Sunday, October 17, 2010

Chargers spirit stomped in St. Louis

Typically I like to recap the Charger games on Sunday nights, to give my perspective on this team.  There are no words to describe what has transpired today.  I thought the loss in Oakland was the team hitting rock-bottom.  An ugly loss, where you allow a terrible Raiders team to block two punts, and you lose, despite gaining 500 yards.  A St. Louis team was next on the schedule, the same team that was destroyed by the Detroit Lions.  Surely, the Chargers couldn't allow St. Louis to win, and drop their record to 2-4.  Then all hell broke loose in Missouri.

The Chargers had all of 39 yards of offense in the first half.  The usually dependable Philip Rivers had a 12.7 QB rating, and the defense allowed rookie Sam Bradford to look like Peyton Manning.  Antonie Cason still doesn't know what hit him.

The offensive line was supposed to be greatly improved with the activation of Pro-Bowl left tackle Marcus Mcneil.  Instead, Philip Rivers was harassed all day, and the Rams sacked him seven times, a career high for Rivers.  The run blocking was decent enough at least, as Ryan Mathews averaged over five yards a carry.

The Chargers also battled injuries on this gloomy, rainy Sunday.  Malcolm Floyd, the Chargers leading receiver tweaked a hamstring, and All-World tight end Antonio Gates hurt his ankle.  The last report had Gates in a protective boot, and the injury was described as "not good."

The defensive line play was also brutal.  While Steven Jackson only average 3.8 yards a carry, he was able to pick up a ton of first downs, including the one that sealed the Chargers fate.  Beleaguered, and drained, the Chargers stand at 2-4.  While the division is obviously terrible, can the Chargers really recover from another hole?

My answer?  No way.  This team was given an absolute gift of a schedule to start with.  The Chargers have lost four road games already this year.  All of the teams they lost to, suffered at least 11 defeats in '09, and Arizona lost a Pro Bowl quarterback.  Now the team gets New England, Tennessee, and Houston next.  A 2-7 start is a real possibility.  Then they also have late season games against Cincinnati and Indianapolis on the road.  Personally, I think 8-8 is a best case scenario.

The worst part of this collapse by the Chargers, is Norv Turner's contract situation.  Norvell just signed a three year extension in January, meaning he will be paid millions between now and 2013.  A.J. Smith isn't going anywhere either, as his contract runs until 2014.  Bottom line, what could have been a great run in the NFL was crushed by incompetent management.  At least SDSU is good this year.

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