when you break it down, the Chargers are no longer that elite NFL team that kept unraveling in the postseason. They didn’t even make the playoffs last season and they have been a mediocre team when playing away from home the past two years.

Sunday’s loss leaves the Chargers with a 4-7 record over their last 11 games away from Qualcomm Stadium.

Super Bowl contenders win road games. Teams winning just over a third of their away games don’t belong in the discussion.

Perhaps most insulting is that the Chargers can’t even argue with comments made by Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie, who formerly played for the Chargers before wearing out his welcome.

“Honestly, when you’re up by 11 points in the fourth quarter and you can’t even finish the game up?” said Cromartie to New York reporters. “That shows what kind of team you are – a team that can’t finish and that’s been San Diego the whole time. There it is.”

Cromartie, of course, knows a lot about failing to finish.

He’s the lightweight who whiffed on a tackle on the Jets’ Greene in one of those playoff games the Chargers didn’t finish, the one-and-done playoff appearance that ended San Diego’s 2009 season.

In many ways, Cromartie personifies all these Chargers squads that keep folding in key situations – a player who lacks heart and composure when the pressure increases. The funny thing is he thinks it was only the rest of his San Diego teammates that didn’t have what it takes to get over the hump.

But here’s what you need to know about Cromartie: He couldn’t wait to tell everybody how great he was when he was having a terrific 2007 season for the Chargers. He’s a total me-first player who doesn’t grasp the big picture.

In 2008, he got beat constantly while his financial and personal problems were percolating (he has seemingly fathered children in half the states in this country) and suddenly the excuses were flying faster than his very speedy legs.

About a month after insisting he was fully healthy, Cromartie suddenly had a sore hip that had been hindering his play all season.

Guess he shouldn’t have been using his hips so much in his away-from-football time.

So there’s no doubt that Cromartie recognizes football players who don’t finish well – he sees one in the mirror each day.

He saw too many of those players Sunday. All wearing San Diego Chargers jerseys.

The Chargers have a key AFC West game with the second-place Kansas City Chiefs on Monday. They can certainly regain control of the division race with a victory but there’s one thing that shouldn’t be mentioned again.

That’s the Chargers as Super Bowl contenders.

Not with this group of players and certainly not with the current head coach.


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