Tag:Philip Rivers
Posted on: December 19, 2011 7:54 pm
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Rivers: 'It would be crazy' to fire Norv Turner

By Will Brinson

Just a few weeks ago, the Chargers were "almost certainly" set to fire coach Norv Turner. But after San Diego's third straight win -- a 34-14 beatdown of Baltimore on Sunday night -- the tone in San Diego is starting to change a little bit regarding Turner's tenure.

Philip Rivers doesn't need to change his stance, though. He's been on board with Norv since Day 1, and reiterated his feelings Sunday night.

"Regardless of what happens the next two weeks," Rivers told Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune. "It would be crazy for Norv to not be here. We’ve won 48 games in five years. Norv can’t make every throw. Norv didn’t fumble. You can’t go, 'Gee, Norv, why did you throw that pass?'"

Acee also reports that if the Chargers get to 8-7 and a chance to make the playoffs with a game against Oakland in Week 17 "that will have spoken volumes to team president Dean Spanos."

And, of course, if the Chargers happen to make the playoffs, after their start, it might be tough to fire Norv, particularly if the team advances deep at all.

It seems ridiculous to think of the Chargers as "contenders" still, but here's the thing: over the past few years, we've seen a number of different teams (the 2007 Giants, the 2010 Packers) sneak into the playoffs after getting hot at the end of the year and then run the table.

Turner and Rivers have plenty of work to do before they get to that point in the first place, but if they can at least manuever themselves in position to even get a shot at the playoffs, it's hard not to be impressed.

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Posted on: December 15, 2011 4:32 pm
Edited on: December 16, 2011 12:49 am
 

QB Joe Flacco says media disrespects Ravens

Flacco invokes Dangerfield as he wonders why the media doesn't respect the Ravens(Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

Joe Flacco was "The Situation" for Halloween last year. Next October he should go as Rodney Dangerfield (or perhaps Rodney Harrison during his days with the Patriots) because he thinks nobody respects the Ravens, currently 10-3 and atop the AFC North with a bead on a first-round bye in the playoffs.

During an appearance on WNST radio in Baltimore earlier this week, Flacco chuckled about irrational fans and talked about what he perceives to be unfair coverage of the Ravens. (He even manages a Tim Tebow reference!). Via SportsRadioInterviews.com:

“Yeah (fans reacting and sometimes overacting to wins and losses is) pretty hilarious. I mean, everyone reacts week to week and I mean most people really have no idea what really went on in the game and how everybody played and what was supposed to be happening," Flacco said.

"I can look at an NFL game and say ‘hey this is what I thought should have happened’ but I can be way off base because I don’t know what they game planned for the week and things like that. It’s funny to see all these things."


Flacco then wondered why Tebow gets more national media attention than the Ravens.

"I like Tim, but you have a tendency to want to, I don’t want to see Tim do bad, but look what happens after he wins a football game," he said. "If you watched SportsCenter [Monday] it was Tim Tebow then something else, Tim Tebow then something else, and Tim Tebow then something else. When we beat the Steelers were we on TV? No. I couldn’t even find a Baltimore Ravens highlight. I think that’s kinda the way it is around Baltimore. We don’t always get our respect but you gotta deal with it and go out there every week and just win football games.”

Surely, Flacco doen't "want to see Tim do bad," because that's just asking for trouble. Look what happened to the Bears after Lance Briggs said he'd be "pissed" if Chicago lost to Denver, and that while Tebow "is one heck of a football player … we’re going to have to stop that crap.” The Bears, up 10 with less than three minutes to go, lost in demoralizing fashion.

Of course, the Ravens don't face the Broncos this week, they travel to San Diego. And if they win there, they'll pretty much have the division title sewn up. If they lose, however, and the Steelers beat the 49ers on Monday night, Baltimore would drop to the No. 5 seed in the AFC playoff race. And guess who their likely opponent would be in the wild-card game? Yep, the Tim Tebow All-Stars.

Flacco then suggested that the media doesn't treat the Ravens fairly.

"I just think we’re disrespected as an organization when it comes to the media. We’re not a very big market, the bottom line is we don’t need a lot of help because we have a great fan-base every week and we win football games," he said. :We’re not a losing football team that needs to be out there in the media and be talked up like we are all-world."

We hope Flacco isn't referring to Tebow. Philip Rivers we get -- the Chargers have been a mess this season -- but besmirching Tebow's name, even indirectly, is dangerous.

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Posted on: December 3, 2011 4:28 pm
 

Bolts to 'almost certainly' fire GM Smith, Norv?

Posted by Will Brinson

The Chargers 2011 season -- a requiem for a once-talented roster -- marches sadly along on Monday in Jacksonville. San Diego, with a win over the Jaguars, could climb within two games of the AFC West lead ... provided both Denver (in Minnesota on Sunday) and Oakland (in Miami Sunday) lose as well.

The season has, to this point, "snowballed out of control," inspired people to question whether or not quarterback Philip Rivers is hurt, and fire up reports that Norv Turner's seat is warmer than the water just off the San Diego coast. Needless to say, things aren't going well, and they could get worse -- Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union Tribune reports Saturday that the Bolts have 'no choice' but to fire Turner and that general manager A.J. Smith could be on the chopping block as well.

"The decisions are not made," a team source told Acee. "But everything is lined up."

The Turner news is hardly surprising. It was believed that Norv needed to make the playoffs in order to save his job past this year when the season began. But even with the expected regression of Kansas City, the limitations of the Broncos offensively and Oakland sometimes willing to be Oakland, the Chargers find themselves in the basement of an imminently winnable division.

That's on Turner, and barring a series of miracle events -- just winning out would only get the Chargers to 9-7 -- he's as good as gone.

What will be interesting is the timing of Norv's all-but-guaranteed dismissal, and how that relates to the job security of general manager Smith. If Spanos believes that Smith is his general manager going forward, he could consider relieving Turner of his duties as soon as this week, particularly if the Chargers lose to the Jaguars.

Acee writes, again per a source, that "the needle [on Smith's possible firing] has moved from 50/50 to 75/25."

But it's highly unlikely that Spanos would can both Smith and Turner during the season, and subject the team to the utter chaos and logistical nightmare that would be operating with an interim general manager and coach. Besides, there is a possibility of making a playoff run, however remote. (Football Outsiders gives San Diego a 0.7 percent chance of making the postseason.)

And if Spanos is indeed considering widespread organizational change, expect him to wait until after the season to relieve Turner of his duties. As well as Smith.

Also worth noting: Smith still has three years and $6 million remaining on his contract, and isn't expected to retire any time soon. So he'd likely come at a cheaper cost for another organization that would be interested in bringing him to run their front office. Even if San Diego struggled recently, it's hard to rip Smith too hard, given the success the Chargers have had in his tenure there.

One organization that might be interested is Oakland. Acee reports that Smith, if he's no longer employed by San Diego, "will be on the list of candidates to become the Oakland Raiders general manager in 2012."

Though many things have to happen to make that reality -- starting with Smith's dismissal from San Diego -- it would certainly add another level of intrigue to an already spicy rivalry.


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Posted on: November 28, 2011 8:59 am
Edited on: November 28, 2011 1:55 pm
 

Chargers season has 'snowballed out of control'

V. Jackson sits in dejection as Denver beat San Diego (US Presswire).

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Slightly lost in the bright light emanating off Tim Tebow and his teammates in Denver’s overtime win against San Diego on Sunday was the fact the Chargers lost their sixth-straight contest after a 4-1 start.

That means they most likely can forget about making the playoffs, and coach Norv Turner can forget about coaching next season in San Diego. That means general manager A.J. Smith’s job also might be in danger.

So, what the hell went wrong with this team (aside from Sunday’s Tebowing experience)? Could be just plain old stupidity.

“We do the dumbest (stuff),” Shaun Phillips screamed out loud after the game, via the San Diego Union Tribune. “I’ve never been on a team that does the dumbest (stuff) all the time.”

And the worst part of that is …?

“It comes at the worst times,” left tackle Brandyn Dombrowski said. “… We’re killing ourselves.”

Remember, the Chargers actually took a 10-0 lead vs. Denver and looked decent enough in the early part of the game, and you had to figure that if they built a big lead, the Broncos would have to rely on their passing game -- which, as we know, is hardly their biggest strength.

Even though Tebow didn’t complete his first pass until late in the first half, the Chargers couldn’t take enough of an advantage and build up a big enough lead. Plus, they kept making those same silly mistakes that have plagued them all the way to a 4-7 record.

Or as Phillips said, “We keep doing the same old caca, then you’re going to keep getting caca.”

But credit goes to Philip Rivers, the quarterback in the league who’s had the most disappointing year, for the best quote of the day about the state of his team.

“It’s just snowballed out of control,” Philip Rivers said. “… There’s nothing I can say to make it sound good. It’s about as bad as it gets.”

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Posted on: November 26, 2011 10:25 pm
 

Tebow's read-option draws comparisons to wildcat

Is Tebow bringing the option back to NFL offenses or is he a gimmick? (Getty Images)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

As if Norv Turner, Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers didn't have enough to worry about -- what with being 4-6, tied for last in the AFC West, and playing some incredibly awful football -- now there's this: local scribe Nick Canepa isn't yet a believer in Tim Tebow, who comes to San Diego Sunday in a pretty important division matchup.

Most of the skeptics and critics have abandoned their anti-Tebow talking points because, well, Tebow does find a way to win games. No, it's not entirely his doing, and yes, he has looked absolutely dreadful for long stretches. But he's also 4-1 after Kyle Orton "led" the Broncos to a 1-4 start. Tebow, despite virtually no support from his coaches or the front office early in the season is now the team's unquestioned starter (though that could change, apparently). Orton, meanwhile, is the newest member of the Chiefs.

But Canepa isn't yet sold on Tebow's ability to will his team to victories. The details:
"So, what has Tebow done to deserve all this, one way or the other? Absolutely nothing. In his own unorthodox way, he has won three straight games for the Broncos, who meet the Chargers here Sunday. Off the field, he hasn’t been arrested, busted for dope or tweeted nasty things to his opposition. …

In the case of Tim, people are thinking with their glands. Tebowmania is not going to last. A quarterback who can run but can’t throw the ball across a pantry isn’t going to continue winning in the NFL.

They’re going to figure him out. They always do. Remember the wildcat? It lasted about as long as the poodle skirt. Sooner or later, they’re going to get to him. Steve Young at least was a threat with his arm, as are Michael Vick and Cam Newton. A fearless quarterback (which Tebow is) who runs the option in the NFL is fair game. I can’t see him having a long shelf life.
Comparing the read-option to the wildcat has been a popular meme in recent weeks and there's something to it. The Dolphins began the 2008 season 0-2, busted out the wildcat in Week 3 against the Patriots, and blew them out of the water, 38-13. Miami finished the regular season 11-5 and made the playoffs. The following year, after teams around the league had an offseason to figure out the wildcat, it was obsolete.

The Dolphins, who overestimated its shelf life, used a 2009 second-round pick on QB/wildcat specialist Pat White, who ended up retiring from football a year later. Miami went 7-9 in 2009 and 2010, and are currently 3-8.

Based on Broncos executive John Elway's recent comments, not only is the read-option a short-term solution to a problem he inherited from the unspectacular Josh McDaniels era, it's one that probably won't last behind this season. Which means that the rest of the NFL has six weeks or so to figure out a way to slow it down.

The Jets did it for 55 minutes, but Tebow was able to drive 95 yards for the decisive score. The bigger story from that game: New York's inept offense, which included a national coming out part for Broncos rookie linebacker Von Miller, and more questions about Mark Sanchez's abilities as an NFL quarterback.

So, no, Tebow isn't the long-term answer in Denver. But he's not supposed to be. The thing is, nobody thought he was the short-term answer, either. As it stands, he's winning 80 percent of his starts. And if the Chargers play Sunday like they have in the previous five games, Tebow's winning percentage will rise to 83.


After a win over the Jets last week, the Denver Broncos hope to keep their streak alive as they take on the San Diego Chargers on Sunday. NFL.com's Pat Kirwan and Jason Horowitz preview this game. Watch the game at 4:15 PM ET on CBS.

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Posted on: November 26, 2011 12:15 pm
 

Is Philip Rivers playing hurt?

We might not find out if Rivers is really injured until after the season. (Getty Images)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Through 10 games this season, Philip Rivers has thrown 17 interceptions. His previous high in five seasons as the Chargers starting quarterback: 15 in 2007, and that was over 16 games. Annually considered one of the league's best quarterbacks, Rivers' sudden plunge into mediocrity has been, well, baffling.

Offensively, the names are virtually unchanged, although Vincent Jackson and Rivers seem to find themselves on different pages of the playbook on a weekly basis, and tight end Antonio Gates doesn't yet appear to be fully healthy. Ryan Matthews occasionally flashes first-round talent, but he still lacks consistency. Then there's the offensive line which, due to injuries, is currently held together with duct tape and chicken wire. And let's not forget head coach Norv Turner, who could be out of a job come January.

While all of these issues play some role in Rivers' Season of Forgettable Football, there might be a simpler answer: he's hurt.

You'd never know it to ask him (he's denied it every time the question comes up), but there's a growing belief in league circles that Rivers' unexplained slide can actually be explained pretty easily: he's not 100 percent.

"Rivers repeatedly says nothing is wrong, but numerous NFL executives and coaches around the league disagree," ESPN's Adam Schefter wrote Friday. "What has happened many times in the past is that a quarterback who struggles during the season will acknowledge afterward that he was hurt. It wouldn't be stunning if the same happened with Rivers. Based on the opinion of people around the league, Rivers has to be playing hurt, no matter how much he denies it."

Sports Illustrated's Peter King echoed those sentiments during a Friday appearance on NBC SportsTalk, suggesting that we'll learn after the season that Rivers was playing hurt.

It sure would explain a lot, though we suspect such a revelation won't do much for Turner's job security.

The gamble, assuming any of this is true, presumably was that Rivers at less than full strength still gave the Chargers the best chance to win, especially in a relatively weak AFC West. Well, as it turns out, the West is relatively weak ... and San Diego is still a bad team. Not all of that is on Rivers; he's played better in recent weeks. The defense has been atrocious and Turner's aforementioned game-management issues haven't helped, either.

Wherever the truth may lie, here's the reality right now: the Chargers are 4-6 and tied for last in the division. They'll probably need to go 9-7 to have a chance to win the West. If the previous 10 games are any indication, that's all but impossible. Then again, we say this every year, and almost every year, San Diego makes a late charge. We're just not sure they have it in them this time around.

Fun starts Sunday when Tim Tebow comes to town.


After a win over the Jets last week, the Denver Broncos hope to keep their streak alive as they take on the San Diego Chargers on Sunday. NFL.com's Pat Kirwan and Jason Horowitz preview this game. Watch the game at 4:15 PM ET on CBS.

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Posted on: November 22, 2011 12:30 pm
 

Report: Norv Turner's days could be numbered

Turner could be looking for work come January. (AP/US PRESSWIRE)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Norv Turner is in his fifth season as the Chargers head coach. He took over the team in 2007 after general manager A.J. Smith fired Marty Schottenheimer for going 14-2. In three of the four seasons since, two things have been constant: the Chargers have gotten off to glacially slow starts only to mount a late-season run and make the playoffs. And San Diego, despite a franchise quarterback and plenty of playmakers, is still looking for its first Super Bowl.
Turner's record in San Diego
2007: Started 1-3, finished 10-2, lost to the Pats in the AFC Championship game
2008: Started 3-5, finished 5-3, lost to the Steelers in the AFC Divisional game
2009: Started 2-3, finished 11-0, lost to the Jets in the AFC Divisional game
2010: Started 2-5, finished 9-7, missed the playoffs 
But 2011 was different; the Chargers started 4-1, were the clear favorites in the AFC West (and even some folks' Super Bowl favorites), and everything was finally coming together. Unfortunately, the new collective bargaining agreement didn't shorten the regular season to five games. San Diego has dropped five straight and is a complete mess of a franchise. Philip Rivers has looked, well, awful, the run defense is non-existent, and head coach Norv Turner, through it all, remained expressionless.

But barring a Tebow-like miracle, Norv won't have to worry about the Chargers much longer. The San Diego Union-Tribune's Kevin Acee writes that Turner's days could be numbered.
At this point, it is apparent only a drastic turnaround will save Turner, as the Chargers have lost five straight and are in last place in the AFC West, in grave danger of missing the playoffs for a second straight season. [Owner Dean] Spanos also has wondered about repeated game management decisions, and after five years it is possible Turner has been given enough time to get done what no Chargers coach ever has – win a Super Bowl.
Ah, yes, those game-management decisions. The latest came Sunday, in the Chargers' loss to the Bears. San Diego lost its final two timeouts with 3:16 to play and trailing by 11. They burned the first one, and then during thee timeout decided to challenge a ruling. The Chargers lost the challenge (of course they did) and another timeout. You don't see that every day.

But Turner isn't the only guy who should be worried about his job. Smith could be in trouble, too. Acee writes: "But even late last week, word had begun to circulate in league circles about Spanos' escalating concern about the state of his franchise in the hands of Turner -- who has the second-highest winning percentage in team history at .608 (45-29) -- and even Smith, the man Spanos has given virtually complete control of football operations over the past nine years."

In general, Smith has done a good job of roster-building and fielding a winning team. But the lack of success in the postseason coupled with Turner's weekly gaffes have started to add up.

Early last season, when Vincent Jackson was holding out for a new deal and Smith refused to budge, Jackson's agent Neil Schwartz said "We had multiple deals in place. It is our understanding … that the Chargers were unreasonable. More than one general manager referred to A.J. as the 'Lord of No Rings.'"

Short of an improbable turnaround, Norv and A.J. might soon be the Lord of No Jobs.

As we mentioned in Tuesday's Coach Killers, maybe Rex Ryan was onto something.

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Posted on: November 22, 2011 10:00 am
 

Coach Killers, Week 11: Johnson returns to form

Coach Killers is your weekly look around the league at those performances, decisions and "Wait, what did he just do?!" moments that put the guy in charge squarely on the ol' hot seat.

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Mark Sanchez, Jets

It's been five days since Tim Tebow led the Broncos on a 95-yard game-winning drive against the Jets. The other, perhaps more important storylines to come out of that game: Von Miller is scary, Denver's defense is improving, and Mark Sanchez was the worst quarterback on the field last Thursday.

That's not hyperbole. Sanchez looks the part and has the pedigree but nearly three years into his NFL career and he's a replacement-level quarterback. That would be one thing if he were, say, a former seventh-round pick like Ryan Fitzpatrick (pre-shiny new deal, obviously). It's a different story altogether given that the Jets traded up from No. 17 to No. 5 to take Sanchez in the 2009 NFL Draft.

When New York's defense is one of the best in the league and the running game is working, Sanchez has been good. But that's sort of the point: you don't draft a franchise quarterback to man the controls when everything is going well. You draft a franchise quarterback to win those games that you were previously losing. The Jets are 5-5 and a big part of that is because of Sanchez.

Late in the third quarter of the Broncos game, with the Jets leading 10-3 and facing a third and short, Sanchez threw a pick-six. It wasn't a tipped pass, or a 50-yard bomb that was effectively a third-down punt. It was a jerk route to Plaxico Burress. Typically, the joke is that the defender in coverage ends up looking like a jerk on such plays.

Not this time. Sanchez's throw was off target, Burress didn't come back to the ball, and cornerback Andre Goodman jumped the route. Twenty-six yards later, the score was 10-10. And then Tebow happened.


Mark Sanchez has thrown three pick-sixes this season.

Head coach Rex Ryan defended Sanchez (Because, really, what's he going to say? "I'm happy to announce that Mark Brunell, 52 years young, will now lead us to the playoffs!")

"This is our quarterback," Ryan said at his Friday press conference. "He’s going to be our quarterback for as long as I’m here, which I hope is a long, long time. He can make all the throws. He’s a competitive guy. Has it been perfect? No, absolutely. But it hasn’t been perfect for our entire team."

But Rex, what about the children!?

Graham Gano, DeAngelo Hall - Redskins

It may seem unfair to blame Gano for the Redskins' latest loss, but let's be honest: he's the team's best offensive player. (And, hell, he might even be the team's best quarterback. We haven't seen him throw but we have seen the Rex and Becks show. It can't be worse than that.) If Washington is going to win, Gano will have to make everything, including the out-of-zip-code attempts. Instead, he missed two field goals Sunday against the Cowboys, the first from 49 yards, the last from 52. And it was that last miss in overtime that allowed Dallas to march down the field for a game-winning kick of their own.

Now, for your unintentional comedy interlude, courtesy of Redskins' Radio Network (featuring Larry Michael, Sonny Jurgensen and Sam Huff and by way of DC Sports Bog)…
The missed Gano field goal

Larry: We are ready, this is it, from 52 yards out. The kick is on the way, he’s got the distance, and heeeeeeeee…
Sam: He’s got it!
Larry: He missed it! He missed it wide right!
Sam: He missed it?
Larry: He missed it wide right, so the Cowboys will take over.
Sam: I thought it went through?
Larry: Wide right.
We've been saying for several weeks that there's a decent chance the Redskins lose out. They're now 3-7 and six weeks closer to that reality. Silver lining: players are taking responsibility. In fact, cornerback DeAngelo Hall thinks he should be cut. We won't disagree with him.

“It’s frustrating, but I can’t point a finger at anybody but myself,” Hall said, via the Washington Times. “The way I’m playing right now, they need to go cut me because I’m definitely not worth what I’m getting. It’s frustrating. Hopefully they see something in me and they bring me back next year, but the way things are going right now, I’m definitely not playing up to par.”

Could the Redskins really lose out?

We know Hall wasn't responsible for a wide-open Jason Witten sprinting to the end zone on a 59-yard reception midway through the fourth quarter. But Hall didn't exactly track Witten down, either. For a former "NFL's Fastest Man" champion, he sure looked slow (but not quite as slow as the time Hines Ward, wearing one shoe, outran him to the end zone).

One last thing: former NFL quarterback turned handball aficionado Jake Plummer spoke recently about playing for Mike Shanahan. The two were together in Denver from 2003-2006 until Plummer retired after it became clear that Jay Cutler would be the starter.

“It just seemed like every game I could have completed these four more passes or these five more shots here and it would have been perfect," Plummer said, via Yahoo.com. "And that just wasn’t my personality....But Shanahan wanted perfection and he wore a lot of us down there.”

We're guessing Shanahan would do just about anything to have such problems now. To Plummer's credit, he didn't take pleasure in Shanahan's current predicament (at least not publicly).

“Yeah and you know what, I don’t like to see that,” he said. “I mean I don’t want to see anybody struggle. And I’m not sitting here gloating or feeling better about his lack of success down there. As time goes you learn more things. … Hey, I was lucky to get the opportunity to play for Shanahan. He helped turn my career around and gave me a chance to show that I was a winner, regardless of how things went down."

Chris Johnson, Titans

First, some background: the Lions selected running back Kevin Smith in the the third round of the 2008 draft. After suffering late-season injuries in '09 and '10, the team chose not to re-sign him. He was out of football until two weeks ago when Detroit, in dire need of warm bodies in the backfield, gave him a call. Against the Panthers Sunday, Smith ran for 140 yards and two touchdowns, and added another 61 receiving yards and a score.

Recapping Week 11

We mention this because after Chris Johnson treaded the Panthers for 130 rushing yards last week, there were some rumblings of him "being back." Turns out, that performance was an aberration and unless the Titans are facing the Panthers every week from here on out, Johnson continues to be one of the worst backs in the league.

Back during training camp, when Johnson was parked on his couch waiting for a new deal, one of the reasons his supporters gave for paying him was that Johnson's presence in the backfield would take pressure off rookie quarterback Jake Locker. Well, Locker saw extensive action against the Falcons and he looked just fine. And he did it without anything resembling a running game.

Maybe the Titans should sign this Kevin Smith.

Which brings us back to CJ. He carried the ball 12 times in Atlanta for a grand total of 13 yards. That works out to a nifty 1.08 yards per carry. Put differently: Matt Hasselbeck, who left the game with an arm injury and probably travels 40 yards in closer to six seconds than five, was the Titans' leading rusher with 17 yards on the afternoon.

(Even more embarrassing, courtesy of colleague Will Brinson's Sorting the Sunday Pile: "There were nine -- NINE! -- quarterbacks with more rushing yards than Johnson in Week 11.")

“I know we didn’t execute some plays that we could have,” Johnson said, via the Tennessean. “They are a pretty good defense, and they made a lot of plays out there. I’m sure if we would have executed better, then we could have had a better day in the running game.”

Or, as we mentioned above, the Titans could just petition the league to face the Panthers every week.

Blaine Gabbert, Jaguars

Let's be honest: Blaine Gabbert Bears very little responsibility for the Jags' 3-7 season. He's a rookie quarterback on one of the NFL's worst offensive teams, and Jack Del Rio is a lame-duck coach who'll likely ring in the new year looking for a new job.

Jacksonville's final drive against the Browns Sunday was a microcosm of their offense and their season. Trailing 14-10 and on the Browns' 2-yard-line with 13 seconds to go, the Jaguars ran the following three plays:

1st and goal: Maurice Jones-Drew 1-yard run (eight seconds remaining).
2nd and goal: Gabbert throws incomplete to Jason Hill (three seconds remaining).
3rd and goal: Gabbert throws incomplete to Mike Thomas (game over, thanks for coming).

So that happened. When Del Rio was asked after the game why he didn't get the ball to the Jags' best playmaker, MJD, this happened:

“Our offensive coordinator [Dirk Koetter] calls the plays. I can’t speak to his thinking. You’ll have to get with him,” he said via the Florida Times-Union.

Translation: "I checked out of this job in September and I'm just going through the motions until I'm officially canned. I almost forgot we had a game Sunday."

What makes Del Rio's comment even more bizarre: Jacksonville called timeout with eight seconds left. Presumably, he had some say in the final-play strategy.

“We certainly talked about those things through the course of the drive. We got down and took our crack. You can make a case for doing that. You can guess any number of plays when you don’t connect. [It’s] a missed opportunity,” Del Rio said.

As PFT.com's Gregg Rosenthal noted Monday: "Mike Tomlin, Bill Belichick and Mike Smith would all be involved in a call like that. They are defensive coaches, but they make big decisions on offense. It’s their team."

You know what else those three coaches have in common? They ain't getting fired in two months.

Philip Rivers, Chargers

There is very little to be excited about in San Diego but there is this: Philip Rivers has played much better the last two weeks. Moral victories are for losers, but … well, the Chargers are exactly that. Unfortunately, "Not Bad" Rivers in 2011 isn't a top-5 quarterback. In fact, he might crack the top-15. But unless he can play defense, special teams and coach, San Diego's five-game slide isn't entirely on him. That said, he leads the league in interceptions, and he threw two more Sunday -- both in the fourth quarter, both in critical situations.

The first pick was another miscommunication with Vincent Jackson in the end zone (it happened in Week 10 against the Raiders). The second was inexplicably bad. Rivers, flushed from the pocket, went to throw the ball away. Somehow instead of, you know, throwing the ball away, the pass sailed right into the arms of Bears defensive back Corey Graham.


The 2011 Chargers: where not even incompletions are routine

When you're incapable of throwing an incompletion, it portends bad things for the season.

After a 4-1 start, the Chargers are now 4-6. Next up: the 5-5 Tebows are coming to town and Rivers is reduced to saying things like this:

“We’ve got to find a way to think that we have a one-game season against Denver at our place,” he said, via the San Diego Union-Tribune. “And let’s find a way to win that game.”

There are six games left in the 2011 season and barring a miraculous turnaround and a ton of luck, San Diego will miss the postseason. And that, according to the Union-Tribune's Kevin Acee, could mean curtains for Norv Turner.

"At this point, it is apparent only a drastic turnaround will save Turner, as the Chargers have lost five straight and are in last place in the AFC West, in grave danger of missing the playoffs for a second straight season. [Team owner Dean] Spanos also has wondered about repeated game management decisions, and after five years it is possible Turner has been given enough time to get done what no Chargers coach ever has – win a Super Bowl."

Maybe Rex Ryan was onto something.

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