The San Diego Chargers just gave up the largest halftime lead in Monday Night Football history to lose to their AFC West rivals the Denver Broncos, but who deserves the most blame for the collapsing Chargers, head coach Norv Turner or quarterback Philip Rivers?
The Chargers are now sitting in the middle of the pack in the AFC West with a 3-3 record. San Diego has been embarrassed by quality opponents this season such as the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints, but has taken advantage of weak foes such as the Tennessee Titans and Kansas City Chiefs.
With such a disappointing start to the 2012 season, someone has to be held accountable. Like any other NFL franchise, it comes down to the head coach and the quarterback. Let's determine who is more to blame at this point.
The Case Against Philip Rivers
Rivers had what many considered a down season in 2011 despite throwing for 4,624 yards, 27 touchdowns and 20 interceptions.
If 2011 was considered a down year, 2012 has been a disaster to this point.
So far Rivers has thrown for 10 touchdowns, nine interceptions and 1,439 yards while the Chargers have stumbled to a mediocre .500 start.
Rivers is missing some offensive weapons—namely, Vincent Jackson, after his offseason departure—but Rivers' play has been inexcusable, all things considered. Rivers threw four interceptions in the MNF implosion, and has to be strongly considered as the main reason the Chargers are struggling so mightily.
The Case Against Norv Turner
On the other hand, Turner does not have a great reputation as a coach in the clutch or in the postseason.
Turner was great for the Chargers in his first three seasons with the franchise, winning the AFC West every year before routinely being bounced from the playoffs. However, from 2010 and on, the Chargers have simply been mediocre.
Right now, Turner is 52-34 as the Chargers head coach, but has yet to win anything significant of note. In that time span the Chargers have been known to collapse late in games, as evidenced by the latest meltdown.
Turner clearly does not have his team motivated or playing at a high level, and it shouldn't come as a surprise given his recent track record. Along with Rivers, Turner is the perfect man to blame for San Diego's woes.
As of now the blame has to be placed on the shoulders of Philip Rivers. We have come to expect mediocrity from Norv Turner, but Rivers has always had the elite skill set that allows him to overcome his coach's shortcomings.
Rivers is playing at an extremely average level right now, and his team is suffering as a result. He completely self-destructed against the Broncos in the historic Monday Night Football loss.
Turner calls the shots, but Rivers is making the decisions on the field. Right now, those decisions are costing the Chargers dearly.