Let it never be said that the Chargers lose boring. Dating back to the start of last season, 13 of San Diego’s 16 losses have come by a single score. They’re 1-4 this year, all four losses coming after blowing second half leads. This is not a team that loses so totally their fans are free to turn off the TV and spare themselves the carnage. Instead, they make it seem for all the world like they have a chance, luring fans in before walloping over the head with a giant cartoon mallet.
[Head coach Mike] McCoy appeared to choke down the beginnings of a sob multiple times in his postgame press conference, the Chargers head coach for maybe just one more game having reached the point where anger gives way to shock.
“Just when you think you’ve seen it all,” he said, “something like that happens.”
Yesterday appeared, perhaps, overtime-bound. Just a 36-yard field goal to tie. Then: you know.
Rookie punter/holder Drew Kaser, the team’s sixth-round draft pick this summer, simply couldn’t handle the snap, and the Chargers matched another square on bad-loss Bingo.
The 34-31 loss to the Raiders—another entertaining shootout for San Diego, maybe the most fun team to watch this year as long as you’re not rooting for them—was the Chargers’ 10th straight loss within their division. And to be fair the rest of the AFC West has been strong the last couple of years, but the Chargers have proven adept at beating themselves. On Sunday they fumbled five times, losing two, and tossed a pair of interceptions.
This is a pattern, and man it’s got to be exhausting. Here’s receiver Travis Benjamin, who probably thought that by fleeing the Browns to sign in San Diego, he’d be done with this sort of thing.
“I came from Cleveland, so you know what that’s like, losing at the end and turning the ball over and just dumbfounded like, ‘How could it happen?’ ” Benjamin said after taking a deep breath and and letting out a long exhale to gather his voice. “… It gets frustrating. We feel like we can win, then the unbelievable happens for four or five weeks straight.”
I’ve seen this before because I played for the Browns. You’re the Browns now, Chargers. Your weather is a little better, and your QB is pretty good, but you have an unearthly knack for losing and losing painfully.
And it’s very close to costing Mike McCoy his job. Working on a one-year contract extension—the shortest of leashes in the coaching world—McCoy has probably doomed himself by losing so many games to preventable errors and blown leads. It’s one thing if a team just isn’t good enough. It’s another if a team is in position to win, week after week, and doesn’t.
Even before the Raiders loss, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reported that McCoy was entering a “critical” two-game stretch—that Raiders game, and Thursday’s home tilt with the Broncos. His seat is only hotter after yet another debacle, and while there’s no chance the team would make a change on a short week, I think it’s pretty safe that McCoy will be fired if he loses to Denver. Which they probably will—the only drama is in seeing precisely how they snatch failure from the jaws of competence this time.