Perhaps the best analogy to use for the San Diego Chargers’ propensity to self-destruct is the idea of pulling a weed out of the dirt. Aesthetically, all that really needs to be done is to get those unsightly leaves (aka Norv Turner and A.J. Smith) out of view in order to make the garden look better. Unfortunately, unless you pull the weed out by the root (mental mistakes, incompetent personnel) it is going to find a way to grow back at the most critical times.
Hello fourth quarter meltdown on Monday Night Football.
That disturbing trend of a different coaching staff yielding the same results was seen in the preseason when the offensive line still looked suspect and allowed constant pressure on quarterback Philip Rivers. While that was mostly cleaned up in the opener as the Bolts allowed just two sacks on the night, the idea remained after San Diego surrendered a 21-point lead, including allowing 24 unanswered points by the Houston Texans.
If you recall, the Bolts experienced similar implosions last season when they blew leads in consecutive weeks to the Denver Broncos on Monday Night Football and then the New Orleans Saints on Sunday Night Football. Those primetime debacles only amplify the bitter taste left in the mouths of fans, especially when those fans were told that these issues walked out the door with Norv Turner and A.J. Smith in the offseason.
It may be too simplistic to say it was the ghosts of Norv and A.J. haunting the Bolts on Monday night. No, those ghosts actually haunted the man under center in Rivers who is still making critical turnovers despite rhetoric from new head coach Mike McCoy and offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt to the contrary. It was certainly wasn’t the pressure that forced him to throw that mind-numbing pass in the flat that was picked off and taken to the house by Brian Cushing in the fourth quarter.
Despite being a Rivers supporter for all these years, my tune began to change when he refused to take responsibility for his meltdowns in 2012 and said recently that he didn’t need to be ‘fixed’. That talk is only going to increase in volume with this recent disaster, and rightfully so.
Those mental mistakes mentioned in the opening seemed to be exclusively attributable to Rivers in the Monday night opener. How he could throw that lazy ball into the flat at such a critical time is beyond comprehension, really. It’s hard to throw someone under the bus who had four touchdowns on the night, but it’s that lone interception that sticks in the minds of fans that went for a score in the opposite direction.
Whether or not this is Rivers’ final year in San Diego has yet to be determined, but he certainly didn’t do himself any favors with that showing in the final quarter of Monday night’s contest.