After breaking out to a 16-0 lead in the first half of their game with the Bills, the Chargers found themselves pushed back on their heels by 10 straight Buffalo points in the third quarter.
Facing a fourth-and-two from their own 30, the Chargers lined up to punt the ball, and whatever momentum they had left in the game, away. Except they didn’t punt. Eric Weddle took the snap, converted the first down and the Chargers went on to score a touchdown. The game turned into a rout from there — the Chargers wound up winning 37-10 — and we’re left with only one question.
What got into Norv Turner?
The same coach who played not to lose in overtime of a loss to Denver two weeks ago was doing whatever he could to win a game in the third quarter this week. The new look paid off for him and for the Chargers, who won their second straight to improve to 6-7 and keep flickering hopes of stealing the division alive.
Turner’s new gambling philosophy wasn’t the only difference with the Chargers from two weeks ago. Philip Rivers is also back to playing like Philip Rivers. After throwing 17 interceptions in the first 10 games of the season, Rivers has thrown none in the last three weeks and San Diego has won two of those games to keep their season meaningful. He threw three touchdowns on Sunday and carved up the Bills defense all day en route to the win.
San Diego’s schedule isn’t easy — vs. Baltimore, at Detroit, at Oakland — but they have a chance to factor into the divisional reckoning in the final three weeks of the season. That’s pretty good for a team that looked dead and buried after their sixth straight loss two weeks ago.
Speaking of dead and buried, the Bills certainly qualify. Ryan Fitzpatrick was abysmal Sunday — 13-of-34, 176 yards, two interceptions — and the fire has completely gone out of the team after their hot start to the season. Injuries to stars like Fred Jackson and Kyle Williams make that understandable, but the Bills have gone from being a good team to being barely competitive. That’s a steep drop in such a short amount of time. If it continues, Chan Gailey will probably be faced with some questions he didn’t think he’d have to answer back in October.