Hindsight being what it is, I suppose we should have expected nothing less. Since Norv Turner took over as San Diego's head football coach, the Chargers just can't seem to get their feet under them until darn near Halloween.
Monday night was scary. The Chiefs, winners of 10 games over the last three years, beat the Bolts 21-14 at Arrowhead Stadium in the season opener. It's the same old September story. The Chargers are now 5-7 in the season's first month under Turner.
Philip Rivers was awesome. He threw for 298 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. However, at the end of the game they should have taken the ball out of his hands.
Down by a touchdown with a minute to play, the Chargers had the ball 1st and goal at the the Kansas City three-yard-line. Instead of sending in his mammoth running back group (Ryan Mathews and Mike Tolbert combined are about 450 pounds of downhill running fury), the Chargers tried three passes and a failed handoff to 185-pound Darren Sproles. I guess that commitment to the run we heard about in the preseason was just a bunch of idle talk.
The Chargers' biggest problem, though, was special teams, specifically punt coverage. Dexter McCluster returned a punt 94 yards for a touchdown. It was the longest punt return in Chiefs history, and the longest the Chargers have ever given up. Another rookie, Javier Arenas, had a nice return to set up K.C.'s other score. Punter Mike Scifres could have had three different punts downed inside the 5-yard line, but the coverage team was unable to get there in time, and the punts wandered into the end zone for touchbacks. Last year, Scifres only had two touchbacks in 16 games. Of course, last year he had Kassim Osgood on the team.
Afterward, Rivers said it's just one game, that his team can still start fast with a win over the Jacksonville Jaguars at the Q on Sunday. Hopefully he's right.