Source: USA Today
The schedule says go to work, and the Chargers will do just that.
But it'll be a long and painful week at Chargers Park in the aftermath of the team being eliminated from postseason contention.
San Diego plays at Oakland on Sunday to end a disappointing season. And there's not much the Chargers are playing for after being dominated by the Lions. The embarrassing 38-10 loss exposed the Chargers in many ways, but more important, wiped clean any scenario of them advancing past New Year's Day.
The Chargers can upset the Raiders' postseason bid with a win that would allow San Diego to end with an 8-8 record.
Maybe remembering how the Chargers were pushed around the last time they played the Raiders will have an impact. The Raiders won their third straight in the series, 24-17 on Nov. 10, the fourth consecutive loss in the Chargers' six-game skid.
"The last time we played the Raiders, we did not play very well," coach Norv Turner said. "Obviously, we did not play very well on Saturday. I think that would be motivation to bounce back and play the way we are capable of playing."
Sunday could be the last day for Turner, who might not survive consecutive years missing the playoffs.
General manager A.J. Smith's job could also be in jeopardy, as he could pay the price for rosters with questionable depth and head-scratching drafts.
"We all know that's something that (will be) discussed at the end of the year," Turner said of his status.
But first up is the game against the Raiders, and that is usually enough for any Charger worth his Bolt to get excited.
The San Diego players and coaching staff will say the right things in the days leading to the game, but the Chargers' sadness is simple to see. A housecleaning almost certainly will follow.
—The chatter of coaches possibly heading the Chargers' way is picking up. A New York paper had the Chargers already making contact with Bill Cowher.
Some think Norv Turner is taking the fall for players not coming through.
"I believe in Norv," free safety Eric Weddle said. "I've been here five years, and I respect him immensely. Coaches coach, but players play. We didn't go out and execute. He gives us a chance to make plays and play to our strengths. I think most of what has happened this year is more on the players. A lot of it has been out of his control."
—Center Nick Hardwick said the team was aware of what needed to happen before taking the field against Detroit despite not watching the earlier games to their conclusion.
"We turned the games off at halftime," he said. "We had to focus on the task at hand because the other scores didn't matter if we didn't win."
—Ex-Titans coach Jeff Fisher was at Saturday's game, but not necessarily to apply for a job. His former defensive coordinator with the Titans, Jim Schwartz, is now Detroit's head coach, and his son, Brandon Fisher, is a Lions defensive coaching assistant.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
—RG Tyronne Green is making the most of his opportunity in replacing an injured Kris Dielman. Dielman has suffered a series of concussions, and it's possible he could step aside next season.
—WR Vincent Jackson could be out this week, as he limped through Saturday's game with an injured groin.
—LT Jared Gaither has played well, and the Chargers are hopeful he'll be ready to play Sunday. Gaither injured his ankle against the Lions but should be OK.
—RB Mike Tolbert is playing with a sore knee, and that's worth watching this week. Not only is Tolbert a keen short-yardage back, but he's also among the Chargers' top special teams players.
—DE Jacques Cesaire (ankle) got through the Detroit game OK and will be part of the line's rotation at Oakland.
REPORT CARD VS. LIONS
PASSING OFFENSE: C — Philip Rivers didn't have many chances in the first half, and then he was playing catch-up in the second half, which tipped his hand. He was intercepted twice; once on a bad decision that resulted in a pick-six and the other on desperation heave. Vincent Jackson was slowed by a groin injury; Malcom Floyd and Antonio Gates were on their game. Overall, however, the receivers had trouble getting open.
RUSHING OFFENSE: C — Ryan Mathews' string of four straight games with 90-plus rushing yards ended with the Chargers falling behind early and abandoning the run. He did finish with 58 yards and a score on 11 carries. Mike Tolbert had only four carries for 9 yards.
PASS DEFENSE: F — The Chargers were shredded by Matthew Stafford as they played a soft zone with too big of a cushion. There was little pass rush, and combined with the zone, San Diego was worked over pretty easily, leading to the Lions' 24-0 halftime lead.
RUSH DEFENSE: C — Not much damage here, and it's easy to see why with Stafford throwing for 373 yards and three scores. The Lions rushed for only 87 yards, but that was more than enough with the passing attack clicking.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B — San Diego had a great onside kick in the third quarter that was fielded by Eric Weddle. However, the game didn't have much to do with field position, as the Lions were so dominant on offense.
COACHING: F — The game had all the markings of a coach rallying the squad one last time, playing on the road with its playoff life at stake. That said, the Chargers were blown off the field in the first half, showing little fire or execution. Norv Turner might have seen his job flash before his eyes in the opening 30 minutes. Defensive coordinator Greg Manusky's soft zone was picked apart by the Lions. Whatever adjustments were made came too late.