Bolts in free-fall after loss to Bengals

The San Diego Chargers are right at home in the land of

flip-flops.

They’ve gone from 4-3 and a feel-good story under rookie coach

Mike McCoy to the cusp of missing the playoffs for the fourth

straight season.

The Chargers were manhandled in Sunday’s 17-10 loss to the

Cincinnati Bengals, the first NFL game to be blacked out this

season, to drop to 5-7.

It was their fourth loss in five games.

”At critical times we have made too many mistakes,” said

McCoy, who was never a head coach at any level before getting the

job in January after Norv Turner was fired. ”Go back to every

game, you look at certain situations where we haven’t executed. We

just haven’t gotten it done. It’s about being more consistent week

in and week out and not just at certain times but the whole

game.”

The loss came a week after a thrilling 41-38 win at Kansas

City.

The Chargers made a big deal about having four of their final

five games at home. After Sunday’s loss, the Chargers are 2-3 at

home this season after going 3-5 at Qualcomm Stadium last

season.

None of the remaining three home games have sold out.

”We’ve got to go out and win games,” McCoy said. ”We have to

do a better job. The players, coaches and the organization have to

do their job better.”

The Bengals exposed the Chargers’ defense by rushing for 164

yards and getting an easy 21-yard touchdown pass from Andy Dalton

to a wide-open A.J. Green.

”You know what kind of football team they are, the division

they play,” McCoy said of the Bengals, who lead the AFC North by

two games. ”We have to do a better job of being gap-sound, where

you are supposed to be on the run fits, certain things. Not running

through the back side. A number of little things. The disappointing

thing is there were certainly times we weren’t solid enough at the

point of attack. We had it stopped, but the guy gets five yards

somehow. For some reason or another, we had four or five plays

there where they should be zero runs and they have five, nine yards

whatever they are. We’ve got to stop that.”

The Chargers blew a zone coverage on Green’s touchdown.

”It all starts with knowing what to do,” McCoy said.

”Physically you are going to get beat by somebody. There are some

great players in the game. No. 18 is a very good receiver. You are

going to get one-on-one sometime. But you can’t give him a free

touchdown where he is not even touched walking down the middle of

the field in the red area. That’s one of those things you’ve got to

know what to do first. You can’t have a breakdown somewhere. All 11

have to be on the same page on what we had to do and they were not.

You just gave them seven points.”

On Sunday, McCoy will match wits with two-time Super

Bowl-winning coach Tom Coughlin and the New York Giants, who have

climbed to 5-7 after starting 0-6.

The Giants’ offensive coordinator is one-time Chargers coach

Kevin Gilbride, who like McCoy was hired based on his credentials

as an offensive coordinator. Gilbride went 6-16 before being fired

six games into the 1998 season.

And then there’s Eli Manning, who made it known shortly before

the 2004 draft that he didn’t want to play in San Diego. The

Chargers drafted Manning anyway, then traded him to the New York

Giants for Philip Rivers and two other picks who turned out to be

linebacker Shawne Merriman and kicker Nate Kaeding.

Manning has won two Super Bowl rings with the Giants.

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