Sunday’s loss to the Cincinnati Bengals was a particularly demoralizing endeavor for the San Diego Chargers as yet again their offense was basically non-existent for the majority of the contest. The lack of balance that the team has shown all season long was brought to the forefront in week 13 and there are plenty of places to point the finger when discussing their utter ineptitude.
Let’s start with Head Coach Norv Turner and his play calling. The Bolts 50 passing plays called (two of those ended in Philip Rivers runs) and just nine designed running calls during the entire 60-minute contest. It’s no wonder the team can’t sustain any sort of rhythm offensively with that large of a disparity between runs and throws. If you were an opposing defense, you would be pinning your ears back and coming after the quarterback too!
Another area of blame is General Manager A.J. Smith and his failure to replacement two stalwarts in Kris Dielman and Marcus McNeill on the offensive line. This line has been unable to get any push all season long forcing the pass to be the best option with defenders residing in the San Diego backfield before the ball is even handed off. The attempt to go cheap at multiple positions has come back to bite GM Smith and instead of wasting a boatload of money on a bunch of wide receivers who can’t play, maybe he should have focused on the guys in the trenches after all.
When asked about the gameplan, coach Turner said: “We can’t run the ball right now. We’re struggling to run the ball against a front like that, so it certainly puts a burden on the offensive line, the protection and on Philip.” It seems as if the mutiny may be on the brink of occurring however as following those comments, running back Ryan Mathews was asked if he would like more touches and he said: “I would. That’s just me. I’m trying to do anything I’m asked for the team, whether that is two carries or 25 carries. I’m just a player. It is not up to me to be the coach.”
It was a subtle little jab, but Mathews appears to be intimating that he can see that a more balanced attack is necessary for improvement. He (just like the majority of us) is perplexed as to why the actual coach can’t see the same thing. This may just be the beginning of the players turning against Turner and with a month’s worth of games still remaining on the schedule, it’s hard to see things getting much worse.
Just six points were a direct result of the offense on Sunday with three Bengals points coming off of a Rivers fumble. When the defense scores more than the offense, I don’t care what type of coach-speak spin you try to put on it; things are bad. The only real question left to ask now is not if, but when will Norv Turner and A.J. Smith will be fired so this team can turn the page and start anew in 2013?
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