San Diego Chargers: They Are Who We Thought They Were

John BartramCorrespondent IIDecember 27, 2010

CINCINNATI - DECEMBER 26:  Norv Turner the Head Coach of the San Diego Chargers walks off of the field following the Chargers 34-20 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals during the NFL game at Paul Brown Stadium on December 26, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

I decided not to put the word "underachievers" in the headline.  That, in fact, is what they are.  I've been writing a number of things about the Chargers, all of which they neatly wrapped up in a bow for me yesterday.

Statistics can be very misleading, as any sports fan knows.

San Diego's "number one defense" was exposed for exactly what it was, something other than number one.

Team offense is ranked by the total number of points a team scores. That makes perfect sense to me.  Team defense is ranked by the amount of total yards it gives up.  That makes no sense to me.  It should be consistent with the offensive ranking system, total points it allows.

First, the Chargers are no longer number one yardage category, and have never been number one in fewest points allowed.

Yes, I know, special teams.  Fans, and even some pundits, seem to think they don't count.  They do, as every mourning Charger fans knows today.

Phillip Rivers is an elite quarterback.  This year, Matt Cassel has been a better quarterback.

Quarterbacks are rated by the amount of passing yards thrown.  That, however, means very little when it comes to wins and losses. 

As the season has gone on, Matt Cassel has become more and more efficient.  His 27 TD/5 Int ratio is one of the most telling statistics. 

Phillip Rivers has remarkable numbers considering how much he throws. His QB rating is 104 and he's thrown for 4,400 yards.  Matt Cassel's QB rating is 99, but he has only thrown for 3,000 yards.

It does, however, make perfect sense.  The Chiefs have run for an NFL leading 169 yards per game, where the Chargers have run for a very respectable 110 yards per game.  There is no reason for the KC quarterback to throw as much.

They say the mark of a great team is to go on the road and beat a great team.  I think the Chiefs are probably a year away from that.  Then again, who knows?  Not too many people expected them to be AFC West Champions this year.

I say the mark of a bad team is to go on the road and get trashed by a really bad team when it's a game that means your whole season is on the line.

The Chargers proved they are not a very good team yesterday.   They allowed Carson Palmer to have one of the best days of his career, and he's had some very good games.  He ended with a passer rating of 157.2 (perfect is 158.3).

The Chargers have had a nice run, though they've never done anything with it.  The free ride has ended, courtesy of both Kansas City and Oakland.