Despite seemingly having the talent to hang with the Denver Broncos, the San Diego Chargers lost Sunday's home game by a score of 28-20 with poor gameplanning and poor game management by their first-year coaching staff.
John Pagano's defense was able to keep the Broncos out of the endzone on just two of their five drives in the first half. After allowing three consecutive drives of 70+ yards that ended in touchdowns, the hill was too steep for Philip Rivers and the Chargers offense to climb back into the game. SD's defense wasn't prepared to handle Peyton Manning's offense, which hasn't changed, until the second half. Why?
Mike McCoy deserves criticism for poor time management late in the game, and for (once again) being too conservative in the first half. His decision to kick a field goal at the beginning of the second quarter, facing a "4th & 1" on the Broncos 8 yard line, deserves every bit of criticism it gets. After faking a punt in his team's own territory, showing aggression, McCoy once again went the conservative route and cost his team points.
When faced with 4th & 1 in his own territory once more, this time down 22 points in the third quarter, McCoy decided to punt back to an offense that had scored 21 points in its last 3 possessions. Tourek Williams eventually picked up a sack-fumble, putting the Chargers in position to score a touchdown, but that can't be something McCoy is counting on when his defense is ranked dead last in the league.
The Broncos had three drives that went for 7+ plays (if you don't include the final, game-winning drive) and all of them ended in a touchdown. 21 points total. The Chargers had six drives that went for 7+ plays and got 10 points total off of them, one FG and one touchdown. This, despite the fact that the Chargers didn't have a single turnover in the game. That's on McCoy and Ken Whisenhunt, whose Red Zone offense was a disaster until he gave in and ran Ryan Mathews up the middle for a second half touchdown. (It's also, at least a little bit, on A.J. Smith for leaving this roster in shambles when he left.)
At this point, we appear to be stuck with the ultra-conservative game management of Mike McCoy. We can whine all day but it won't change anything. However, I hope there is someone that he listens to that can show him how many points he's leaving on the board in an attempt to avoid media criticism. Perhaps a Common Sense Manager?
The Chargers were beaten by a better team with a better coaching staff. That's not the frustrating part. The frustrating part is that they possibly could've won with this team, had they had the better coaching staff on this day.
In one of the most Norv Turner outcomes of the season, the Chargers were embarrassed by a team that they lost to in a close game. I don't know how that happens so regularly to this franchise, because it shouldn't actually be possible, but it does.