By Danny Cox
Norv Turner and the San Diego Chargers have just four games left in his sixth season as coach. The way things are going though, Turner may only have four games left in San Diego completely. Another week has now gone by, and that includes another loss and another blown fourth quarter lead.
The Cincinnati Bengals didn’t play great for the entire game, but they played well enough. They also didn’t have to worry too much about doing things on their own because the Chargers came right out and did it all for them. Not only did the Chargers allow the go-ahead score with only 4:11 left to play, but they also turned the ball over twice in the final 3:54 of the game.
Sometimes, teams just have to sit back and stop wondering if other teams are better than them. Sometimes…teams just have to wonder, “Maybe it’s us.”
Norv Turner is all but out the door in San Diego, and the final four games of the season are mere formalities. He has coached this team to its third non-winning season in five years and they are on course to missing the playoffs for a third straight year. This marked their fourth straight loss and seventh out of the last eight games to move them to 4-8 on the season.
Looking at this game though, things were just ugly. The Chargers didn’t score an offensive touchdown for the third game this season, and were completely shut out in the second half entirely. Nothing was working at all for San Diego, and that includes something that the coaching staff and organization did during the offseason – the pick-up of wide receiver Robert Meachem.
Meachem had zero passes thrown to him for the second time this season, and he is turning into a complete and total bust.
Turner can’t make a decision that works to save his life anymore. Problem is, right now, he should be trying to at least save his job and that just doesn’t even look possible.
“Anemic” is the word that could be used to best describe what the Chargers are doing on offense lately, and it continued against the Bengals. Less than 300 yards of total offense were gained again with a mere 46 coming on the ground. Ryan Mathews had only 26 yards on nine attempts for the whole game. The Chargers only had 11 rushing attempts entirely, but two of them were scrambles by Philip Rivers.
Rivers threw 48 passes for 280 total yards and an interception. That doesn’t look all too bad, but he failed to find the end zone. Again though, the injured and thrown-together offensive line of the Chargers was a huge issue. They allowed four more sacks of Rivers this week, for a loss of 29 yards.
Rivers also fumbled twice, losing one. Both turnovers came in the game’s final four minutes and sealed San Diego’s fate.
One of the remotely small bright spots from last week was the defense of the Chargers, but their light dimmed a lot against the Bengals. Forcing three turnovers keeps their grade from being much lower, but they still gave up 339 total yards and registered only one sack.
The Bengals took the opening kickoff and marched 91 yards downfield for a 19-yard scoring pass to Jermaine Gresham. The go-ahead touchdown came on a busted screen play that Andy Dalton ran in for the score.
Demorrio Williams was a bright spot as he returned an interception 31 yards for a touchdown, but he was the only Charger to find the end zone at all.
There really isn’t a whole lot to say here. Chris Carr had three kickoff returns for 63 yards. The Bengals punted three times, but the Chargers didn’t return a single one of them.
Punter Mike Scifres had a great game with five punts for 230 yards and an average of 46.0 yards per boot. No team really wants their punter to have the game of their life though.
Nick Novak connected on two of their field goals, but really could have used that final one to help out his team.
There’s not a whole lot that can be said here for the entire Chargers‘ team as a whole. The first half of the game wasn’t bad, but the second half brought about doom and disaster in one huge serving. Chargers fullback Le’Ron McClain probably said it best:
“We were flat as hell the second half.”
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Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. His work can be found on Examiner.com.