Chargers stagger into bye week of another lost season
SAN DIEGO (AP) It's been a lost season for the San Diego Chargers, on the field, in the trainer's room and at the ballot box.
The Chargers have their bye this weekend, allowing them to rest up and perhaps ponder the train wreck of a year they've had so far.
There's a lot to take in, even if 4-6 doesn't seem so terrible compared to San Francisco's 1-9 or Cleveland's 0-10.
They've blown fourth-quarter leads at a dizzying pace and lost numerous players to season-ending injuries, including wide receivers Keenan Allen and Stevie Johnson; running back Danny Woodhead; linebacker Manti Te'o; cornerback Jason Verrett; and nose tackle Brandon Mebane.
The Chargers were dispatched last Sunday by a winning 60-yard pick-6 with 61 seconds left by Miami's Kiko Alonso, the fourth interception of Philip Rivers in the fourth quarter.
Safety Darrell Stuckey equated that loss with taking a shot ''under the chin.''
Has he ever seen a season like this?
''Yeah, I've been here seven years. Of course I have,'' Stuckey said.
He's got a point.
Barring a stunning turnaround, the Chargers will miss the playoffs for the third time in four seasons under coach Mike McCoy and for the sixth time in seven seasons overall. They've lost 18 of their last 26 games. Their next game is at Houston on Nov. 27, daunting in the sense that the Chargers have lost 12 of their last 14 road games.
Despite all that, McCoy gave the Chargers the whole week off. Then again, they probably needed to get away from it all.
The Chargers are buried in last place in the AFC West, the NFL's toughest division. They've split with the Denver Broncos but lost on the road to Kansas City and Oakland. They'll host the Raiders on Dec. 18 and the Chiefs on New Year's Day, which could be their last-ever game in San Diego if chairman Dean Spanos decides to move to Los Angeles, still an option for the franchise.
''We'll play them all,'' Rivers said. ''We're going to play all six of them and see what happens. Obviously, there's still a lot of football left.''
The Chargers had hoped to get back to .500 by the bye, but the 31-24 loss to Miami prevented that.
''It's already going to be a tough road and this makes it even tougher,'' Rivers said after that loss. ''But we'll heal up a bit, get a few guys back and fight like crazy down the stretch.''
There's turmoil off the field, too.
Voters rejected Spanos' ballot measure for a new stadium by a resounding 57 percent to 43 percent. Spanos was asking voters to approve a $1.15 billion subsidy in the form of an increase in the hotel occupancy tax to help fund a stadium and convention center annex downtown to replace aging Qualcomm Stadium in Mission Valley. While campaigning for the stadium, Spanos' surrogates weren't shy about reminding voters about the team's option to move to L.A.
Spanos said he'll take his time deciding the team's future and won't announce any decisions before the season ends. His options include negotiating a new deal with Mayor Kevin Faulconer or moving to Los Angeles to join the Rams in a stadium in Inglewood scheduled to open in 2019. That was his consolation prize after fellow NFL owners defeated his plan to join with the Raiders to build a stadium in the L.A. suburb of Carson.
One bright spot for the Chargers is running back Melvin Gordon, who has bounced back nicely from his miserable rookie season. He's scored 11 touchdowns, nine rushing, and is third in the NFL with 838 yards. He had a career-high 196 yards rushing in a win against Tennessee two weeks ago, plus four catches for 65 yards.
Rookie Joey Bosa had four sacks in his first four games. After missing all of training camp in a nasty contract squabble, he injured a hamstring and missed the first four games.
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