By Dave Thomas

There are games you lose, then there are games you really lose.

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After looking back on how San Diego blew a 24-point halftime lead at home against Denver Monday evening in a 35-24 loss, one must surmise the following:

A. The Chargers are an average team at best;
B. Denver is never truly out of a game with Peyton Manning under center;
C. The Broncos are now the clear favorite to win the AFC West;
D. Charger fans that were on the bandwagon after a 3-1 start will be checking into area hospitals with injuries after jumping off;
E. All of the above.

Credit, Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Having bolted to a 24-0 lead going into intermission, San Diego (3-3) managed to sit back and watch Manning and Co. score the next 35 unanswered points, giving them not only a victory, but a ton of momentum going into their bye week.

Yes, there are stats galore, and no doubt those who love to crunch the numbers will sit back and look to see where things went wrong for San Diego and right for Denver (3-3), but the bottom line is the Chargers choked for the second week in a row.

A week earlier in a 31-24 loss at New Orleans, San Diego saw a 24-14 lead go by the wayside in the second half, giving Drew Brees and Co. their first win of the season. In that loss, one could argue that the officials had a say in the Chargers loss, especially on San Diego’s final drive.

On this night in San Diego, however, the officials did not have a genuine say in this loss.

While one would argue that losing to Peyton Manning is nothing to be ashamed of, this was a loss that everyone on that field representing the powder blue and gold should be ashamed of.

Are The Chargers Average At Best?

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Yes, teams do rally all the time in sports, be it on the pro, college or high school level. That being said, good teams know how to finish a game, while average or bad teams oftentimes find themselves in the hole that the Chargers did Monday night.

After six games, is it fair to say the Chargers are an average or bad team at that? Is Denver really the class of a mediocre-at-best AFC West through the middle of October?

It would be easy to give the Chargers a big ‘F’ on several fronts for their performance Monday evening. Norv Turner and his coaching staff, Philip Rivers (six turnovers in all), several receivers not being in sync with the veteran QB, the defense not coming up with the big play down the stretch, where would one start?

With a bye week for the Bolts (play at Cleveland Oct. 28), perhaps the worst loss in recent team history will be there for days to come. The ability to go out next weekend and take it out on someone else will not be there for this group.

When the Chargers role into Northern Ohio later this month, one of two things will happen.

Either the Chargers to a man will put this loss behind them, taking it out on a struggling Browns squad, or this loss will have a ripple effect that will haunt this team for possibly weeks to come.

If you were a betting man, which do you think it will be?

For more Local Football Bloggers and the latest Chargers news, see CBS Sports Los Angeles.

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Dave Thomas is a freelance writer covering all things Chargers. His work can be found on