Defense at Center of 2013 Late-Game Collapses for San Diego Chargers

By Anthony Blake
Mike McCoy San Diego Chargers
Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

It was just another NFL week with the San Diego Chargers holding a late game lead only to come from ahead and lose in the closing moments. While coming into the season it seemed like the weakest link on the San Diego roster was the offensive side of the ball, it seems the defense has some serious holes that need to be accounted for.

Whether you want to focus on Jake Locker being allowed to run unmolested on a handful of occasions or the late lapses in coverage that facilitated the Tennessee Titans‘ unfathomable comeback, there is plenty of work to do on defense. The Chargers allowed a team that came into the game in the middle of the league at best offensively to rack up 452 total net yards, and this came on the heels of allowing the Philadelphia Eagles to stack up 511 total net yards a week ago and the Houston Texans to gain 449 total net yards in Week 1.

All told, the Chargers’ defense – which was thought to be the team’s strength coming into the season – has allowed a ridiculous 470.7 yards per game through three games this season. Remember those record-breaking New Orleans Saints last season whose horrific defense couldn’t stop anything? Well, the Bolts’ awful numbers make that squad look like a team of Pro Bowlers. The Saints surrendered a mere 440.1 yards per game last season to break the all-time record for defensive futility.

Now granted, San Diego’s ineptitude is on a much smaller sample size since we are only three games in the 2013 schedule, but these numbers don’t exactly suggest improvement anywhere in the near future. The Bolts have a Dallas Cowboys team on the schedule this coming Sunday that just dismantled the St. Louis Rams with 396 total net yards.

The Chargers have been outscored in the fourth quarter this season by a total of 37 to 13. That type of late-game difficulty will only perpetuate itself until a team can prove capable of bucking the trend. Many believed that happened last week when San Diego gutted out that road win in Philly, but obviously once is not enough to make something habitual.

Head coach Mike McCoy has done a lot of good since taking over for the reign of terror and mediocrity that took place under Norv Turner. Even still, if he can’t shake these late-game collapses in a similar mold to the ones endured during Turner’s tenure, how can the Chargers legitimately claim to have taken a step forward?

Anthony Blake is a Senior Writer/Copy Editor for Rant Sports. You Can Follow Him on Twitter, on Facebook, or add him to your network on Google.

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