This past Sunday's game was hard to watch on many different levels.
As Chargers fans, we have become accustomed to watching San Diego field a team that was arguably the best on any given day. Even coming into this year, after failing to make the playoffs in 2010, many of us thought, "Hey, we had the No. 1 offense and defense in the NFL last year. We still have an elite team. Right?"
There are so many moving parts in this franchise right now that it his hard to determine where the Chargers' strengths lie.
Many thought that the Chargers still possessed a top five offense in the league (wrong), but with the struggles of Philip Rivers, they look more like a bottom 10 offense. Without a QB operating at a high level, it is impossible to win games on a consistent basis in the NFL.
Many thought the Chargers were healthy again (wrong). Injuries tend to plague teams that have older players who are on the downswing of their careers. The Chargers' veterans (Dielman, Hardwick, McNeil, Gates, Floyd, Jammer, Castillo, etc) have all missed significant time this year. This has again exposed the last of the depth put together by A.J. Smith.
Lastly, many thought Norv Turner was still an above-average coach who was mentoring Philip Rivers to greatness (WRONG!). If you aren't going to admit that Norv's play-calling has become predictable, at least realize that his management of games, and his team, has been pathetic throughout his tenure with the Bolts.
Whose fault is it?
Norv has continually showed his incompetence to make the right decisions late in games ever since he was hired by A.J. Smith—Sunday was just another reminder.
I am sure if you are reading this article, you noticed all the poor choices Norv made with clock management throughout the Broncos game, but there was one particular instance that really rubbed me the wrong way. An occurrence which no one seems to be talking about.
With one minute left in overtime, the Chargers had two timeouts as the Broncos set up for their game-winning field goal. Instead of calling a timeout to stop the clock with one minute left (which would have given the Chargers a chance to go down the field and score if the Broncos missed), Norv opted to not use one.
Instead, he saved the timeouts to "ice the kicker", but only after 30 seconds ran off the clock, leaving 33 seconds on the clock.
He basically was giving up for a tie or loss.
To me this summarized the whole game. Norv's resistance to show he had a pair (Running out the second- and fourth-quarter clocks) all wrapped into one.
While I would like to see him go now, there is no way A.J. "My Ego is Bigger than Yours" Smith admits defeat halfway though a season.
So, how far have the Chargers fallen? Well, all I can say is...this is just the beginning.