In the waning moments of Monday night’s comeback, we saw the true nature of the San Diego Chargers under Norv Turner and the possibilities for the Denver Broncos with Peyton Manning. First lets look at the perennial underachieving Chargers. When our CEO talks about championship football teams, it’s usually around signature wins that bolsters their confidence as they mature over a season. Before you can prove to the rest of the NFL that you’re a force to be reckoned with, you have to knock down a bully in your backyard.
Now wasn’t it one year ago Rex Ryan boldly stated “Had I coached the talent the Chargers have, I’d have Super Bowl rings”, in an obvious dig at Turner?? How did he and his team respond after being called out?? They came out and took a 21-10 halftime lead on the Jets only to show no fight in the end while losing 27-21. http://www.pro-football-reference.com/boxscores/201110230nyj.htm They were outscored 17-0 as the Jets promptly took their lunch money without much of a struggle.
Fast forward 358 days and here the Chargers were playing the odds on favorite to win the division in the Denver Broncos. This time they woke in the heat of battle up 24-0. Antonio Gates had just scored after the defense showed it could play Manning tough with Quentin Jammer’s 80 yard interception return for a touchdown. Their crowd was in it. Manning was having his struggles and Phillip Rivers looked like a world beater. So what happened???
Let’s take a look at the AFC West standings…
That was an incredibly gritty performance by Peyton Manning. Where he could have packed it in after his pick 6, he kept on firing. One strong point to the comeback was they didn’t totally abandon the running game. This kept the Chargers honest and his intermediate passing lanes open. The clinic he performed was reminiscent of the 21 point 4th quarter deficit he erased when his Colts came back on the champion Buccaneers 38-35 in 2003. This time he performed surgery for 2 quarters. Of course we all remembered his epic comeback in the 2006 AFC Championship against New England. However this one seemed better than those..surreal. He has been trying to make it work with a new team, and if you dissect his season, it’s as though he has to realize the strengths of his personnel and what they present in match-ups to the opposition. He’s had to do this in every game and then he gets hot. Do you realize that with 1,808 yards and 14 touchdowns, he is on pace for 4,821 yards and 37 TDs?? Yikes!! Can he physically keep it up for the duration of the season??
So what are we talking about when we say illusions?? In all actuality the Broncos only raised their record to 3-3 and right now the defense is allowing 23 points per game. They do rank 11th in total defense and can play stifling defense in fits and starts. So are they as good as their 3 wins or as flawed as they appeared in their 3 losses?? Puzzling but this win over the Chargers was the first over a winning team as well as a first triumph on the road. As for the rest of the season they only face 3 teams who are .500 or better, and 5 of their next 8 games are on the road.
The Broncos could ride that momentum into a winning streak and a more impressive record. Yet playing good football in spotty fashion has dug to deep a hole against quality teams. With upcoming games against New Orleans, at Cincinnati, at Carolina, home to the Chargers, and then away at Kansas City: If the Broncos were to rattle off wins against these under performing teams and inflate their record, are they a true elite team in the AFC?? Our CEO just shrugged his shoulders at the thought of that…
As for the Chargers, here they were with an inflated record of 3-2 with wins over the back-pedalling Raiders, Titans, and Chiefs. When it was time to step up and show they were for real in a showcase game, they gave us another epic collapse. Just like that loss last year to the New York Jets, it showed this team lacks toughness and has a damaged fight or flight mechanism also. They became clock watchers and couldn’t turn the tide once momentum was on the side of Denver. With the loss of WR Vincent Jackson, this team has lost all of the playmakers they once had to turn a close game in their favor. From a psyche standpoint they will not stand up and fight. As long as Norv Turner is the coach, this team is not to be trusted as being a Super Bowl caliber group.
As for the Raiders and Chiefs…it’s been an optical illusion that they have even taken the field this year.
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