Heading into their Thursday Night showdown against the Broncos just a week and a half ago, the Chargers were considered a team that could outlast Peyton Manning for the AFC West title. After blowing a fourth quarter lead to the Cardinals, who own the leagues best record, the Chargers beat the Seahawks and won five straight games.
Philip Rivers was the early season selection for MVP. Rivers had thrown 15 touchdowns to just two interceptions in the Chargers first six games. The defense ranked number one through week five in points allowed with just 12.6. Even with four different centers, injuries all over the defense, the Chargers were playing some of the best football in all of the league.
As they got healthier, they were supposed to get even better. Without Ryan Matthews, Branden Oliver seemed to emerg as their next Darren Sproles as everything seemingly fell into place. Now, Rivers has thrown five touchdowns and six interceptions during a losing streak that has shown no ounce of positivity from anywhere on the field. Specifically for the defense who is now allowing 20.7 points per game.
They gave the Broncos (and the officiating) a fight in Denver. This was after a last minute loss off the foot of rookie kicker, Cairo Santos, at home to the Chiefs. These two losses weren’t enough to panic, they had happened and it was up to head coach Mike McCoy and company to get back on track in Miami.
But it wasn’t even close. Ryan Tannehill tied his career high with three touchdowns and the Dolphins exploded for 37 points. The defense stifled Rivers all afternoon, and were able to shutout one of the better offenses in the league.
Suddenly, the Chargers have lost three games in a row and sit at the bottom of the AFC Wildcard race with a 5-4 record. Even more suddenly, the team who just blew them out sit at 5-3 and have three straight wins.
It looked like a lock that the AFC West would have two playoff berths, two NFL MVP finalists, and a heck of a fight for the division title. But this is the NFL, and now the Chargers have a team that could free-fall behind a quarterback who’s hot start may have been a mirage.
It doesn’t seem to matter who’s the head coach, or who’s on the field- The Chargers have a way of finding ways to ruin a good thing. Heading into their bye week, this Chargers team have a lot to think about.