You can’t win a football game when you’re -5 in the turnover differential. You just can’t. The San Diego Chargers should know that as well as any team and yet were careless with the football in Sunday’s embarrassing loss to the divisional rival Oakland Raiders.
Shooting themselves in the foot is reminiscent of the Chargers of old, something we thought (or at least hoped) went out the door along with the old regime.
Philip Rivers, who just last week played maybe the best game of his career, threw three interceptions on Sunday night, including one in the endzone, Danny Woodhead lost a fumble which was returned for a touchdown, and Eddie Royal muffed a punt that led to a Raiders field goal. Oakland scored 17 points off turnovers and thwarted the Bolts comeback attempt with two late interceptions.
The Chargers were also poor in the redzone, missing out on great opportunities to cut into the Raiders’ lead. The Chargers ran Danny Woodhead on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line in the second quarter, but failed to get enough push into the endzone. In the third quarter, special teams allowed a blocked field goal attempt, which actually turned out good for the Chargers as the ball bounced into the waiting arms of San Diego’s Ladarius Green, who actually was able to run for the first down. With a second opportunity and fresh set of downs in the redzone, the Bolts went three-and-out and settled for a field goal, which they were able to convert.
The heartbreaker though was Rivers’ second interception of the day thrown right to Oakland’s D.J. Hayden in the endzone that ended the Bolts’ comeback attempt. On the drive, the Bolts moved down the field with ease and had all the momentum, but Rivers was about a whole two seconds late on a slant route to Keenan Allen, who was wide open.
The Chargers aren’t talented enough to overcome their mental mistakes even against a below average team like the Raiders. The team is now -8 in turnover differential, fourth worst in the league only better than the New York Jets, the winless New York Giants and the winless Pittsburgh Steelers. San Diego may have the NFL’s fifth-ranked offense but it doesn’t matter if those drives don’t end in touchdowns more often than not.