Philip Rivers, Chargers offense fall flat again
At halftime of their Week 6 game, the Chargers sat in first place in the AFC West and held a 24-0 lead on rival Denver. Their fall since then has been both rapid and stunning.
San Diego blew that huge home lead against the Broncos, as you're no doubt aware, and lost, 35-24. After a bye week, a shot to get back on track slipped through the Chargers' fingers Sunday as they lost an ugly 7-6 decision in the rain in Cleveland.
Do the math on San Diego's last six quarters and you come up with this: six points.
Six measly points.
For a team that employs Philip Rivers, Ryan Mathews, Antonio Gates and at least a couple of other serviceable weapons on offense, that's inexcusable. Of course, one of those so-called weapons, Robert Meachem, had arguably the game's biggest error. With the Chargers trailing by one in the fourth quarter, Meachem came free deep, only to drop a pass from Rivers that would have led to a touchdown.
The Chargers spent big bucks this offseason to bring in Meachem as a replacement for Vincent Jackson. Counting Meachem's zero-catch performance Sunday, he has all of 12 grabs and two touchdowns thus far.
He's not alone in his underachieving ways, either. In fact, only one Charger has more than two touchdown catches this season: tight end Dante Rosario, who made three in one game. The leading point producer outside of kicker Nick Novak is backup RB Jackie Battle, who has four TDs on the year.
Whether due to injury or poor play, San Diego's stars have not delivered results consistently enough this season, and now the team finds itself in major trouble.
Sunday's loss dropped the Chargers to 3-4 -- and though the AFC West remains up for grabs (3-3 Denver plays Sunday night) and San Diego has a very manageable home date with Kansas City upcoming, the Chargers' season is teetering on the brink.
What's perhaps most troubling for Rivers and his offense is that the line, a sore spot in recent weeks and years, played relatively well on Sunday. Cleveland sacked Rivers only once, while Mathews and Ronnie Brown both averaged at least four yards per carry. The clock is ticking on San Diego's window to turn things back around. But without a much more reliable offensive effort, that window will close soon.