I suppose that's what I get for saying, during this week's podcast, "This game is not going to come down to a Kris Brown FG in the final seconds."
The tale of this game is the tale of many Chargers games in 2010 and the season as a whole, "Too little, too late." The Chargers didn't protect the ball until the 2nd half (4 turnovers, all in the 1st half). The offense didn't get into any sort of rhythm until the 2nd half, when they abandoned the run and started utilizing Mike Tolbert, Darren Sproles, Antonio Gates and Seyi Ajirotutu in the passing game. The team didn't stop making ridiculous penalties....well, nevermind, the false start on a game-winning FG try was pretty ridiculous, so I guess they never did stop with the ridiculous penalties.
The defense had the opposite problem. As has been the case all season, and last season as well, Ron Rivera's defense looked great while on the attack and then slipped back into some sort of prevention mode once the Patriots went up by two scores. This allowed the Pats to go up by three scores to start the second half, and to match the Chargers with another FG in the third quarter to put their lead back to three scores heading into the fourth quarter.
I understand that fumbles and special teams, as we've been told all season, are "fixable issues". However, they're not being fixed. The Patriots had a punt return for 34 yards, and their kick returns were kept in check by the Chargers' gimmicks. The Chargers return game was all but non-existent. The same with the fumbling, which has now been plaguing the team for a half-season. If these are issues that "can be fixed", someone needs to point out that they're not being fixed and therefore we're lead to believe that these coaches are not capable of fixing them.
It's going to be said that the Chargers would've won this game had they had a healthy Gates, Malcom Floyd, Legedu Naanee or Vincent Jackson. That may or may not be true, but it would've limited the ball going to Kris Wilson and Richard Goodman. So again this game will mostly be blamed on bad luck and a few "fixable issues" (stop fumbling, stop getting called for stupid penalties, etc.)....and nobody will be satisfied. Keep that in mind when you bump into a Chargers fan this week and they want Norv, A.J., Steve Crosby or someone else's head on a platter.
The fact is this: A 2-5 record makes the Chargers one of the worst teams in the league, and gives them a better shot at the #1 draft pick in the 2011 NFL Draft than it does the playoffs. After playing Tennessee next Sunday, the Chargers will stand at the mid-way point of the season at either 2-6 or 3-5.....with games left against the Chiefs, Texans and Colts. Barring a miracle, one bigger than how the 2009 or 2008 season played out for the Chargers, this team and it's playoff aspirations are dead.
I am not jumping off the bandwagon. I will not stop rooting, but I will stop (or have stopped) convincing myself that this is a good team masquerading as something else. This is a bad team, and certainly not a playoff team. I just hope that they used the next 10 weeks of the season to figure out how to be better next year.