The NFL is a place where your memory needs to be acute while still maintaining a quality of selective amnesia. This couldn’t be any more valid than with the San Diego Chargers fresh off of a bye week to stew over two agonizing come from ahead losses. They had their chance to redeem themselves against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.
According to quarterback Philip Rivers: “We just want to win. The last two games we’ve had two first halves about as good as you can have and then we’ve had two second halves about as bad as you can have, so I think it’s just a matter of collectively trying to put a complete game together. We need to get into a rhythm like we’ve been in these two games, like we know we can and just be more consistent.”
As one could assume from the score, this game was a mess. One good thing that the Chargers did manage to achieve however was a dedication to the running game. Nine of the team’s first 10 offensive plays were runs including a failed fourth down conversion attempt. Ryan Mathews ran hard and gained 95 yards on the ground, but again an untimely fumble is what will be remembered most from this contest.
Even though the threats were made by both Head Coach Norv Turner and General Manager A.J. Smith that Mathews could not continue to put the ball on the ground and remain in the lineup, the Bolts stuck with him following the fumble. That really brings into question the integrity of the club from the top down as it’s very frustrating as a fan when you aren’t sure what to believe. When management says one thing, does another, the message loses any possible meaning.
The weather proved to be an issue as well for the Chargers who continue to live up to their label as a “soft” football team. The defense looked disinterested at times and was repeatedly gashed by Browns’ rookie ball carrier Trent Richardson due to shoddy tackling and poor gap integrity. Concerns about going on the road and winning games continue for this team and at this point, the club is proving more than ever that they need a complete overhaul.
A game like this egg-laying loss by a score of 7-6 following the adversity that the club faced during the bye week just further illustrates that this team isn’t that good. Expectations were through the roof for the Chargers coming into the season, but this cast of characters just hasn’t been able to come together as a cohesive unit. The murmurs about Turner and Smith’s job security may increase in volume tremendously over the next week and this could be a real crossroads for the Bolts as a franchise.
Follow Anthony Blake on Twitter @AnthonyMBlake or on Facebook at Anthony Mizarkus Blake