Norv Turner Out Coached Once Again in Loss to Colts

Brian SmithCorrespondent INovember 23, 2008

Another Sunday, another loss for the San Diego Chargers.

After two very solid defensive performances by San Diego, one against Pittsburgh, where the Chargers only managed 10 points, and then tonight, where the Bolts scored 20, but, were held scoreless in the first and third quarters, just couldn't get it done once again.

Watching this lackluster performance by San Diego, one has to wonder if Norv Turner is coaching not to lose instead of coaching to win. This showed very prominently when the Chargers got the ball back with 34 seconds left in the half after the Colts scored the tying touchdown to make it 10 a piece.

Instead of, at the very least, trying to get into field goal range with two timeouts left, Turner calls L.T.'s number for a run up the middle for a seven-yard gain to get to the Chargers' 34 yard line.

Then, does NOT proceed to call a timeout. With the clock down to 16 seconds, Rivers spiked the ball to stop the clock. On the very next play, Turner calls a run play again. This time, Tomlinson runs to the left for a 12-yard gain with the clock now at seven seconds.

Not once taking a shot deep until the last play before the half where Rivers threw what looked a duck that had been shot in mid-flight, falling nowhere near anyone with a football uniform on.

For whatever reason, Norv Turner decided to play conservative with 34 seconds left on the clock before half. The Chargers had two timeouts left and only needed to get into field-goal range. Had the Chargers got within field goal range and Kaeding makes it, those three points could have come in handy at the end of the game. However, Turner does not coach to win, he coaches not to lose.

With play calling as predictable as Old Faithful, Turner is not surprising defenses one bit. In addition to being predictable, he also turns into the Cowardly Lion when the Chargers get into the Red Zone. Instead of throwing to Gates or Jackson or throwing a screen pass to Tomlinson, Turner can be counted on to run the ball over and over again and settling for the field goal.

Rivers, other than a fumble deep in Colts territory, played very well. He threw for two more touchdowns and 288 yards. However, that fumble of his could have been, at the very least, another three points that the Chargers' could have used at the end of the game.

Tomlinson, kept out of the end zone and under 100 yards again, looked pretty close to his old self against the Colts. He showed some very nice bursts of speed and made some good cuts during the game, showing that his toe must be close to being fully healed. L.T. finished the game with 84 yards on 21 carries and he also had three catches for 30 yards.

Watching games such as the one against the Chiefs and Steelers, it appears that Turner coaches down to the opposing team. There is just no killer instinct in Norv Turner's play calling, and he seems content with not trying to build upon whatever slim lead the Chargers may have at the time.

His play calling, in addition to the powder puff defensive play calling of Ted Cottrell for the first half of the season, has contributed greatly to the Chargers' 4-7 record. Luckily, there still may be a small glimmer of hope for making the postseason because Denver does not seem to really want to win the division.

The Chargers could end up being the AFC West champs with an 9-7 or 8-8 record, but, I highly doubt it, with Turner calling the offensive plays. With the loss to the Colts Sunday night, the season is pretty much over for the Chargers. Even if they do manage to make it into the postseason, Norv Turner's play calling will not take San Diego very deep in the playoffs.