By Dave Thomas
With Christmas just around the corner, there is little doubt the San Diego Chargers (3-10) would like a few gifts from Santa Claus.
Most notably, a short winning streak to end the season would undoubtedly put the Bolts and their fans in a tad bit better mood heading into the post-season. Keep in mind, this post-season will be one unlike any other in recent memory, as Charger fans await to see if their team calls San Diego home once again in 2016.
With Miami (5-8) coming to town for this Sunday’s home finale, no doubt the Chargers would like to end the home season a high note (record of 2-5 at home in 2015).
Two Field Goals In Last Two Home Games
Aside from the off-the-field drama about whether or not the Chargers will be here less than a year from now, there are these little tidbits hanging over the Chargers’ heads:
* San Diego has managed only six points (two field goals) in its last two homes games – losses to Kansas City (33-3) and Denver (17-3);
* San Diego has won only one of its last nine games, the win coming over a Jacksonville team that is under .500;
* San Diego is winless against its AFC West opponents this season (still has remaining games at Oakland, Denver);
* San Diego has not beaten a team with a winning record this season.
If those little tidbits alarm you, also keep in mind that the Chargers are currently tied for the worst record in the NFL (Cleveland 3-10, Tennessee 3-10).
So, where does a San Diego team that had so much promise heading into the season go from here?
It is safe to say that the 2015 campaign will be looked back on for a variety of reasons. Among them:
Philip Rivers – While he has been ineffective at times (INT’s, sacks etc.), the veteran QB has put together some impressive numbers this season. Heading into the Miami game, Rivers has thrown for 3,976 yards and 23 TD’s. Even though Rivers has essentially been working with a limited squad in terms of quality receivers in the last few games, he has marched on. The season-ending injury a few weeks back to wide receiver Keenan Allen (67 receptions, 725 yards, 4 touchdowns) has obviously been a major issue with which to deal with.
Melvin Gordon – Given he was San Diego’s top draft pick (15th overall) in last spring’s draft, the expectations were high for Gordon coming into the season. Call it an ineffective offensive line, Gordon learning on the job or even facing some of the better defenses in the league, but the University of Wisconsin product has not generated the buzz many thought he would. Still, Gordon goes into the Miami game with 600 yards rushing on the season, though zero touchdowns.
Blown opportunities – Even though the Chargers have lost 10 games, there were only a handful (Minnesota, Kansas City the first time around) that they were truly blown out in. On a number of occasions, the Bolts had opportunities to get back into games and send to overtime or even win them. Too often, however, bad offensive calls late in the games cost the team. All one has to do is watch the fourth quarters of games against Green Bay, Pittsburgh, Chicago etc. Winning teams find ways to win in the late stages of games, something the Chargers have certainly not done in 2015.
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.