If you were wondering if it was going to be "one of those years" for the San Diego Chargers, wonder no longer.
Mike McCoy's team is 2-5, including being 0-3 on the road and 0-1 against the division, and has won just 3 of their last 11 games. Despite having future Hall of Famers and former Pro Bowlers on the roster, there is very little evidence that the San Diego Chargers have the talent or the coaching to compete for a division title or even a Wild Card spot.
What we do know, after watching today's game, is that the Chargers are not as good as this year's Raiders (who are now 3-3). San Diego was very clearly outplayed and outcoached in every facet of the game, and many watching were convinced that they were watching a Chargers team that had "quit" on Mike McCoy and no longer hustling to make each play.
No matter what Mike McCoy or Philip Rivers says in the post game press conference, this team was nowhere near "one play away" and they're not "just a few bounces away from being 6-1". The Chargers were crushed, embarrassed, and humiliated by their rivals on Sunday at Qualcomm Stadium.
To put it bluntly, this game was nowhere near as close as the score would lead you to believe.
Philip Rivers was mediocre in this one. He completed about 60% of his passes for 336 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. He was sacked only once and seemed to have time to throw most of the time that he dropped back. (He once again threw it about 60 times and faced a QB that threw it about half as many times.)
Overall, the Chargers running attack wasn't terrible. They ran is 21 times for 90 yards, but nobody had more than 35 yards on the ground (Branden Oliver had exactly 35).
The biggest problem, outside of Rivers inability to consistently move the offense down the field by himself, was with the Chargers' defense.
The Raiders averaged over 5 yards per rush attempt and nearly 9 yards per pass attempt. They turned the ball over zero times, had plenty of big plays, and didn't have to punt until halfway through the third quarter.
Up until the Raiders seemingly lost interest (halfway through the third quarter, up by 31 points) and started playing prevent defense, there was nothing that they wanted to do that the Chargers kept them from doing. It was a beautiful display of talent mixed with coaching and effort. It was the polar opposite of what San Diego displayed.
One of the storylines of this one was Melvin Gordon, who sat on the bench until late into the third quarter. The coaches obviously don't trust him anymore, and he has seemingly lost his starting job to Branden Oliver.
Another is Orlando Franklin, who returned to his spot as the team's starting Left Guard after missing three games with an injury, only to be carted off with what looked to be a pretty serious knee injury.
Next week, the Chargers will travel to Baltimore to play an early game against the Ravens. There's little to no hope the Chargers will win, even though the Ravens aren't very good, which means that they will definitely play their best game of the season.