By Dave Thomas

When the sun settles over the Rocky Mountains late Sunday afternoon, fans of the San Diego Chargers will know one of two things.  One, the Chargers are alive and well in the AFC West race, trailing the front-leading Broncos by just a game. The other, the Chargers now sit three games behind Denver with six games to go, meaning they have about as much of chance of catching the Broncos as Romney did Obama a week ago Tuesday evening.

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Losers of four of their last five games, the Chargers (4-5) head into the Mile High City this Sunday with one objective and one objective only, win. Whether it is by a commanding performance or they get the biggest break of the season to go their way, the Bolts simply have to win.

If you look back at San Diego’s first nine games, they were truely outplayed in only the home loss to Atlanta back in Week 3.   Even in some hideous second half breakdowns to New Orleans, Denver (the first time this season), Cleveland and even Tampa Bay this past weekend, the Chargers were in all of those games. In fact, they were in position to win all four of those games if a break here or there had gone their way.

Whether it was bad officiating (New Orleans) or mental errors (Denver, Cleveland, Tampa Bay), San Diego could be 8-1. The fact is, however, the Chargers are a game under. 500, essentially clinging to life support.  As a result of losing four of their last five contests, the Chargers’ bandwagon has gotten much lighter over the last month.

What Happened To That 3-1 Start?

After starting the season 3-1, the Bolts had to use bigger tires to carry all the folks who felt this was a team that could make some noise in the AFC this year. Now, many Charger fans are seeking therapy, not to mention being judged by non-Charger family and friends. Quite simply, people want to know what many Charger fans were thinking when they thought this team could be special this season.

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The bottom line with this team for the better part of this season has been inconsistent play. One moment they are on and look like they can play with anyone in the NFL. Another moment, they are getting outplayed by a Cleveland team that may not win another game this season.

So, where does that inconsistency come from, and who should pay the ultimate price for such actions?

It is easy to point fingers at head coach Norv Turner, general manager AJ Smith, and the $90-plus million quarterback Philip Rivers. While those three have cost the franchise some games with their decisions on and off the field, this is an entire franchise collapse fans are witnessing this season.

Some bad draft picks, players not giving their all each and every play, a lack of executing even the basic of fundamentals, the list goes on and on.

The question this Sunday will be if the Chargers lose, does the bandwagon get even lighter?

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