Sunday, October 24, 2010

Chargers seize defeat from the hands of victory, lose to the Patriots

Kris Brown's missed 50 yard field goal attempt with 27 seconds left, looked good off of the foot, but ultimately banged off of the upright, and fell harmlessly to the ground.  When the dust settled, the Chargers were 2-5, and tied for last in the AFC West.

Chargers WR Richard Goodman
The Chargers once again dominated on paper, outgaining the Patriots 363-179.  A Tom Brady led offense has under 200 yards of total offense, and you lose?  The Patriots, who in their glory years of just a few years ago, routinely made big plays in the passing game, today their longest reception went for 24 yards, their only offensive play over 20 yards.  The Patriots never established a running game either, averaging just 2.3 yards a carry.  In fact, the Patriots had just 39 yards of offense at halftime.  Oh yeah, they also had a 10 point lead, thanks to 4 first half Charger turnovers.

The mental errors keep on compiling.  Kris Wilson takes a short pass, runs for a decent gain, then coughs up the ball, allowing the Patriots to cash in with a field goal.  Richard Goodman, an undrafted free agent out of Florida State, makes his first NFL catch, a nice 25 yard gain, but decides to celebrate before the play is dead, throws the ball on the ground, and the Patriots are given a gift turnover.  Rivers tries to lateral the ball to fullback Jacob Hester(another great A.J. Smith draft choice) and the ball clanks off of his hand.  If the Patriots offense bothered to show up on Sunday, the Chargers could have easily been down 28-3.

At one point in the fourth quarter, the Chargers trailed 23-6.  The fans at Qualcomm Stadium were going restless with anger.  Then Philip Rivers tried to bring back the Chargers with some of the brilliance he's shown over the last few years.

Rivers lead the Bolts on an impressive drive, including a 21 yard catch by Patrick Crayton on a 3rd and 15 play.  He found Darren Sproles a few times underneath and even hit another undrafted free agent receiver in Seyi Ajiroutu.  Rivers then found Antonio Gates for a 4 yard score, Gates' first catch of the day, and cut the Chargers deficit to 23-13.

The Chargers recovered the ensuing onside kick, and drove right back on the field.  Rivers hit Gates on a 26 yard reception, and Ajirotutu with another 20 yard strike.  Mike Tolbert punched it it from a yard out, and the Chargers were down 23-20.

The Patriots got the ball back, but couldn't get a first down, as Antwan Applewhite stuffed Benjarvus Green-Ellis at the line, and the Chargers had life.

The Chargers drove down to the Patriots 27 yard line, to set up Kris Brown for a game-tying field goal.  Yet another Chargers miscue, a false start penalty by guard Louis Vasquez, backed up the Chargers to the 32, and made Brown's attempt a 50 yarder.  Naturally, he just missed it, and if the Chargers season wasn't over before this, it almost certainly is now.

The Chargers are now looking up at Kansas City and Oakland, something that seemed crazy just a few months ago.  The Chargers are a pathetic -7 in turnover differential, a statistic that explains how the #1 ranked offensive and defensive team has a 2-5 record.  Norv Turner's seat has to be getting awfully hot, especially with Tennessee and Houston next on the schedule.

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