Packers face reeling Chargers
“This is the worst day ever,” the TV cameras caught Rivers saying on the sideline after he fumbled a snap with the Chargers driving deep in Kansas City territory in the final minute of the fourth quarter of a tie game on Monday night.
The Chiefs recovered and went on to win 23-20 in overtime to forge a three-way tie with Oakland and San Diego atop the AFC West at 4-3.
As sideline mumblings go, it’s right up there with coach Norv Turner turning to then-defensive coordinator Ron Rivera last December and saying, “What happened?” after a meltdown in a loss at Cincinnati that eliminated the Chargers from playoff contention.
Rivers closed his left hand just as center Nick Hardwick delivered the ball. Considering that Hardwick has snapped the ball to Rivers thousands of times, it was a mystifying mistake when the Chargers were seemingly in control on Halloween night.
That’s the way this season has gone. Even though the Chargers do have a winning season, they’ve stumbled around much of the season and most fans are incensed.
Monday night’s debacle followed a loss at the New York Jets in which the Chargers blew an 11-point halftime lead, were shut out in the second half and botched a two-minute drill.
Now they’ve got to face the undefeated defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers at home on Sunday, and then the archrival Oakland Raiders the following Thursday night.
“Obviously it’s as tough a way to lose a game as you can,” Turner said Tuesday. “My immediate thoughts are we’ve got to put it behind us as quick as we can.”
We’ve got Green Bay coming in here Sunday and we’ve got to do everything physically and mentally to get ready to play that game.”
There are still plenty of questions about Rivers, from whether he’s playing through an undisclosed injury to whether his confidence has been rattled.
Rivers said last week that he’s as healthy as ever.
Turner said his QB is confident, but trying too hard.
“First of all, we all know Philip is one of the most competitive people I’ve ever known,” Turner said.
“I don’t think it’s confidence at all. He has great confidence in his abilities. I think he’s pressing, I think there’s some times he’s trying to do more than he needs to do, and then there are some times when he tries to do more than he needs to do that he makes a great play and it gives us a chance to move down the field. There’s just a fine line.”
Rivers also threw two interceptions, giving him 11 for the season to go along with three lost fumbles, compared to just seven touchdown passes.
His passer rating is just 80.7 By comparison, his lowest rating for a full season was 82.4 in 2007, Turner’s first as Chargers coach. His highest was 105.5 in 2008.
The Chargers seemed on the brink of victory—well within range for kicker Nick Novak—when the ball squirted loose before it ever got in Rivers’ hands. By the time all the players were dragged off the pile, Chiefs linebacker Andy Studebaker had the ball.
Rivers said he hadn’t had a fumbled snap in years.
“It’s unfortunate. I dropped it,” he said after the game. “This one is rough. You blow it on a play that never should have happened.”
The players weren’t available on Tuesday.
“I’d love someone to go back and look at the number of times they snapped the ball and never had it hit the ground. It’s just a unique thing,” Turner said.
The QB wasn’t alone. Veteran left tackle Marcus McNeill committed six penalties: four false starts, one holding and one for illegal use of hands.
Turner said McNeill was anxious having to block Chiefs linebacker Tamba Hali.
“I’m disappointed that that took place and obviously we’ve got to fix it,” Turner said.
There’s plenty else going wrong for the Bolts. They had 12 penalties for 105 yards—giving them 25 for 200 yards in two games—running back Ryan Mathews whiffed on a blitz pickup and was hurt again, and the Chargers were once again inefficient inside the 20-yard line.
The Chargers are 1-3 on the road this season after going 3-5 away from home last season.