Six losses. Four directly due to poor decision-making.
At this point, Mike McCoy and his staff seem to be coaching scared. Play calling seems to have been designed to “not lose”. Defensive press conferences follow. Just what is going on inside the minds of the Chargers’ coaching staff is something the public may never know.
The Chargers’ loss in Miami was a pedestrian game against a pedestrian team. McCoy and Offensive Coordinator Ken Wisenhunt would rather stick to their “plan” instead of playing the hot hand, in this case Ryan Mathews. Take away Ryan’s 51 yard gallop and he still runs for a 4.2 yard average on 18 carries. Why not feed the beast? Given the red zone woes of the Chargers (they kicked three field goals again), why not throw the plan away and get aggressive? Settling for field goals is the easy way out — playing and coaching to not lose.
Back up to November 10 against Denver. The Chargers successfully run a fake punt on the opening drive, much to the delight of the Charger faithful. In years past, that was always Eric Weddle’s call to make. Certainly a gutsy, odds-defying call. The “book” would never permit that play in that situation. Maybe McCoy had a temporary rush of testosterone and made that call himself. Who knows? Who cares? It worked! In a presser after the game, McCoy defensively commented that the media would have crucified him if the deception failed. Maybe, maybe not. It showed guts.
Then it happened. The sheepish Chargers re-emerged. Later against Denver, Philip Rivers gives himself up short of first down yardage. A failed third down conversion attempt followed. McCoy then opts to settle for a field goal attempt deep inside plus territory. A play call to take some points instead of going all in. There were two other instances of settling for three in the first half and the Bolts head into the locker room down 21-6. Fast forward to the first series of the third quarter and the score is now 28-6. Proof positive that “bend but don’t break” is merely playing prevent defense from start to finish.
Chargers lost in the opener against Houston due to being out-adjusted in the second half. Rivers was stymied. The defense went passive and gave up the lead. They lost in the waning seconds in Nashville by punting the ball back to Jake Locker. The defense couldn’t solve Locker all day, so why trust them with the game on the line? They lost in Washington because McCoy and offensive coordinator Ken Wisenhunt didn’t have the huevos to line up in a heavy set and try to cram the ball down Washington’s throat. They settled for a game-tying field goal, then trusted the defense to stop RG III when they failed to do so all day.
See a recurring theme? Am I full of it? Let me know your thoughts.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Happy to announce that Mr. Pisciotta has been named a Senior Writer for the BoltBlitz.com. Thanks a lot for all you do for the site, Mike.