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Chargers choke in Cincinnati; Chiefs win AFC West

Norv Turner

No Chad Ochocinco.  No Terrell Owens.   No problem.

The Chargers’ usual second half push for the playoffs will fall short after the Bengals pounded them 34-20 Sunday.  It was an inexplicable display of awful defense at the worst possible time for the Chargers.   It’s been an inexplicable season for San Diego, and this latest letdown will hand the Chiefs the AFC West title.

The Chargers entered the game second in offense and first in yards allowed.  They were second in the league in point differential.  None of that will matter because they couldn’t win a game they absolutely needed Sunday.

When the story of the 2010 Chargers is told, their special teams failures early in the season will be blamed for their record. Fair enough.

It’s worth remembering, though, that the Chargers were soundly outplayed three times this year.  The Rams, Raiders, and Bengals all beat San Diego up.  Not exactly title contenders there.

Carson Palmer completed 16-of-21 passes for 269 yards and four scores Sunday.  Jerome Simpson had 124 yards and two scores, while Andre Caldwell had 87 yards.   Not exactly Jerry Rice and John Taylor there.

It’s hard to really explain this Chargers team, but G.M. A.J. Smith now has a long, frustrating offseason to figure out where things went wrong.

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51 Responses to “Chargers choke in Cincinnati; Chiefs win AFC West”
  1. natelan says: Dec 26, 2010 7:26 PM

    Huge Chargers fan here…

    Congrats Kansas City.

    Much better to lose it to you, than the classless Raiders or Broncos.

    You guys are a good team. Not a GREAT team, but a good team, and with a little luck, you’re capable of beating almost anyone.

    My money is on New England, though.

    If you’re lucky, you’ll play the Jets and not the Ravens in the wildcard round.

  2. sdboltaction says: Dec 26, 2010 7:27 PM

    Better to choke there than the first game in the playoffs. KC wont win in the post season either, big deal. Maybe now we’ll get rid of Aj and Norv. I’ve always disliked Norval.

  3. natelan says: Dec 26, 2010 7:29 PM

    P.S…

    Please fore Norv Turner. Please…?

    We knew in our hearts that we wouldn’t make the playoffs when we were 2-5 earlier this year.

    I’m having flashbacks of losing to the Chiefs in week 1, lol…

    Again, congratulations Kansas City.

    Stick it to ‘em and do our division proud!

  4. jfibertkc says: Dec 26, 2010 7:33 PM

    Chargers haven’t looked like a playoff contender all year…time for the chiefs to show people what their made of. Oh, and our running backs are fresh and ready to go despite it being the postseason….brilliant long term gameplan I must say.

  5. haleyistheman00 says: Dec 26, 2010 7:34 PM

    I love how san diego chokes. But the chiefs haven’t lost first place all year.

  6. joelvis72 says: Dec 26, 2010 7:35 PM

    At least we don’t have to hear any more “Phillip Rivers is the best quarterback in the NFL” stories until next August.

  7. buckeye044 says: Dec 26, 2010 7:35 PM

    When it is week 15 and you are fighting for your playoff lives and you get waxed by a team with 3 wins, it isn’t a choke, it is a lack of preparation.

    It starts at the top with A.J. Smith. As long as he is there, they will be a non-factor in the AFC.

    So please keep him.

  8. 8man says: Dec 26, 2010 7:36 PM

    Not how I saw it unfolding.

    Congratulations, Kansas City.

  9. jjackwagon says: Dec 26, 2010 7:37 PM

    Is anyone outside San Diego surprised by this?

  10. coachstram says: Dec 26, 2010 7:38 PM

    Thanks, Bolts.

  11. thetooloftools says: Dec 26, 2010 7:45 PM

    LT says “tell me how my (|) tastes” !

  12. natelan says: Dec 26, 2010 7:48 PM

    #
    jjackwagon says: Dec 26, 2010 7:37 PM

    Is anyone outside San Diego surprised by this?
    ________________________

    Fans in San Diego aren’t surprised either, dude…

    Our season was over at 2-5.

  13. meattuperello says: Dec 26, 2010 7:53 PM

    This should be enough to show J.A. Smith the door.

    His pure stupidity kept two of their best players off the field collectively for the majority of the year.

    J.A if your winning% was on par with your ego, you might be on to something.

    The canned the wrong one when the fired Marty and kept J.A.

    Just more proof that Eli & Archie Manning was 100% accurate back in 04.

  14. awestcave says: Dec 26, 2010 7:54 PM

    I said this earlier in the year, and it’s now truer than ever. Chargers fans have exactly what the Chiefs used to have: another Carl Peterson. I say that not to be an a-hole, but as an honest word of warning to the Charger’s fans: Don’t get duped by another ego-maniac who’s let Marty Schottenheimers success go to his head. We’ve had the “I dont need you to win-this team is great because of me-not the players” GM before and it took is 20 years to get rid of him.

    Chargers fans: get rid of A.J now before he does what Carl did to my Chiefs. It’s in your best interest.

    Good luck in the future. It’s been a crazy year.

  15. tripnasty says: Dec 26, 2010 7:54 PM

    Where did it go wrong?

    2 words: Vincent Jackson

    They screwed that negotiation up at every turn! Alex Spanos had to leave every meeting feeling like he won, so in the end… he lost. Good.

  16. righthereisay says: Dec 26, 2010 7:58 PM

    Can’t believe they didn’t make the playoffs. Wonder if Cowher is interested.

  17. joetoronto says: Dec 26, 2010 7:59 PM

    The Chargers have turned into their HC, soft as a baby’s behind.

  18. peytonwantsaflag says: Dec 26, 2010 8:00 PM

    it’s not inexplicable to anybody but you know-it-all-media-types. Not sure what it is but your all’s love for SD, Rivers and Norv knows no bounds.

  19. kcfanatic says: Dec 26, 2010 8:00 PM

    sdboltaction,

    That is the most ridiculous statement I’ve heard in a while. Yeah, let’s lose now so that we don’t lose in the playoffs???? Every team except 1 are eliminated in the playoffs. Its better for your team and your city if they are playing meaningful games in December, Janury and February.

    Don’t be a sore loser. Its been a long time since we had a winner between the Chiefs and Royals. Just let us enjoy. We do get a home game. I think we may win at least 1 game this post season.

  20. tatum064 says: Dec 26, 2010 8:01 PM

    Didnt see this one coming. Lot of changes in store for Cincy and San Diego. Wish we had beaten the Colts today to play for a meaningful finale. Things are changing in the AFC West….looking good for Raiders next year, but gotta cut the penalties. As for Cincinnati, Palmer picks this game to get off (without T.O. and Ocho Cinco…what does that tell you?)

  21. collegesportsnut says: Dec 26, 2010 8:07 PM

    “Better to choke there than the first game in the playoffs.”

    Spoken like a true loser. I’m willing to bet the team your a fan of wouldn’t agree.. Ya douche bag

  22. jodave5 says: Dec 26, 2010 8:11 PM

    26 yr season ticket holder in KC. Did we really win the West? I know we are a fraud (re: CHI/NYJ fans that includes you) but what the heck. We didn’t lose to STL or CINCY. We may not win a playoff game but coming from 4-12,2-14, and 4-12, we will take it! GO CHIEFS!!!!!

  23. natelan says: Dec 26, 2010 8:11 PM

    #
    thetooloftools says: Dec 26, 2010 7:45 PM

    LT says “tell me how my (|) tastes” !
    ____________________________

    The good news for L.T. is that he remembers how it feels to lose in the first round of the playoffs, so when the Jets go up in flames early to the Colts or Chiefs, it won’t sting as much.

  24. backindasaddle says: Dec 26, 2010 8:12 PM

    I have to blame Norv. They have a highly talented team but are consistently inconsistent. That is on the coach and not having them mentally prepared.

    There is enough of a body of work here to say this is by no means an aberration. It’s on the coaching.

    I’m also very happy for KC. They’re rebuilding the right way and it’s now showing.

  25. laxer37 says: Dec 26, 2010 8:15 PM

    jjackwagon says:

    Is anyone outside San Diego surprised by this?

    ————————————————

    Yes, everyone in Cincinnati.

  26. gbatap says: Dec 26, 2010 8:17 PM

    “It’s been an inexplicable season for San Diego, and this latest letdown will hand the Chiefs the AFC West title.”
    ——————————-

    I figured this would be the spin put on this story. You’re right Rosenthal the Chargers just “handed” the division to the Chiefs. It had nothing to do with, you know, the Chiefs winning ten games and winning the division.

  27. borisbulldog says: Dec 26, 2010 8:21 PM

    haleyistheman00 says:
    Dec 26, 2010 7:34 PM
    I love how san diego chokes. But the chiefs haven’t lost first place all year.

    Wait until the Chefs pull a one and done in the play-offs!

  28. meatball13 says: Dec 26, 2010 8:21 PM

    Way to play hardball with your best offensive lineman and reciever A.J. I’m sure that had no effect on the team at the start of the season(2-5)

  29. ehatem says: Dec 26, 2010 8:32 PM

    “It’s hard to really explain this Chargers team, but G.M. A.J. Smith now has a long, frustrating offseason to figure out where things went wrong.”

    Does AJ own a mirror? If not he may never find the person responsible.

  30. haleyistheman00 says: Dec 26, 2010 8:43 PM

    I’m not criticizing san diego I was criticizing the writer on this piece. I’m a huge chiefs fan. I was stating the truth and if they go 1 n done I’ll be happy bc we are division champs.

  31. cowboyerik says: Dec 26, 2010 9:04 PM

    WHO DEY!

  32. beauregard says: Dec 26, 2010 9:12 PM

    A top defense. An elite quarterback. A decent, if surprising, running game…..
    And we don’t even make the playoffs.
    I thought losing in the first round was bad, but the humiliation of this team not even getting there is worse.
    The media doesn’t help with all of the “Chargers are the team NO ONE wants to play” crap. Great potential is a heavy burden.
    The window of opportunity for this team was two years ago. Squandered opportunities will haunting this under achieving team for years.
    I’m going to bed now. See you in August for yet another run.

  33. grogansheroes says: Dec 26, 2010 9:12 PM

    tatum064 says:
    Dec 26, 2010 8:01 PM
    Didnt see this one coming. Lot of changes in store for Cincy and San Diego. Wish we had beaten the Colts today to play for a meaningful finale. Things are changing in the AFC West….looking good for Raiders next year, but gotta cut the penalties. As for Cincinnati, Palmer picks this game to get off (without T.O. and Ocho Cinco…what does that tell you?)
    _______________________
    Did everyone notice how NE got way better once Randy Moss was traded? When you have diva receivers a QB cannot be successful.
    Oh, and congrats to KC for winning the division. You can thank NE for Pioli’s parting gift from Belechick (Cassel).

  34. scrapdawg12 says: Dec 26, 2010 9:29 PM

    The season went wrong when they had 2 players sit out over half the season. 2 pro bowl players to say the least. The Defense isn’t as good as they say it is and the coaching just plain old stinks. Ryan Mathews getting hurt all year didn’t help things either. He better get bigger and stronger in the offseason.

  35. sdchargers25 says: Dec 26, 2010 10:00 PM

    Please Fire AJ “Lord of No Rings” Smith and Norv Turner. They both suck. Norv shouldnt be a head coach, his track record suggests that. demote him to OC and get someone new. and That useless trash they call AJ Smith just had his ego ruin the team. Thanks alot Spanos you selfish ****. Well come back strong though in 2011, unless AJ uses our draft pick on another Larry ****** English! Good Riddance. Thank god for Rivers, all i gotta say.

  36. kcfanatic says: Dec 26, 2010 10:05 PM

    beauregard,

    You are right. Unfortunately, a team is not built only by superstars, but with the RIGHT superstars. I feel bad for you guys, because there are some great parts on the team. They just don’t play well together. Good defense one week, good offense the next, then both but special teams blows it. The team’s dissapointing season is not the player’s fault. They are good enough to win a Super Bowl. It is coaching, and the arrogance that radiates from the GM position. We put up with that for 20 years from King Carl Peterson. Trust me. It will be a fluke if SD wins a SB with your GM. Good luck. Maybe they will fire both coach and GM and hire Bill Cower.

  37. samoanjungle says: Dec 26, 2010 10:25 PM

    Maybe the big difference was that Palmer had two young receivers that knew the plays instead of 2 old divas part-timing it.

  38. jamie54 says: Dec 26, 2010 10:28 PM

    Sorry to disagree but the GM put the players on the field whom everybody is alluding to as great talents. Is that not the mark of a good GM? He doesn’t coach them, he doesn’t draw up game plans, and he sure as hell don’t write the checks, the Spanos do that all you whiners. So it’s up to the owners for a gut check, do they have the guts to get rid of the winningest GM in their history and who to replace him with? Come on, everyone out there its easy to say when its not your money on the line but what if they hire someone worse? Be careful what you wish for you just might get it.

  39. blitzburg10 says: Dec 26, 2010 10:36 PM

    Amazing how everyone is to blame ,but the quarterback here…Yes,the defense was shameful and the criticism of the coach and the gm have merit…

    Philip Rivers puts up great stats and is a good quarterback….I emphasize ‘GOOD”,not great..The interception by Malaluga today was a game changer…a killer pick in a big spot…similar to the one he threw to Polaumalu in the AFC title game 2 years ago….

    The term elite quarterback gets thrown around a lot….he ain’t there yet!!! Again,he is a good quarterback,no doubt….but he aint great….Signature picks in big games,and a 3-7 playoff record do not constitute elite,,,period!!

    There is lots of blame to go around for today’s debacle…but that includes your quarterback….You cannot be considered elite as a qb when you implode in game-changing situations…This isn’t the first time,either.

    ..Farve’s legacy is diminished for his signature pics,hes got all the great numbers,but those signature pics live forever…Rivers has a long way to go,but do I see a pattern developing here? Time will tell…

  40. JSpicoli says: Dec 26, 2010 10:47 PM

    the raiders beat them twice—you write it like they beat them once and it was a fluke.

  41. jbaxt says: Dec 26, 2010 10:48 PM

    As a huge Chiefs fan the Charger’s are by far the least hated team by Chiefs fans in the west. The bolt fans at least show some level of class. The donks and faiders are our sworn enemies. If Rivers wasn’t such a baby and talked so much trash I’d like them more.

    Welcome back KC, the west should be a pretty good 3 man race for the next few years, then maybe the donks can participate as well. If Oakland could get a QB they would be dangerous, but luck has it that they still have Al dDavis so the west will be KC’s or San Diego’s for at least 3-4 more years.

  42. rarson says: Dec 26, 2010 11:33 PM

    The Chargers suck and Rivers is only consistently good at throwing tantrums and staring down his receivers. Calling him elite is a total joke. But California has some great weed, so I’d probably be saying it too if I lived in San Diego.

    The Chargers have been sucking for years now. It boggles my mind how many people haven’t figured this out yet.

  43. jethro007 says: Dec 26, 2010 11:39 PM

    Chargers Choke–no news there.

  44. Chargers have no rings says: Dec 27, 2010 12:17 AM

    This is a shock. Usually the Chargers choke in January, not December……. LOSERS!!!!

  45. sportsdrenched says: Dec 27, 2010 12:26 AM

    After watching the Monday Night Game on Opening Weekend I knew the 2010 Chiefs would be entertaining, but I didn’t know if they could win.

    Having them lead the division the entire season kind of blows my mind. Awesome!

    The 2010 Rookie Class is amazing. Looking back on the 2010 draft did any other rookie class contribute this much? We’re not even done with regular season, and I’m excited to see what we get next April.

    Players that were drafted by Carl Peterson that seemed to have stagnated in their developement took a step forward this year.

    And Matt Cassel and DeWanye Bowe have gone from “game managers” to Stars.

    Just an excited Chiefs fan right now.

    Can they lose in the wild card round? Sure. This team has won more this season than the previous three. And as Piaoli and Hunt like to say “this team is a work in progress.”

  46. spungy says: Dec 27, 2010 1:11 AM

    Don’t feel too bad San Diego. .. we just cured our cancer by sending him to the IR. We turned into a great team the second he was hurt.

  47. wetpaperbag2 says: Dec 27, 2010 1:14 AM

    @natelan says: Dec 26, 2010 7:26 PM

    Huge Chargers fan here…

    Congrats Kansas City.

    Much better to lose it to you, than the classless Raiders or Broncos.
    —————————————–

    What part of the Raiders and/or Broncos are classless? Could it be because both Bronco and Raider QB’s taunt the other team in the middle of the field?

    No, wait…that is Phillip Rivers.

    Could it be because Raider/Bronco QB’s taunt the fans during the pre-game and could be heard in the tunnel yelling trash/taunting the Pats players in New England that prompted the blowback by New England in the playoffs in San Diego?

    No, wait…that would be Phillip Rivers AND the Chargers.

    Could it be because Raider/Bronco QB CONTINUOUSLY get away with unchecked temper tantrums and flat out yelling/berating in the faces of the officials when calls don’t go their way?

    No, wait…that was Phillip Rivers.

    Or could it be that the Raiders and Broncos employ crybaby runningbacks and after they leave, his former Charger “friends” and teammates talk sh*t behind his back in the newspapers like he was a dog.

    No, wait….that was Phillip Rivers AND Antonio Gates.

    But you go ahead and give credit to the Chiefs, who by the way employs players who like touching other men’s “junk” on the field. (repeat offender) Nothing about the San Diego franchise (outside of Sid Gilman, Don Coryell, and Al Davis) that has anything to do with class.

    Stay classy San Diego…stay classy.

  48. voodoochild47 says: Dec 27, 2010 6:30 AM

    Happy trails Norv!!!

  49. blackcatnfl says: Dec 27, 2010 6:57 AM

    If this wasn’t an indictment of TO and Ocho, I don’t know what would be. The two get jettisoned and the passing game responds with their best game of the season bar none? Amazing.

  50. soundbounder says: Dec 27, 2010 7:23 AM

    “Just more proof that Eli & Archie Manning was 100% accurate back in 04.”

    Agree!!! Chargers are a talented team, but a terrible organization.

    Congratulations to the Chiefs.

  51. knowerofallthings says: Dec 27, 2010 8:42 AM

    AJ Smith kept two of their best talents away and cost them the post season, plain and simple

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