By Dave Thomas
Although the San Diego Chargers are only three games into the new season, the script is taking on an all-too-familiar look.
It was just a season ago that the Bolts toyed with being a pretty darn good football team, that is only to miss the playoffs for the third straight season.
Whether it was blowing a 24-0 halftime lead on primetime television at home against Denver (wound up losing 35-24) or a week earlier in a Sunday night primetime affair on the road versus New Orleans (was ahead in the second half, lost 31-24), or having the future Super Bowl champ Baltimore Ravens on the ropes at home (only to lose 16-13 in OT), one of the major complaints about the 2012 squad was that it could not finish games. What it ended up doing was finishing the season at 7-9, a finish that ultimately cost head coach Norv Turner and general manager A.J. Smith their respective jobs.
So, flash forward one season later and things are looking a little too similar to last year’s results.
After three games this season, the Chargers sit with a 1-2 record. Sure, there are teams far worse off than the Bolts … teams such as Jacksonville, Washington, the Giants, and Arizona come to mind. That said, this Chargers team could very well be 3-0 if it had been able to finish all of its games to date.
Chargers Start Season on Bad Note
One only has to look at this season’s Monday night opener (31-28 loss to Houston at home) to see that this season started off on the wrong foot.
Holding what seemed like a comfortable 28-7 lead at one point, the Chargers proceeded to watch the Texans run off 24 unanswered points, scoring a victory with six seconds remaining on a 41-yard field goal. As a number of fans exited the stadium afterwards, some were mumbling, some were yelling, while still others were just left shaking their heads. One longtime season ticket holder said that he was ready to unload his tickets for the remaining home games. Yes, this after just the first loss of the season.
Flash forward a week later and the Bolts did everything in their power to give away a game 3,000 miles from home in Philadelphia. Although San Diego would prevail in a 33-30 victory, the Chargers left two potential touchdowns on the field with turnovers (fumbles by Ryan Mathews and Antonio Gates) inside the red zone. Gates’ fumble was even more crushing, this given the fact that he was just about to cross the goal line when he was stripped of the ball.
No Happy Tunes in Music City
With a 1-1 mark, it seemed like the Chargers could certainly go into Nashville this past Sunday and secure a win against a Tennessee team they handled (38-10) a season ago at home.
Leading 17-13 with 15 seconds remaining in the contest, the Bolts watched as Jake Locker hit on a 34-yard scoring pass to Justin Hunter, thus sending San Diego home on a long and disparaging plane ride.
Granted, the NFL season is not even a full month old yet, still, there are some troubling signs for the Bolts.
Unless San Diego puts together the perfect game, it will more than likely not be blowing anyone out this season. That in turn means there are likely to be a number of games in the final 13 of the season that will come down to the fourth quarter.
The big question for Bolt fans is will Mike McCoy, Philip Rivers and company be able to finish off those games?
If not, will a fourth straight season of missing the playoffs finish off any hope there is for turning things around for a franchise that not too long ago was the king of the AFC West?
For more Chargers news and updates, visit Chargers Central.
Dave Thomas has been covering the sports world since his first job as a sports editor for a weekly newspaper in Pennsylvania back in 1989. He has covered a Super Bowl, college bowl games, MLB, NBA and more. His work can be found on Examiner.com.