It’s only getting worse for the San Diego Chargers.
The Chargers (3-9) have gone two straight home games without scoring a touchdown. They have dropped seven of their last nine AFC West games.
Philip Rivers was pummeled in a 17-3 loss to division leader Denver on Sunday, getting sacked four times and hit 11 times. He also served up his fifth interception return for a touchdown this season.
Rookie running back Melvin Gordon was benched again after fumbling twice more, losing one.
Coach Mike McCoy’s biggest beef was with what happened to Rivers, especially late in the game.
Von Miller drove Rivers into the ground, and when the two got up yapping at each other, the outside linebacker grabbed the quarterback by the collar.
None of Rivers’ teammates came to his rescue.
"I’m disappointed with the way we protected him the entire game, not just that one play. That’s all been addressed. We had way too many hits on him," McCoy said Monday.
"We did a poor job in the game protecting Philip, the whole entire game, from the very first series on."
Center Trevor Robinson and right guard Kenny Wiggins said they didn’t see the Miller-Rivers dustup but added that they need to protect the QB better.
"Obviously he’s our franchise and it’s on us to protect him and it’s on us to do better," Robinson said.
Said Wiggins: "He means the most to this team, more than anybody, probably even coaches. Phil’s our guy and we want him upright and healthy."
The Chargers have lost to each of their AFC West rivals and play each of them again, starting Sunday at Kansas City. The Chiefs embarrassed the Chargers 33-3 in San Diego two weeks ago.
How do the Chargers guard against apathy?
"If you don’t care you won’t be playing," McCoy said. "They all know that. This is the NFL. It’ll be not for long if you don’t play very hard. There’s not only our football team but there’s 31 other teams out there watching it, and if you can’t show up every Sunday and play your tails off, you’re in the wrong business because you’ll get embarrassed and you’ll get exposed and other teams will see it and not many guys are going to want that."
McCoy said he can tell if players care.
"You just turn on the film. That’s easy. How do you show up every day to practice? You feeling sorry for yourself? We created this mess," he said. "We were the ones, coaches, players. Our record’s what it is. We’ve done this."
Also Monday, the team didn’t shed any more light on why it tried to keep secret a three-year contract extension through 2019 given to general manager Tom Telesco during the summer. Some outsiders wonder if the team tried to keep it secret so it wouldn’t raise questions about McCoy, who hasn’t gotten an extension. He’s under contract through 2016.
Asked if he thinks the front office and ownership are happy with the job he’s done, McCoy said: "I know exactly where they stand with me. We talk every week after every game we talk all offseason long. I’ve known all along that Tom’s had this. They’re not hiding anything from me. I’ve known from the very first day they did it. I’m happy for Tom."
Neither Teleseco nor John Spanos, the president of football operations and grandson of owner Alex Spanos, returned emails asking if they had confidence in McCoy.
John Spanos’ father, Dean, the team’s chairman, wants to move the Chargers to an industrial suburb of Los Angeles.
McCoy is 22-24 in three seasons, including a playoff win and loss after the 2013 season.
Meanwhile, the Chargers got good news on receiver Dontrelle Inman, who was injured in a scary hit after making a catch. Inman has a strained neck and is listed as day to day.
Inman said he remained conscious after the hit. He was immobilized on a back board and taken off the field on a cart.
"I feel good," he said. "Ready to work, ready to get back out there. I’ll be out there. I’m blessed that I’m walking around, laughing and joking."
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