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A Bad Flattitude; A Look at Chargers Scoring in the First Half

The Chargers have felt to be a very slow starting team in the first half; they come out flat.  Whether you want to attribute that to unimaginative scripted starts or Norv having trouble calling plays and head coaching, I thought it would be interesting to see exactly how bad it is.

Sometimes you expect to find things and they end up not being true; for instance my perception was that Chargers were much worse than average on penalties but when I actually looked it up they are merely average.  Over the season they have given up around fifty more yards; which should be negligible.  On the other hand in looking up how flat they are in the first half; the effect is pretty amazing.  The Chargers are actually outscored by opponents by 30 points in the first half.  In contrast they outscore their opponents by 74 points in the second half.


            Chargers         Opponents
First Half Points 159 189
Second Half Points 187 113
Totals 346 302

So the scoring differential shows that the effect is true and quite large.  If we take a closer look it seems that to some degree the offense is more effective; they score 28 points more in the second half than in the first.  What is really striking is the defense, they allow 76 more points to opponents in the first half.  Opposing teams are scoring almost two thirds of their points in the first half. 

My conclusion is that the talk about Norv's play calling is somewhat overblown; the real problem is either in the defensive game plan or performance.  Either the defense is not coming out primed to play; or the adjustments are much better than the initial defensive scheme.  Do the Chargers go 'bend but don't break' until behind and then stiffen up?  I'd have to go back over some games to really find out.  I suppose some of that could be opposing teams being more conservative with leads as well.