The Chargers held a 21-17 lead at halftime in Tampa on Sunday, but they will fly home as 34-24 losers.
It’s the fourth loss in the last five weeks and the Chargers haven’t beaten anyone other than the Chiefs since the second week of the season. That increases the heat on coach Norv Turner, assuming there’s still a way to increase the heat on a guy who came into the season with a roaring fire under his seat, but the coach thinks that his team is poised to turn things around.
“This is as tough of a group of guys as I’ve ever been around. We’ve got guys who have responded in every kind of adversity,” Turner said, via the team’s website. “We’ve had guys go play hurt and play when they shouldn’t have played. I know this group is going to respond.”
That’s boilerplate coachspeak which doesn’t have much grounding in reality. The Chargers lost this game the same way they have been losing games all year. They gave up big plays through the air, turned the ball over on offense and made a brutal special teams error. Teams that respond don’t keep succumbing to the same failures over and over again, but that’s just what these Chargers have done.
With a road date in Denver next week, the Chargers are staring at the end of realistic playoff hopes if they lose. If they’re going to prove Turner right, that’s their chance to do it. Otherwise someone else will be doing the boilerplate postgame quotes in San Diego.