On Sunday in San Diego, with Norv Turner’s team and coaching tenure on the brink, Turner played it safe.
Turner coached not to lose, just like Marty Schottenheimer before him. That inevitably led to a loss.
Turner didn’t trust his veteran quarterback to try to make a few plays at the end of regulation to win the game before overtime. He was happy to let the clock sadly run out while the Chargers had the ball.
“I don’t look at it in terms of playing scared,” Turner said via Nick Canepa of the San Diego Union-Tribune. “I was more concerned about Philip taking a big hit. I think we did the right thing.”
Turner thinks they did the right thing because he doesn’t think his team is very good.
“No one threw in the towel,” Norv said. “We were sitting there and Philip [Rivers] was having a tough time getting into the end zone, No. 1. No. 2, I don’t think we would have protected and gotten it off.”
We’re sure the offensive line appreciates Turner not giving them the chance in regulation. In overtime, the Chargers advanced the ball to Denver’s 35-yard line. The next three calls: Run, run, run for a total of zero yards.
That set up Nick Novak’s 52-yard missed field goal.
The playcalling was incredibly reminiscent of Schottenheimer’s playcalling against the Jets in the Wild Card game after the 2004 season. Marty called three straight runs in that game for no yards to set up a Nate Kaeding field goal attempt, instead of letting his quarterback (Drew Brees) advance the ball. Kaeding missed from 40 yards out, and the Chargers lost.
With his head coaching career on the line, Turner had many chances on Sunday to swing for the fences. He could let his team try to win instead of hoping it happened.