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10 observations from the Panthers game...According to Hoyle

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Jamie Hoyle gives his no-holds-barred account of what he saw on Sunday against the Panthers. It won't be pretty or positive, but you know it will be honest.

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If it weren't for my wife and kids, the Chargers would have driven me to drink long ago. Like the rest of you, I'm honestly exhausted by their mistakes, inefficiencies and general ineptitude across the board. And that utter exhaustion makes writing these observation posts that much more difficult because, in addition to being exhausted, I've become alarmingly indifferent.

And it is with that indifference in mind that I will not waste your time by trying to convince you there were any positive takeaways from the Chargers loss to the Panthers.  Instead of manufacturing optimism, I'm just going to let loose with what I'm really thinking.  So whether you lean towards booze, pills or pipes, I suggest you gather whatever it is you require for dealing with this abomination of a football team and dig in for some cold, hard truth...

What a sh*t show. Five sacks, two fumbles, three interceptions, at least five other passes that should have been intercepted, an injured running back, and a safety. This was a team that clearly wasn't prepared to play a week after being eliminated from playoff contention and more or less sleepwalked through three quarters of football. It was embarrassing from start-to-finish but, on the bright side, it's going to be difficult for the front office to claim the team never quit on McCoy and, most importantly, the entire team decided to #GetDownWithTheTank2...

I can't fathom the degree to which Ken Whisenhunt and Mike McCoy must be in denial about the state of their offensive line to put that game plan together. The offensive brain trust completely abandoned the short passing game in favor of seven-step drops and the vertical passing game, which might make sense against a suspect secondary if not for one rather large detail - their offensive line had no prayer of blocking Kwann Short and Star Lotulelei.  I think we all know the rest. It's yet another example of how these coaches fail to understand their personnel and put them in a position to succeed...

The entire offensive line should return their game checks. That performance was a total embarrassment. Outside of maybe the third quarter, they blew assignments, put their quarterback at extreme risk and were generally manhandled from start to finish. They've played poorly for much of the year, and everyone is expected to struggle from time-to-time; but they looked ill-prepared, demoralized and disinterested. I hope they were all ashamed with what they saw on tape and use it to motivate themselves moving forward...

Rivers is becoming predictable in the face of an all-out blitz. Bottom line, teams have identified Rivers' tendency to check down to his left when he thinks an all-out blitz is coming. Be it a slant to Williams or a curl to Gates, the ball is coming out quickly, and it's going to his left, and for the second time this year we've seen an opposing defense bait him into an interception. A few weeks ago it was Kiko Alonso versus Tyrell Williams, Sunday it was Shaq Thompson on Gates, and in both cases, the defense suckered Rivers into a critical mistake. I'd like to think the Chargers coaches will recognize this on film and correct it, but I think we all know how that's going to go...

Will Mike McCoy make the same mistake Marty Schottenheimer made when he insisted on starting Drew Brees in a meaningless season finale in 2005? The Chargers sit at 5-8, with three meaningless games remaining, and Rivers took a horrific beating last week. At a time when discretion should be the better part of valor and the team should at least consider resting Rivers the rest of the way, I have not doubt Milquetoast is determined to do everything he can to get to 8-8. Let's just hope history doesn't repeat its self...

An unconscious Joey Bosa is a better pass rusher than anyone on the Chargers roster. Yes, you read that right. When Bosa sacked Cam Newton toward the end of the first half, he did it with one hand after knocking himself out cold on Newton's shoulder. It was another example of just how good he is and still can be, and it was probably the lone bright spot in a dismal game...

Who told John Pagano it was a good idea to matchup Trevor Williams and Jahleel Addae on Greg Olsen? Outside of Kelvin Benjamin, Olsen is the Panthers' biggest receiving threat and yet Pagano thought the best way to contain him was with 10+ yard cushions, an undrafted rookie free agent, and a box safety.  It was a plan that was doomed from the start and it resulted in 4 receptions for 87 yards. One would expect a more physical approach to defending one of the league's more dynamic tight ends, but hey, maybe Pags figured he'd catch the Panthers off guard with all that space he gave Olsen to operate with...

Damian Square has played extremely well in Brandon Mebane's absence. I've been extremely critical of the coaching staff's love affair with Square, but it's clear he is capable of providing value for this defensive line. He has teamed nicely with Bosa and Liuget, allowing the Chargers run defense to perform well in Mebane's absence. I still think he's better suited to playing the 5-technique, or possibly the 3-technique, but his work inside these last few weeks has been admirable, if not downright impressive...

The final score may not necessarily reflect it, but the Chargers defense fought its ass off. The Panthers had six possessions start inside the Chargers 45 yard line, three of which started inside the Chargers 30, and they only scored 17 points on those six possessions. It may not sound like much, but it kept the offense in the game despite five turnovers, a safety and two long kick returns by the Panthers.  While I normally loathe the "bend but don't break" approach to defense, the defense refused to break when it could have been easy to crumble, and for that they deserve credit...

Now is the time for development and evaluation. The Chargers won't make the playoffs; they're likely to free themselves of several costly veterans in the off-season, and they need to figure out which of their young players is capable of stepping up in 2017.  That means it's time to get a longer look at players like Spencer Pulley, Darius Philon, Kenneth Farrow, Dexter McCoil, Chris Landrum, Trovon Reed, Trevor Williams, and possibly even Adrian McDonald and Max Tuerk. We'll need to get a look at the future sooner or later and, if you ask me, there is no time like the present...

Well, that's it for me.  Those are my observations from the Panthers game, what were yours?