"I GOT THIS!" (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Here we are, once again. As much as I've been Norv Turner supporter in the past, and certainly don't think he's the weak-willed buffoon that certain people make him out to be, I've grown frustrated with this team's coaching staff to create a gameplan that plays to the strengths of this roster until they desperately need a comeback.
When other San Diego Chargers fans used to tell me that they thought Ron Rivera was too conservative, my go-to response was always that he got aggressive whenever the team had a lead....which was almost never. Norv Turner is almost exactly the same way, however it's his conservative playcalling that forces him into "We've got nothing left to lose" situations where he has to get aggressive.
If things go according to plan against the Chiefs, who look like a terrible team, the offense and defense will both look like well-oiled machines and Bolts fans (myself included) will go nuts over it. However, if the Chiefs can stop the run and come up with a few 3rd down stops in the first half....well, they'll have a chance and it'll be all Norv's fault.
Yes, the Chargers are again near the top of the league in terms of offensive statistics. Where they're near the bottom of the league, 30th to be exact, is in turnover margin (currently -5). Any time you're turning the ball over like the Bolts are, and creating so little on the defensive side of the ball, the other team has a chance. Every time.
This is going to sound weird, but the key to this game is going to be Philip Rivers and whether or not he can keep from turning the ball over. Did you know he's averaging more turnovers per game (2.5) than touchdowns per game (2) right now? That needs to improve if the Chargers can ever be considered a "sure thing" to win a game, even against a team that's widely considered to be one of the worst in the league.
Oh, the Chiefs are currently giving up 44.5 points per game? Well, that should help. Still, it's not as if the Chiefs can be expected to roll over every week of the season. There are going to be times where the ball bounces their way, they're more fired up than the other team and they start playing for pride. You've seen in the past how rare it is for a team to go 0-16 over the course of a season, and it's not as if the bad teams only get that 1 or 2 wins against other really bad teams.
This could potentially be a big game for Ryan Mathews, who has shown himself to be exactly what A.J. Smith was hoping he'd be when the Bolts moved up to get him in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft. He's an explosive runner that can break off a big run, he's a dangerous pass-catcher out of the backfield and he gets stronger as the game goes along and he gets more carries. He'll be even more important against the Chiefs with Malcom Floyd and Antonio Gates, the big play threats apart from Vincent Jackson, either missing the game or playing with a serious injury.
With the two games that Mathews has had, he's earned a chance to get more than just 50% of the RB load. Hopefully he gets it against the Chiefs and doesn't fumble away the opportunity. Pun intended.