Going, Going ...

The bad news? The Chargers dropped their sixth straight game, essentially eliminating them from playoff contention. Good news? Fans begging for a new coaching staff look primed to get their wish, as Norv Turner and Greg Manusky seem to be five games away from the unemployment line.

As if there were not enough reasons to criticize Norv Turner, San Diego's much maligned coach provided a few more in his team's 16-13 overtime loss to the visiting Denver Broncos.

The Chargers had a chance to win the game in overtime. San Diego had the ball with a first-and-10 at the Denver 35-yard line. Philip Rivers was feeling it, having hit on all three of his passes on that drive. So what does Turner do? He calls three consecutive runs, gaining a net total of zero yards. This set up a 53-yard field goal by Nick Novak, who had already missed from 48 yards out earlier in the game.

Turner went too conservative and it cost his team. It was understandable he was reluctant to call a pass -- Denver's front seven was owning San Diego's patchwork offensive line -- but when you have Rivers, Vincent Jackson and Antonio Gates on the field, you can't be afraid to put the ball in the air with the game on the line.

The Broncos scored just one TD on the day and it came on a drive that could only be described as "classic Chargers." It started with a 31-yard punt return by Eddie Royal to set up Denver in plus territory. The drive should have ended two plays later when Tommie Harris forced a fumble, but he tried to run with it instead of falling on it -- Orlando Franklin recovered for the Broncos and Tim Tebow found Eric Decker for an 18-yard scoring strike two plays later.

This Chargers team lacks discipline, commitment and leadership and jobs will soon be lost as a result. San Diego sits in the cellar of the AFC West and now trails the division-leading Oakland Raiders by three games with five to play. Once this season is over and the Chargers are on the outside of the playoff picture for a second straight season, the firings of Turner and Manusky should follow shortly.

Rivers came to the defense of his coach after the game: "He didn't miss the throws," he said of Turner. "He did not miss the tackles. In every game, we as players have been in position to win. In the games we've lost, the last six games, we've been put in position to make the plays and we haven't made enough of them to win."

Unfortunately, this league is about winning and losing. That is why fans in Denver clamor for more Tebow and fans in San Diego yearn to rid themselves of Turner.

Lightning Quicks

--Philip Rivers did not turn the ball over, but he completed less than 53 percent of his passes. None of his targets finished with more than 50 yards receiving.

--Ryan Mathews notched the third 100-yard rushing game of his career, all of which have come against the Broncos. He ran for 137 yards on 22 carries and kept the ball off the ground.

--San Diego found success with the tight end. Antonio Gates and Randy McMichael combined to catch eight passes for 73 yards and a score, a 6-yard toss to Gates early in the second quarter.

--Shaun Phillips was back after missing four games with a foot injury. He had four tackles and deflected a pass, but he did a lousy job of keeping containment and restricting Tebow in the pocket. Perhaps this week he will spend more time studying his assignments and less time making controversial remarks on Twitter.

--Quentin Jammer was flagged for his weekly penalty, an illegal contact that turned a second-and-9 into a first-and-10. The Broncos scored their lone touchdown on the next play.

--If any Charger had a good day it was Nate Kaeding. It looked earlier this season like Novak was going to be San Diego's kicker of the future. Now, not so much.



What will the coaching staff look like in 2012? Discuss inside the message boards.




Michael Lombardo is a long-time contributor to the Scout.com network. His analysis has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports. He has followed the Chargers for more than 16 years and covered the team since 2003. You can see more of his updates by following him on twitter.


SD Super Chargers Top Stories