1. Turnover Dry Spell
The last time the Chargers defense forced a turnover was on October 4th, when the picked off Derek Anderson twice in a win over the Cardinals. It is now November 1st, and by the time the Chargers get down to Houston to play the Texans on Sunday it will have been more than a month since the defense did anything but allow a score or force the opposing offense to punt the ball.
I can't express in words how important turnovers are in the NFL. So, let's see if stats can do it. Here are the league leaders (and the Chargers) in terms of turnover differential and where they rank within their division:
- Steelers +9 (1st)
- Buccaneers +8 (1st)
- Redskins +8 (3rd), thank you Jay Cutler
- Patriots +7 (1st)
- Jets +7 (2nd)
- Eagles +7 (2nd)
- Chargers -8 (3rd)
2. Issues in the Secondary
When Quentin Jammer said, after the game, that the secondary had some issues that they needed to fix, I believe he was talking to Antoine Cason. I haev always been a big Cason supporter and still think he's a better all-around CB than Antonio Cromartie, but teams seem to have discovered a weakness in his game and he has been burned quite a bit over the last month.
In a play that looked almost exactly like the Louis Murphy touchdown Cason gave up in week 1 of the 2009 season, Cason relied on the Safety to take over the coverage on Nate Washington and ended up giving the Titans an easy 71 yard touchdown pass. He didn't have a terrible or spectacular game besides that play, but (as mentioned in Bad Thing #1) this team needs Cason to be a playmaker and create turnovers while not getting penalized and covering his guy. It's a tough task, and he's going through some growing pains, but he'll get there.
3. Randy McMichael
One guy that nobody has mentioned the team missing, but probably should, is Brandon Manumaleuna. McMichael was signed to replace Manu's catches, blocking and his spot on Special Teams as well, and has been a downgrade at all three. I don't know what the difference is between Randy now and the Randy that played for the Dolphins years ago, when he routinely had 60+ catches for 500 + yards, but the lack of production from him and the regression of Kris Wilson has made the Chargers a lot thinner at TE than they originally thought.
McMichael's non-block on the Mike Scifres' blocked punt was just disgraceful. The best excuse he could possibly give was that he simply had a brain-fart and didn't see the guy until he was passed him, because otherwise it looks like he got lazy (which some people were already beginning to suspect when he didn't dive on top of a fumble a few weeks ago) and decided not to block the guy. Outside of McMichael, the Special Teams unit played quite well.
|vs TEN / 10.31.10||Receiving|
4. Pass Rush
For some reason, I have no recollection on if the pass rush was good or not. I'm going to assume that Ron Rivera dropped a lot of guys into coverage instead of blitzing the QB because, although the Chargers had 0 sacks on the day, the Titans QBs both completed only about 50% of their passes.
Still, any time you're going against a team that's given up more than 2 sacks per game you hope to escape with more than zero on the day.
5. Failed PAT
Look, I'm well aware it is just one point. Also, I don't know that there's anything different anybody could've done (except Scifres, who could've done a better job of putting the ball down). However, it was a major mistake at a major point in the game and this team cannot have that.
A missed PAT keeps it a one-score game with almost 7 minutes left. A made PAT makes it a two-score game. This was a very important play/point. The Special Teams as a whole, from the Coach all the way down to the gunners, needs to get it's head in the game and know that any mistake they make could cost the team another victory.