By Danny Cox
One has to wonder how a team that has looked bad for the majority of the season can come out and destroy a potential playoff team. That same person would then also wonder how that same team can come out and fall entirely flat to a team that had played worse than them for even more of the season.
Nonetheless, that is what happened with the San Diego Chargers. Coming off of a great and dominating victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Bolts went out onto their home field and got absolutely decimated by Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers.
Any small playoff chance that the Chargers may have had was completely and totally dashed as they just looked awful. Mathematically now, the season will be just two more games for San Diego.
Nothing looked right for the Chargers on Sunday, and one has to wonder what type of game plan that Norv Turner had in place. He may have wanted to execute a balanced offense and a vicious defense, but neither one of those happened whatsoever. It may have come from the fact that they dropped in a 21-0 hole before they even had a chance to blink. Playing from behind like that will mess up any team’s game plan, but Turner could get nothing going from his players and it showed. At times, it almost looked as if the Chargers didn’t seem to care out there. Maybe they didn’t. If that’s true, it would match the moods and thoughts of the small crowd in attendance as they didn’t even have the energy to boo most of the afternoon. Grade: F
This…was…horrific. San Diego had a grand total of 164 offensive yards for an entire game. That’s almost embarrassing. No, not almost — it is embarrassing. Running back Ryan Mathews exited the game during the second quarter with a shoulder injury and didn’t return. At this point, everyone thought that Philip Rivers’ numbers would go up due to the Chargers‘ running game virtually dying. That didn’t happen either. Rivers had a mere 121 passing yards on the day. San Diego could get nothing going offensively, and it just added up to a whole lot of nothing. San Diego’s offense ran only 45 offensive plays as opposed to 74 by the Panthers, and that right there shows you who dominated things. Grade: F
Speaking of Carolina running 74 offensive plays, there is no way a team should ever be allowed to stay on the field that long. The Panthers didn’t even have a whole lot of offensive yards (372 total), but they were able to control the clock and keep San Diego’s offense off of the field. San Diego’s defense was able to snag one turnover, but it’s not like the offense could do a whole lot with it. This was just a horrible showing, but one has to remember that a lot of big names are missing from the Chargers‘ defense thanks to injuries. Still, someone has to explain how a defense full of players capable of being in the NFL can allow this. Grade: D+
Kicker Nick Novak enjoyed a quiet day on the sidelines, but connected on his one extra point attempt in the fourth quarter. He never attempted a field goal. Mike Scifres was busy as he punted six times for an average of 48.5 yards and a long of 64. That’s not a bad day for a punter at all. It is a bad day for a team, though, because you never want to see your punter on the field to kick the ball away six times. Michael Spurlock got a little bit of work in the return game, but not much. For what it’s worth, the special teams did what they could with what they were presented. Grade: C+
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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.