By Dave Thomas
Members of the San Diego Chargers organization, not to mention the fans that have followed this team through good times and bad, were probably left struggling to find something positive to say about Sunday’s 27-3 home loss to Atlanta in front of some 61,000 spectators — and struggling may be an understatement.
In a game billed as an exciting matchup between two of the top early-season contenders in their respective conferences, the Falcons took the Bolts behind the woodshed, did a number on them, then left them essentially for dead when it was all over.
What will be interesting going forward is which Chargers team will take the field next Sunday in Kansas City in a battle of old time AFC West rivals. Will it be the one that rolled to pair of wins in its first two games against Oakland and Tennessee, or will it be the one that looked out of sync and nearly void of emotion in the second half on Sunday versus the Falcons?
Yes, all teams lay and egg from time to time during the NFL season, and other teams produce surprising good results on the field. The examples after Week Three of the season are there to see, including:
- Who saw New England falling to Arizona at home in Week Two?
- Did anyone expect the Saints to be 0-3 out of the gate?
- Could you have forecast the Texans, Falcons and Cardinals as the league’s only remaining unbeatens after the first three weeks?
So, there are some surprises early into the season, but nothing may be more shocking to San Diego fans than the performance (or lack thereof) they got out of their team on Sunday.
Hide Sunday’s Report Card Versus The Falcons
Giving the Chargers a report card for this past weekend’s performance would essentially be sending home all F’s. In effect, the Bolts would be trying to find the username/password combo at the school of hard knocks to try and change the grades before management viewed them.
From start to finish on Sunday, the Chargers seemed to be in a fog, perhaps even an abyss.
Turnovers, minimal to non-existent rush on Atlanta QB Matt Ryan (entered game as top-rated passer in the NFL), wide open Falcon receivers, and little to no ability to put together positive drives — yes, the Chargers were guilty of all that and then some.
If there was a bright side to Sunday’s debacle in Mission Valley, it was that the Denver Broncos, probably San Diego’s biggest threat to claiming the AFC West in 2012, also lost. That loss by Peyton Manning and Co. leaves Denver in a three-way tie with Oakland and Kansas City at 1-2 in the division, while San Diego sits a game in front at 2-1.
Do The Chargers Forget Atlanta, Focus On KC?
Yes, speaking of those Chiefs, they are San Diego’s opponent this coming Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium.
It was approximately a year ago that San Diego had a win for the taking in regulation at Kansas City, only to see it slip away in overtime.
Some will point to Sunday’s thrashing at the hands of the Falcons as a sign of things to come for the Bolts. Others, however, will correctly note that a single game does not define a season.
With that being said, the question on the minds of many Charger fans will remain, which team shows up in the nation’s heartland this coming Sunday to line up against the Chiefs?
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Dave Thomas is a freelance writer covering all things Chargers. His work can be found on Examiner.com.