Chargers going in wrong direction, loss to Packers make it three consecutive defeats

Posted: 11/06/2011 in football
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Some of the San Diego Chargers were a bit testy when people were wondering what was wrong with the team’s performance when they possessed a 4-1 record.

Just imagine how touchy they are now with the Chargers sitting at 4-4.

The Chargers lost their third straight game Sunday when they fell 45-38 to the undefeated Green Bay Packers.

That they lost to the Packers isn’t overly surprising. After all, Green Bay is the defending NFL champions.

But this was a chance for the Chargers to make a statement and the overwhelming impression at the season’s midway point is that all the naysayers were correct when they said San Diego’s 4-1 start was due to a soft early-season schedule.

The slate toughened up with back-to-back road games against the New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs before the home tussle with the Packers, and San Diego hasn’t been up to the challenge while slipping back to the .500 mark.

Philip Rivers was intercepted three more times Sunday – he has thrown an NFL-high 14 picks, one more than he tossed all last season – to follow up his inability to run a two-minute drill against the Jets and his costly center-snap exchange fumble that was the key play in losing to the Chiefs.

His shaky play continued against the Packers as Green Bay’s Charlie Peprah and Tramon Williams both returned interceptions for touchdowns. Last time I looked, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers don’t need that type of charity.

Rodgers did his part as well with nearly as many touchdown passes (four) as incompletions (five – he was 21-of-26 passing) and the Packers held off San Diego’s fourth-quarter comeback charge with Peprah’s second interception of the game.

Rivers also threw four touchdown passes – three to Vincent Jackson – but the contest also goes into the books as the first three-interception game of his career.

Yet it is too easy to say the Chargers lost due to the difference of play by the two quarterbacks, and that Green Bay’s turnover-free performance was too much to overcome.

The Packers look, play and act like winners. Simply put, the Chargers sometimes play like winners, occasionally look the part but seldom act like a team truly headed to great things.

They are good at false bravado but not all that proficient at backing up their claims.

The squad has unfortunately taken on the persona of head coach Norv Turner, a guy always looking for excuses as opposed to a leader who accepts responsibility.

On days after losses, you always loaded up on LaDainian Tomlinson press conference quotes because you knew the locker room would be void of players when it was opened to the media due to the NFL’s access policies.

In other words, there’s a lack of high-character, stand-up players in the organization and that too often shows up on game days.

The Chargers are still tied for first place in the AFC West because of the division’s weakness. The Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders also lost Sunday to keep it a three-way tie. The Denver Broncos – who are playing Tim Tebow at quarterback – are somehow just one game off the pace.

On Thursday night, the Chargers can reclaim the lead if they defeat the Raiders. You might recall that Oakland physically beat San Diego twice last season when the franchise had quarterback issues.

The Chargers missed the playoffs last season and missing them again might be the best thing to happen to the franchise.

Turner is hugely unpopular in San Diego – can you imagine him going Christmas shopping at one of San Diego’s packed malls? – and general manager A.J. Smith might have to finally send Turner packing if the franchise misses the postseason for a second straight year.

Either that or they both will flee to Los Angeles for one more try if the franchise opts to relocate to Smogville after the campaign.

Something else to consider is this: Smith and the Chargers front office haven’t yet accepted the team is in decline mode.

In some ways, this is kind of like the 1984 and 1985 San Diego Chargers at the end of the exciting Don Coryell era. Nobody was willing to accept that the organization had missed its Super Bowl window and the Chargers were slow to adjust and were spinning in the wrong direction.

The Chargers were 1-7 at the midway point of the 1986 season and Coryell was fired and they didn’t recover until Bobby Ross was the head coach six years later.

Analyze the current Chargers and you see the same sharp decline in overall talent. Go back and view the talent-laden rosters of 2006 and 2007 and compare it to the current crop of players. It is one ugly comparison.

In many ways, it seems ages ago that the Chargers lost to the New England players in the AFC Championship Game following the 2007 campaign.

The Chargers are no longer a powerhouse squad mentioned among the NFL’s elite teams. The continual dip in performance displays that all too well.

And on this Sunday night, the evidence says the lackluster reviews over the 4-1 start were spot on.

  1. i couldn’t agree more my friend. 🙂

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