Bolts closing in on 1st losing year under Turner
With a quarter of the season still to play, everything is
pointing toward the free-falling San Diego Chargers having their
first losing record in Norv Turner’s six years as head coach.
All but mathematically eliminated from the playoffs for the
third straight season, odds are pretty good the Chargers (4-8) will
clinch a losing record Sunday. They play at Pittsburgh, where
they’re 0-14 in regular-season games, and the Steelers (7-5) have
beaten both the Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals. Plus, the
Chargers have yet to beat a team with a winning record this
The Chargers are coming off home losses to the Ravens and
Bengals in which they blew fourth-quarter leads.
They can’t run the ball and Philip Rivers had two more crucial
turnovers in Sunday’s 20-13 loss to the Bengals.
Their offensive line, which couldn’t protect Rivers even before
a rash of injuries, is certain to have even more upheaval this
The Chargers were shut out in the second half on Sunday after
taking a 13-10 halftime lead. They didn’t score an offensive
touchdown for the third time this season as they lost their fourth
straight game and for the seventh time in eight games.
Now they have to face the Steelers, who, playing for the third
week without Ben Roethlisberger, won 23-20 at AFC North-leading
Baltimore on Sunday behind 37-year-old Charlie Batch. The Steelers
are tied with the Bengals for the second AFC wild-card berth.
They’re two games behind the Ravens.
The Steelers have won the last three games against the Chargers,
including a 38-28 playoff victory following the 2008 season.
The Chargers’ only wins in Pittsburgh have been in the playoffs,
a wild-card win after the 1982 season and their AFC championship
game upset after the 1994 season that propelled them to their only
Three-quarters of the way into the season, the Chargers still
can’t play a complete game. And they can’t explain why they
The Bengals went ahead on Andy Dalton’s 6-yard scamper up the
middle with 4:11 left Sunday, and San Diego’s final two drives
ended with turnovers by Rivers. The week before, they let Ray Rice
convert on a fourth-and-29 dump-off pass and the Ravens won in
”It’s not so much the fourth quarter,” the embattled Turner
said Monday. ”It stands out because it is the fourth quarter, but
we have not been able to move the ball consistently in any quarter.
And when we can make some plays we’re able to move the ball.
Sometimes you’re able to scheme them, sometimes guys make plays.
We’ve had too many negative plays that keep us from being a
consistent team. It’s not one guy.”
Safety Corey Lynch, who had an interception against the Bengals,
was asked why the Chargers have trouble finishing.
”Every week I kind of ask myself that same question and there’s
just no words. I don’t have an answer for that. It’s been
disappointing for all players, who I feel like when I’m on the
sideline watching the game, everyone’s giving 100 percent. I feel
like when I’m in the game, playing the game, all my teammates are
giving 100 percent. So, on Monday, I don’t have an answer.”
Turner has had some revealing comments recently that seem to sum
up the state of the Bolts’ roster.
A week ago, Turner acknowledged the Chargers were outmanned by
the Ravens in a number of areas.
After the loss to the Bengals, he said: ”I think there are a
lot of guys that are playing about as good as they can play right
On Monday, he said: ”I think we’ve played two really good
football teams and I think we stood there toe-to-toe with them, and
we’ve just come up short.”
The Steelers’ defense provides a contrast to San Diego’s lack of
Although Steelers stars Troy Polamalu and James Harrison have
missed time this season, the Steelers lead the NFL in overall
”I tell you one thing, when we put their depth chart up on the
wall, we played them in 2008, and I think nine of the same guys are
starting,” Turner said. ”So you have great consistency in terms
of through the years, they all know what each other’s doing. The
guys they have backing those guys up are young players that I think
are talented guys that have filled in when they need to fill in for
a guy. When you’re filling in for one guy, I think we all know you
have to do that through a season, that you’re not going to have all
11 starters for every game. But they have a great scheme, they’re
certainly well-coached, they know what each other’s doing, they
know what each other’s responsibility is and they execute it at a
real high level.”
The Chargers will face that defense with an offensive line that
could be without right tackle Jeromey Clary, left tackle Mike
Harris and left guard Tyronne Green due to injuries.
”If we’re in there with three new starting offensive linemen,
guys that I haven’t met yet, and we’re playing the Steelers in
Pittsburgh, it will be a challenge,” Turner said.
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