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Turner's Chargers are a perfect 10

Discussion in 'American Football' started by RaiderRay, Dec 10, 2009.

  1. RaiderRay

    RaiderRay RIP SD Chargers..Go Any SD Team, Go Raiders Staff Member Administrator Podcaster

    Jun 20, 2005

    I've spent much of the last week beating up the Dallas Cowboys because they don't know how to win in December, and, I'm sorry, they don't. But let's change the conversation and start talking about somebody who does.

    Norv Turner, come on down.

    I don't care what you think of the Chargers' head coach -- you can't deny that he's Mr. December. In his three seasons in San Diego, he hasn't lost a single game during the month.

    The guy is 10-0, with the closest call an overtime defeat of Tennessee in 2007, and what's new? The Chargers haven't lost in December since 2005, working on a 15-game winning streak that tells you all you need to know about this club -- namely, that it saves its best football for when it counts most.

    OK, OK, so the Bolts haven't been to a Super Bowl since Bobby Ross was the head coach. That's not my concern here. December is. And what I like about the Chargers is that when they must win -- when they must reach another gear to make the playoffs -- they do.

    Turner drove them there in his first season, and, with a lot of help from Denver, he drove them there again in 2008. Now he's back at it, with last weekend's defeat of Cleveland his 10th straight December win with the Bolts. I don't know how to explain it, so I asked Turner to try.

    "Obviously," he said Wednesday, "there are a number of things involved. First, of all, you better have the players. Second, we work hard at doing things again and again and again, and as the season has gone on we're doing those things better. But lastly there is a mindset that we talk about in training camp, and that's a desire to play our best football at the end of the year."

    In 2007, they did. After losing three of their first four, they found themselves and made a magnificent stretch run, winning their last six regular-season games and not bowing out of the playoffs until the AFC Championship Game against then-unbeaten New England.

    A year later, they floundered early and often, losing eight of their first 12 before December came around. I think you know what happened. They ran the table and caught Denver in the season-finale -- destroying the Broncos, 52-21, to win their third straight division title.

    Now they're on their way again, fulfilling their reputation as the anti-Dallas with another December win, this one a 30-23 defeat of Cleveland.

    "We learn what our identity is qs the season goes along," said running back Darren Sproles. "We really hone in on what we do well, and we attack people in that way. Guys get a little more comfortable, and guys learn their roles."

    Under Turner, the Chargers score twice as many points in December as their opponents, averaging 33 per game while the enemy checks in at 15.7. Moreover, they haven't scored fewer than 22 in any December game; six times, they have hit 30 or more, three times reached 40 or more and twice made it to 50.

    "[Playing well in December] is a priority," said Turner.

    But it's more than that in San Diego: It's a matter of fact. The Philadelphia Eagles are another club that knows how to close a season, with the Eagles 29-13 since their second season under Andy Reid. But they've suffered the inevitable defeats down the stretch, and, eventually, that will happen to the Bolts.

    But it hasn't yet, and I don't know that it will this weekend. The Chargers play Dallas, and no more dog-piling, please. The Cowboys know what they're about, and it's not winning in December.

    San Diego is, and while critics can question Turner's play-calling and game-management, you cannot question his success this time of year. From Dec. 1 on, he is 13-2 with San Diego, and in two seasons he has three playoff victories. That will get your attention.

    It got mine.

    "We understand that December football helps get you into the playoffs," said linebacker Shaun Phillips, "especially after what happened last year."

    Ah, yes, those dreaded slow starts. Normally, the Chargers don't do a whole lot of anything until now … only this year is different because this year they started their charge early, with their seven-game winning streak the longest since Marty Schottenheimer ripped off 10 in 2006.

    Of course, normally, the Chargers aren't doing a whole lot of anything until now ... only this year is different because this year they started their charge early, with their seven-game winning streak the longest since Marty Schottenheimer ripped off 10 in 2006.

    They reshuffled their offensive line, with Scott Mruczkowski taking over for the injured Nick Hardwick at center, rookie Louis Vasquez at right guard, and rookie Brandyn Dombrowski, who had been at right guard while Vasquez was out, taking over at right tackle for the injured Jeromey Clary.

    They got star running back LaDainian Tomlinson more involved, too, and while he's not the back he was three years ago he's healthy and making the yards he was not earlier this season.

    Most of all, they improved their defense -- one that was shredded in an Oct. 4 loss to Pittsburgh, a defeat that seemed to portend all sorts of bad things for San Diego. But then I remembered: We haven't gotten to December yet. If the Chargers can just make it to the last month, they should be OK.

    And they are. Take it away, Norv.
  2. Boltfan7998

    Boltfan7998 BoltTalker

    Jun 6, 2009
    Awesome article:tup: I always supported Norv, he's an outstanding coach and a mastermind with QB's. We all know he can make dumb decisions but all coaches do (Bellicheat). I believe if the Bolts concentrate at the one game at a time mentality, which they have, we'll be fine and on our way to Miami!

    P.S. I can't wait to see the look on all the donkeys faces when we win the division again and steamroll to the SB!!! It's going to be a great moment in time!!! I BELIEVE!!!!:abq2:

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