There are going to be some people who contend that this overtime loss isn’t that big a deal. There will be those who say that this team was still good enough to beat Denver and come within a missed call of doing the same to Seattle. Not I.
I mean, look at the Chargers. They are not a good team. 2-4 heading into this game. Have a complete and total inability to hold a lead. Mike McCoy is said to be a bust of a coach. Well, apparently this bust of a coach out-coached Dan Quinn.
Why? Well, for starters, we got conservative in the second half, up 27-17. It’s like the Mike Smith days all over again. This tendency to sit on a lead never seems to change, no matter what who the coaches are. It happened in both our 2012 playoff games, it happened in several of our 2014 games, it happened in three games just last year, and it also happened in this game.
The other issue is the defense. Well, I don’t know if you say the whole defense because we sacked Philip Rivers four times and did a good job of stopping the run. Thing is, we kept giving up short passes because our linebackers and star safety are rookies. Despite the two stellar defensive performances before this game, it’s clear that we can’t depend on this defense.
And for all the praise our offense gets, there’s one continuing issue: false start and holding penalties. Out of this world performances have masked that but with seventy penalty yards today, it is officially unacceptable. In particular, the 1st and 20s caused by Ryan Schraeder and Andy Levitre alone cost us at least 6 points.
Frankly, you really have to question if Dan Quinn is cut out for this whole head coach thing. I’m not saying fire him right now, although I’ll be a lot closer to that position if we can’t win this miserable division. We have coaching problems that talent does not excuse. Levitre and especially Schraeder are good blockers. Why can’t they be taught discipline?
And one thing I never expected was for our defense to get significantly worse than last year and I don’t buy the arguments of tougher opposition or overemphasis on pass rushing (keep in mind that we sacked Rivers 4 times but couldn’t begin to stop him). We faced five teams that finished with winning records last year (Vikings, Texans, Redskins, Panthersx2) and they scored an average of 22.2 points a game. If I weren’t an Alabama fan, I’d have forgotten that you could hold an opponent to that little.
The Atlanta Falcons are probably still favored to enter the playoffs, if only because every other team in it sucks. If we even reach 8-8, we get a home playoff game. But after that…
I’ll elaborate further during the bye week. For now, it suffices to say that this is not the last time that our defense betrays us. If they get it together, things may look up in the near future. RISE UP!!!