“Oh so close” a statement that everyone says but never has one statement summed up so much; A game yesterday for the chargers, a season, a QB like Phillip Rivers and a coach like Norv Turners career. Whether it be this season that yesterday ended any glimmer of hope left for a chargers playoff run, or it be the career of Rivers and Turner who were truly “oh so close” back in 2007 when they were beaten one win away from the superbowl in Foxborough by Tom Brady and the Patriots.
Tom Brady shakes the hand of Phillip Rivers whose gutsy performance comes up short after a 21-12 loss in the AFC Championship game in 2007
The Chargers were yet again “oh so close” today as the forced three turnovers against the Bengals yet only managed to hold a slim 13-10 lead in the depths of the 4th qtr. In a game that literally could have been out of reach midway through the 3rd qtr San Diego yet again proved that they can figure out more than anyone how to lose a game. Jay Gruden’s young but talented offense came into Qaulcomm riding high on a three game win streak and hotter than anyone in the NFL. Second year QB Andy Dalton came into yetserdays game throwing 9 straight touchdowns without an interception. On the first drive it was buisness as usual as Dalton drove his team 91 yards in 16 plays in a drive that took nearly 8 minutes off the clock. Shareece Wright didnt help the bolts chances when they had forced Cincy into a 4th n 9 and an incompletion , when he was called for defensive holding, a theme that would be reacurring for the Chargers yesterday “oh so close”. Phillip Rivers looked like the Rivers of old when he himself put together a perfect 8-8 drive through the air which saw the Chargers squander away potential points as Norv Turner elected to kick a 19yd field goal instead of go for it all on 4th n goal from the 2 yd line. “Oh so close”.
The second half started with a ray of hope as Demarrio Williams intercepted Dalton for a 31yd pic six, proving that yes even Dalton is human as that was his first interception in his last 106 pass attempts. Chuck Pagono’s defense played good enough to win the game as Corey Lynch recorded his first career INT against Dalton midway through the third when the Bengals were entering the redzone. The next drive aswell as Quentinn Jammer recovered a fumble yet again putting Rivers and the offense in good field position to take a two score lead, that of which would never happen as niether turnover turned into points for San Diego. These bieng the few bright spots for the Chargers yesterday. Part of the offenses demise yesterday and this season is Norv Turner not having trust in RB Ryan Matthews who carried the ball 9 times for 26 yards against the Bengals, putting major stress on Rivers and the passing game. That was never more evident than when Rivers dropped back and fumbled deep in his own territory leading to 24 yd Mike Nugent FG, making it a 20-13 game for Cincy who had just scored off a 6 yard Andy Dalton scramble barely a minute and a half earlier.
Rivers fumbles late in the 4th qtr
Yet even after all of this the Chargers were still in it, Rivers raised the hopes of the fans yet again driving the bolts down to the Cincy 33yd line before hitting Malcom Floyd for a 16yd gain down to the Bengals 17yd line. With one timeout and (1:05) to play I bet you say I can finish this they punch it in the Chargers complete the 4th qtr comeback its too easy to predict? and you would be right if we were reffering to an elite NFL team; that of which I am not. Rivers threw three bombs into the endzone two of which had no chance to be caught in bounds, before he was intercepted by the Bengals Nelson on 4th n 10 ending a game, a season, and a career of Norv Turner, proving yet again that as a Charger the statement of “oh so close”, means “OH SO MUCH”.