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NFL San Diego Chargers

Best and Worst Games of the 2012 San Diego Chargers Season

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Best and Worst Games of the 2012 San Diego Chargers Season

San Diego
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

In the 2012 NFL season, the San Diego Chargers started off hot, beating up weaker opponents on their way to a 3-1 start. They ended strong in December, as they always do, finishing the year 3-1. However, they stumbled and lost seven of eight games in the middle of the season to take them out of playoff contention by Week 15. The Chargers finished with seven victories, but none of the teams they beat finished with a winning record.

The script was similar in 2011, with the Chargers starting and ending the season 4-1 and a six-game losing streak sandwiched in between. Only one of their eight victories in 2011 came against a team who finished with a winning record.

The 2012 season was ultimately disappointing for the San Diego Chargers and their fans as the team finished with a losing record for the first time in eight years. The season will be remembered as the year that finally pushed head coach Norv Turner and general manager A.J. Smith out the door. It will also be remembered for some terrible losses and embarrassing moments. Still, there were a few bright spots that Chargers fans can remember to ease the pain when looking back at the season. Also, if the 2013 Chargers can play as well as they did at times towards the end of 2012, next season can possibly be an exciting one for Chargers fans.

Without further ado, here are the three worst games and three best games of the year for the 2012 San Diego Chargers.

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3. Worst: Chargers allow 4th-and-29 against Baltimore Ravens

Ravens
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

In a Week 12 matchup against the Baltimore Ravens, the Chargers were leading by three with less than two minutes to play. After a Ravens penalty and a fumble by quarterback Joe Flacco, the Ravens offense had a 4th-and-29 from their own 37-yard line. With no one open downfield, Flacco dumped the ball off to running back Ray Rice at the line of scrimmage, who avoided about nine Chargers to get just enough to move the chains. With bad angles and missed tackles, the Chargers defense allowed Rice to run the entire 29 yards by himself.

The Ravens tied the game in regulation and went on to win 16-13 in overtime.

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2. Worst: Chargers don’t show up against Carolina Panthers

Carolina
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Against the Carolina Panthers in Week 15, the Chargers offense mustered just 164 yards and didn't get on the scoreboard until the fourth quarter. Philip Rivers fumbled the ball twice and was sacked six times. Meanwhile, the Panthers scored touchdowns on their first three possessions – including two touchdowns by former Chargers running back Mike Tolbert – en route to a 31-7 easy victory.

The loss officially eliminated the Chargers from the playoff picture for the third straight year and sealed the fate for then-head coach Norv Turner.

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1. Worst: Chargers give up 24-point lead to Denver Broncos on Monday Night Football

Denver
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

With the AFC West lead on the line in Week 6, the Chargers jumped out to a 24-0 half-time lead against the Denver Broncos. However, the Chargers were shut out in the second half while the Broncos scored five touchdowns – three Peyton Manning touchdown passes and two defensive touchdowns off of turnovers by Philip Rivers. Rivers threw a career-high four interceptions on the night.

The Broncos’ 35-24 win was the start of an 11-game winning streak to close out the season and showed everyone that Manning was healthy and back to his normal self. The collapse by the Chargers was an embarrassment on a national stage.

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3. Best: Chargers force six turnovers in rout of Kansas City Chiefs

Kansas City
John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

In Week 4, the Chargers took advantage of mistakes made by the Kansas City Chiefs and forced six takeaways on the day, including three interceptions of quarterback Matt Cassel – one returned for a touchdown – and two fumbles by running back Jamaal Charles. The Chargers jumped out to a 20-0 second-quarter lead and didn’t look back.

The 37-20 victory avenged the Chargers loss in Kansas City in 2011, when Philip Rivers fumbled the snap from under center when the Chargers were in position to kick the game-winning field goal. The 2011 game was dubbed the “Worst Day Ever” as Rivers put it.

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2. Best: Chargers get 11 sacks against New York Jets

New York Jets
Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

In Week 16, the Chargers dominated the line of scrimmage and sacked New York Jets quarterback Greg McElroy 11 times, one shy of the all-time NFL record. Micheal Spurlock returned a punt for a touchdown early in the first quarter and the offense did just enough to pull out a 27-17 win.

Though the game was meaningless since it came a week after the Chargers were eliminated from playoff contention, it was hopefully a sign of things to come in 2013. Young defensive ends Kendall Reyes and Corey Liuget combined for six sacks on the day and continue to show improvement.

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1. Best: Chargers get first regular season win ever in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh
Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

In their history, the Chargers had never beaten the Pittsburgh Steelers on the road during the regular season. And after dropping their last four games and seven of their last eight heading into the Week 14 matchup, no one even expected the Chargers to put up much of a fight. However, the Chargers pass rush was relentless, and Philip Rivers threw for three touchdowns – two to Danario Alexander – in his team’s 34-24 victory.

Again, this game was hopefully a sign of things to come in 2013. If the pass rush can perform in 2013 like it did at times towards the end of 2012, the Chargers defense could be very dangerous.