Week 5 is one to forget for the San Diego Chargers. After leading 24-14 at one point in the game, the Bolts ended up losing 28-24.
There were ups and downs throughout the night, including one player who finally showed up and others who might have been better sitting at home. At the end of the night, San Diego falls to 3-2, still sitting atop the AFC West and facing Denver next week on Monday Night Football.
Here are some winners and losers from the Chargers' loss on Sunday night.
On the Chargers' second drive, Meachem hauled in a 15-yard pass for a touchdown to put San Diego up 7-0. His night wasn't over. With two minutes left before the half, Philip Rivers dropped back and sent a bomb down the field that Robert Meachem hauled in for his second touchdown.
Robert Meachem had six catches for 96 yards and no touchdowns entering tonight. He scored twice in one half and had his highest yardage game of the season.
Welcome to San Diego, Robert.
I may be the only one to think this, but Norv Turner is not an offensive genius. He's far from it.
San Diego led for most of the game, so Turner's calls didn't stand out. At least not to some. He's actually not a good decision maker at all. Two calls stood out the most to me: his decision to kick a 51-yard field goal and to run the ball on a 3rd-and -22.
Philip Rivers, after getting sacked on third down, was screaming at Norv Turner to punt the ball. Nick Novak, who struggles to be consistent anywhere on the field, is dreadful from long distance. Predictably, he came up short.
Luckily, the defense stopped Drew Brees on the short field, but it was the call that upset me. The run on 3rd-and-22 is typical Norv. He's "conservative." The run didn't do anything and they were still forced to punt. Why not pass it down the field and try to get the first? If nothing is open, throw it away and take the grounding penalty. Still results in a punt.
This goes without mentioning the lack of Ryan Mathews in this game.
Norv Turner is the biggest reason the Chargers AREN'T the best team in the NFL. Mark that down.
The disrespected Ryan Mathews meant business Sunday night. Even though Jackie Battle started at running back, Ryan Mathews had the better game as usual.
Mathews finished with a total of 139 yards, including 80 rushing yards on only 12 attempts. That's a 6.7 yards per attempt average, yet he only carried the ball 12 times. He received a team-high eight targets, hauling in six of them for 53 yards. Clearly, Rivers trusts him enough to dump it off to him because of his speed and acceleration.
On the Chargers' final two-minute drive, Ryan Mathews was inexplicably standing on the sidelines. He came in for about a play or two, but other than that, it was Ronnie Brown who Norv went with.
Although he was again misused and disrespected, Ryan Mathews shined bright. Way to stick it in Norv's face No. 24.
Drew Brees tore the San Diego Chargers apart on Sunday. His first touchdown pass put him past Johnny Unitas for consecutive games with a touchdown, and he didn't stop there.
On third downs and broken plays, Drew Brees converted passes all over the field to wide-open players. Antoine Cason didn't stand a chance against Marques Colston one-on-one all night, yielding three touchdowns to the Saints' No. 1 receiver.
Marcus Gilchrist also had trouble defending the short over-the-middle throws, and Chris Carr didn't show up at all.
Shareece Wright is needed and needed now.
Richard Goodman: This guy sure does have the potential to return a kickoff to the house, but those odds weaken when he fields one nine yards deep inside the end zone.
Jared Gaither: Gaither played well throughout the game, but that was overshadowed by the way he ended it. He was beat horribly on two straight plays to end the game, one resulting in a strip sack, giving the ball to the Saints. Gaither looked hobbled at the end. Let's just hope he didn't get injured again.
Antonio Gates: Antonio Gates had a tough matchup this week against the Saints defense; he finished with only 19 yards on three receptions. There were a few controversial no-calls against Gates down the field, but let's not get into that. Antonio Gates needs to get more involved, starting with Rivers looking his way more often.
Melvin Ingram: Melvin Ingram's penalty in the third quarter changed the entire game. Instead of the Chargers taking a 31-14 lead, the Saints capitalized and cut the lead to three. They kept the momentum for the rest of the game and ended up beating San Diego.