The San Diego Chargers are entering a crucial season because they have not made the playoffs since the 2009 NFL season. San Diego is fortunate that their 4-8 start to the 2008 season did not prevent them from making it to the postseason because their division rival Denver Broncos started that season at 7-5, but they choked. San Diego was unable to overcome adversity in 2010 as they started 2-5, finished at 9-7 and owned the tiebreaker over the 10-6 AFC West champion Kansas City Chiefs.
The Chargers were red hot in 2011 as they got off to a 4-1 start. An inexplicable six game losing streak in which the Lightning Bolts constantly shot themselves in the foot cost them a chance at making the playoffs. Denver and San Diego finished last season at 8-8, but the Broncos won due to a tiebreaker scenario. A.J. Smith made moves this off-season to improve San Diego’s pass rush which ranked 23rd in the league with 32 sacks by adding Melvin Ingram. He also attempted to improve a run defense that ranked 20th out of 32 teams by adding defensive tackle Kendall Reyes and strong safety Brandon Taylor.
The New England Patriots finished 2007 with a 16-0 regular season record. Along the way, they trailed 28-24 going into the fourth quarter at home against a 5-5 Philadelphia Eagles team, and trailed 28-23 going into the fourth in their last regular season game. It would be naive to think that San Diego will not have problems in 2012 because New England proved that every team goes through some type of obstacle along the way. San Diego’s response to these issues will be interesting because they overcame adversity in 2008, but failed to do so in 2010 and 2011 as they were one win away from making it to the postseason in both years.