Charger vs. Jaguars: Why Philip Rivers' Turnovers and Norv Turner's Poor Coaching Doomed Team in 2011
The downfall of the San Diego Chargers in 2011 can be pinned on a variety of people (A.J. Smith, Dean Spanos, Philip Rivers, Norv Turner, etc.). Their fall from grace has been well chronicled since the arrival of Norv Turner and the dismissal of Marty Schottenheimer in 2008.
A 13-3 team just two seasons ago is now on the cusp of elimination only 12 weeks into the season. Even with a win tonight, the Chargers will still be two games back in the AFC West with four games to play.
So where did this season go wrong...?
It began in week five, when the Chargers held a two score lead over the then hapless Denver Broncos. Yes, the Chargers won this game despite some late game heroics from Tim Tebow, but the real story was how poorly Philip Rivers played late in the game. He threw one interception and fumbled the ball twice (one which was recovered by Denver). All of this helped the Broncos stay in a game which they had otherwise been dominated in. One could also say, although it has been denied multiple times by Rivers himself, that this is the game in which Rivers got hurt.
These late game turnovers from Rivers continued to New York, hopped on a plane to Kansas City, and nestled in on the couch at home against the Packers.
Now it is hard to put a loss on one player, but this stretch of turnovers by Rivers, which resulted in three losses, doomed the Chargers' season. In these three games, Rivers threw seven interceptions and fumbled the ball three times; a shocking statistic given how anti-turnover prone Rivers had been before the 2011 season.
And, no, Norv Turner, you are not off the hook in 2011. Norv has built his success in San Diego off the excellent play of Rivers. But, when his trophy horse hit tough times, Turner could not figure out a way to motivate his team. He showed inability develop game plans that did not focus around a struggling Rivers, and consequently has cost the Chargers games.
Will it take a media barrage, and the pressure of Monday Night, for Norv to pull out all the stops? Can Rivers shine in a spotlight that seems brighter than ever amidst the worst season of his career?
Regardless, I bet the Jaguars will have something to say about it...
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