Thus far, the Chargers season is a lot like last year's. I pointed this out already in my Bleacher Report piece. Look, I don't claim to have the answers for this most maddening of teams. But they still do things that any observer can see are stupid. My buddy Mike is one of the few people whose football knowledge (present company excluded) I have come to really respect. Even as a Jet fan, he had these words after last year's loss in the Meadowlands:
Yeah, I think both teams are mediocre at best; the difference is Turner got outcoached again. They came out for the second half and didn’t even try to run more on the Jets. The Jets just flooded the middle of the field and took away what Rivers likes to do – at that point Turner has to make an adjustment, but of course he is not capable of making those adjustments, he is the worst coach in football. Teams have been running over the Jets and David Harris (best run stopper) was out for most of the second half. I totally understand your frustration, Turner must, must be fired.
Now compare that to the e-mail he sent me after the loss in New Orleans:
I'm not sure what is worse, having Mark Sanchez at QB or Norv turner as coach. I know I'm not telling you something you don’t already know, but he is the absolute worst game coach ever. The Chargers were in control but every time the opponent makes an adjustment, it takes Turner forever to react. The Saints lose a cornerback, do the Chargers attack, no, not at all. Do they play action after being effective running the ball, no. Do they take out guys that are obviously hurt, no. Yes, the Chargers got jobbed by the refs last night, but I truly believe I could be a better in game coach…I can’t believe both Sanchez and Turner still have jobs, embarrassing…
These aren't just the words of an amazing friend trying to console me. These are observations that reaffirm what we have all been saying. I know Troy Aikman was Tweeting during the first half on Sunday Night that Norv is the best play caller in football. "It's not even close," he said. If that was the case, why did he throw on 3rd and 2 when the Saints clearly couldn't stop the run? I am sure Novak looked good in warmups and all, but Norval was once again outsmarting himself. Rivers apparently checked out of a run at the goal line according to Jim Trotter, who interviewed him for the SI profile that ran this week.
But there was no excuse for ignoring Mathews in the second half. This week, people are already speculating that he'll continue to forget about Mathews against Denver. We all remember that it was last year's Denver game that Norval didn't even know Mathews was out of the game at one point.
I have no problem with the way Mathews has been handled to this point. It's not as if Charger fans have been front runners by calling out Mathews. His fumbles have single handedly been that destructive. Of course, we could argue that Rivers, Cason and Kaeding have all lost games by their own actions as well. But Sunday Night it became clear that Ryan Mathews was taking over the game.
When he pulled that Gary Anderson move, I literally started laughing. I was so loud that I woke my daughter up. However, it was that cathartic to see him score in that fashion.
But, of course, the Chargers shat all over that. I know all about the bad calls. Antonio Gates was hit with a ******** pass interference last year on Halloween that nullfied a touchdown. But the Bolts could have won that game and we all remember how and why they didn't.
The Chargers have no resiliency right now. As soon as the Ingram hit canceled out the pick six, we all worried that the Bolts wouldn't be able to recover. That's ******* pathetic. My buddy Tom Twomey texted me that "Frankstein Footed Philip" hadn't yet fumbled. Of course, Tom assumed that he would and he did. Eric Stangel emailed me that Rivers hadn't yet thrown his killer interception and of course our QB soon obliged.
Floyd was interfered on that play. There's no doubt. But Rivers had a shot to lead his team into the end zone and couldn't do it. Were there ****** calls on that drive as well? Absolutely. But until he can lead this team as he once did, alll the things people said about the Chargers this week will continute to be true. Nothing will suffice other than a win. If they lose, the AFC West will once again look like an awful division that the Bolts can't even control.
I know I'm not telling anything you didn't already know, FAITHFUL READER. But I think we are all desperately looking for some evidence that this year will be different from year's past. Just when it looked like they might be learning from the past, they cowered under the pressure on Sunday. What's that Einstein quote, insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results?
I threw up a little in my mouth when I saw Norv's Monday comments that he would have run more if they had taken a 17-point lead like they did in Kansas City? Isn't that what adjustments are supposed to be for? What was Dean claiming that Norv needed help with? Was it just clock management, because that sucked too. Is it just Rivers' immobility that makes our hurry up offense slower than me trying to get two kids into the car? Is it a lack of urgency? It's like being the mom of Tommy, the protagonist of The Who's second best rock opera. I'm a Quadrophenia guy, obviously.
What is happening in his head Ooooh I wish I knew, I wish I knew.
It's more like the lyrics to "The Punk Meets The Godfather," from the aforementioned 1973 double album:
I have to be careful not to preachI can't pretend that I can teach,And yet Ive lived your future outBy pounding stages like a clown.
If the Chargers actually let Mathews show his stuff tomorrow night and he fumbles or gets hurt again, I guess that would at least constitute something different. Or would it?
Oh well, you can't be half a Charger. And you can't be half a Charger fan. Talk to you tomorrow night.