For two and a half quarters last night, the Chargers shined! Playing toe-to-toe with the best 0-4 team in football! The knife was buried in the belly of the beast and all our precious Bolts had to do was twist. And twist they did. Interception! Touchdown! Penalty... Rookie Melvin Ingram decided to tackle Brees' chinstrap with the crown of his helmet. And that somehow drew a flag. It's like the officials don't even know he has tiny little arms and can't sack quarterbacks in the conventional way that other linemen can. In a lot of ways, that was the most discriminatory flag ever thrown in the NFL. After that flag-even with a 10 point lead!-we were never in that game again. One big mistake and the Chargers disappear. It happened after Mathews fumbled against the Falcons and it happened again last night. It's a disturbing trend and that's why I named this post "Disturbing Trend Alert!" Look, I get it. I really do. One time in 4th grade I made an embarrassing charades gaffe while on a field trip to Balboa Park and then Jennifer G. decided she didn't want to "go with me" anymore, and I've never gotten over it. I still can't engage females comfortably. The big difference, though, is that no one pays me a million or more dollars to get over my Maverick-like fear of engagement with women. So sack up, you group of Nancys! This is your job!
Sure, we can all get up in arms because the refs decided to bust out their t-shirt guns and start firing yellow flags all over the place to get the home crowd riled up during that final drive, but how did we get there? And wht did it matter? When was the last time we successfully came back and won a game at the end? It feels like we used to do that, but I can barely remember.
No, it was that penalty that overturned a glorious pick six. That was our Steve Bartman. And who's to blame? I'm going to go with the old dead horse we all know and love to beat. This is Norv. You can't lose your team like that over a little adversity. Great teams strive in the face of adversity. The Saints did last night. We had them on the ropes and all it took to rally them was one glimmer of hope in the form of a penalty flag that negated a whopper of a mistake. They took that gift from us and ran. Never looked back. And they don't even have a coach! Once again, this team has Norv's greasy, pock-marked fingerprints all over it. This team is a Jaguar. It can look like a well oiled machine. A high performance wonder. But it doesn't take much to put it in the shop. I want to love this team. I want to be wrong. But it's heartbreaking to watch it come apart when a good team would rise to the occasion. It's the same story over and over again. This one hurt. And that's an all too comon feeling in the last few years.