By Danny Cox
The San Diego Chargers began the 2012 season with two big victories, and it actually looked like things were going in the right direction for Norv Turner and his team. Things opened up with a victory over the Oakland Raiders and then a blow-out 38-10 win over the Tennessee Titans.
San Diego really was looking good, but then the Atlanta Falcons came to town and destroyed them 27-3. At this point, everyone took a half step back and wondered if the 2012 Chargers were going to be exactly the same as the Chargers of the past few years.
Rebounding from the horrible loss, the Chargers traveled to Kansas City and took down the Chiefs with a big 37-20 win. San Diego was 3-1 and sitting up on top of the AFC East, and that was no small task considering the division was expected to one that was overly strong and difficult to win in 2012.
This though, is when things began to fall apart. Actually, this is where things crumbled into the sea, the ocean, and every single body of water that could be found.
San Diego traveled to New Orleans to face off with the 0-4 Saints, but lost in an emotional game in the Superdome. Ok, that can be understood and forgiven. Next up, the Denver Broncos headed into Qualcomm Stadium and completely decimated the Chargers in what is being called one of the greatest comebacks in NFL history.
Alright, that was embarrassing, but it was a good Broncos team led by Peyton Manning. The Chargers had a bye week to recoup and fix any problems they had so that they could get their season back on track.
Needless to really say it, but the Chargers exited their bye week and stunk up Cleveland with a 7-6 loss to the Browns. Now, they were under 500 and if that wasn’t bad enough, injuries were really starting to mount up.
The offensive line of the Chargers was a mess, and as a result of these injuries, Philip Rivers was constantly on the ground and taking a beating in every game. New players were stepping up, but then they were getting injured too. The San Diego Chargers started looking like a M*A*S*H unit and it was hurting in more ways than just physical.
The team was able to rebound and even their record at 4-4 by defeating the Kansas City Chiefs 31-13 in week nine. Little did they know that this victory was the silver lining attached to a storm…no, make that a funnel cloud.
From this point on, four straight losses – including three to AFC teams – virtually sealed the fate of the Chargers in 2012. With a strong AFC field heading for the playoffs, the Chargers weren’t going to make it into the postseason with eight losses, no matter what they did in the remaining four games.
Well, somehow they were able to pull out victories in three of the final four games of the season, but couldn’t get a winning season and also couldn’t get into the playoffs for the third year in a row. This ended up bringing about the course of Black Monday which included the firing of coach Norv Turner and general manager A.J. Smith.
Those two moves have been a long time coming in San Diego. Actually, many fans were wondering if they would ever really happen. Well, they finally have and that means the franchise is looking for new minds to step into two of the biggest positions they have.
There weren’t a whole lot of players that really stood out for the Chargers, so it would be rather hard to pick a team MVP. Ryan Mathews was virtually forgotten and then ended up on injured reserve. Philip Rivers had to work constantly to come back from games in which the Chargers were behind, so his season wasn’t really up to par.
Wide receiver Danario Alexander was a welcome addition and a surprising weapon for the Chargers’ offense. Alexander and Malcolm Floyd are a great wide receiver tandem, but there is a lot more work that needs to be done with the rest of the team in order for them to show their true talents in full force.
2012 was a season that saw the Chargers win their first two games and win their last two games, but the whole middle was a giant mess of mistakes, blowouts, and injuries. Now, the offseason will need to consist of finding a new coach, new general manager, some great back-up talent, a way to utilize the talent they have (Mathews), and a way to keep at least half the team healthy.
2013 can be a success for the Chargers, and my belief is that Turner and Smith being shown the door is the first step in the right direction. Hopefully, those selected to fill their positions will be able to turn this talented team around.
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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.