The Chargers have an annoying history of losing games they are leading in the fourth quarter. Four times this season, the Chargers took a lead into the fourth quarter, only to lose three of them in a rather disappointing fashion. Mistakes, lack of effort and poor execution have led to what can only be called as three epic meltdowns. It’s not that the Chargers opponents played exceptionally well in coming back…they did enough to win, sure enough…but it was the way the Chargers played in the last few minutes, essentially giving those games away, that has caused so much disappointment and frustration. The opposing teams didn’t win the game; the Chargers lost them…and lost them…and lost them.
And history has a way of repeating itself, at least in San Diego. Before a nationally televised game, the Chargers dominated the defending Super Bowl Champions for 3 1/2 quarters, taking a 19 -3 lead into the fourth quarter. On their first possession of the fourth quarter, the Broncos were penalized in their own end zone, giving the Chargers a safety and a seemingly insurmountable 21-3 lead considering how poorly the Broncos’ offense had played up to that point.
And then the tide turned. With 8:18 minutes left on the clock, the Broncos scored a touchdown on a short pass to wide receiver Bennie Fowler to cut the lead to 11 points. The sleeping giant had awoken and started moving the ball against Chargers defense. The hometown fans breathed a sigh of relief when a touchdown pass from Siemian to C.J. Anderson was called back and a fumble two plays later was recovered by the Chargers with 3:43 left on the clock. But the meltdown was only beginning.
Unable to get a first down or milk the clock, the Chargers punted the ball back to the Broncos with 3:03 left to go. I tried to reassure my fellow seat mates that, surely, we would win the game, leading by 11 points with only three measly minutes left to kill…but I was on slippery ice.
The Broncos moved the ball down the field, taking a two and a half minutes to kick a field goal…and yet they were still 8 points down. I mean the Chargers should be in good shape as the Broncos took almost the whole remaining time left to score one measly field goal and they were still down by a touchdown and two point conversion. All we had to do was recover the onside kick and kill 30 seconds…something that should be rather easy to do…but nothing comes easy for the Chargers this season.
With 27 seconds left, the Broncos recovered the onside kick and Charger fans could sense another fourth quarter meltdown. Even head coach Mike McCoy sensed the obvious and assumed the universal sign of despair by holding his head in his hands. Given the past history of this year’s team, if the Broncos scored a touchdown, they would surely score the two point conversion to send the game into overtime and we would find a way to lose another game…badly.
But a funny thing happened…the stars aligned just right, world peace broke out and a Charger made a play. On the last play of the game, a desperation heave by Trevor Siemian was knocked down by safety Dexter McCoil at the two yard line to preserve the victory for the Chargers. The San Diego Chargers found a way to win.
Meltdown averted…just barely.
Final Score: Gnarly Dudes – 21, Super Bowl Ringwraiths – 13
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Whew! I need a break…so let’s take a look a this week’s lead off photos from Thursday Night Football!
Night games are always a challenge for me to shoot. I have to use a flash, which decreases the number of photos I take and for each photo taken, I have to use a lower shutter speed and blah, blah, blah…what does this mean? Nothing much…just…never mind.
Let’s begin our regular coverage of the Absolutely Fabulous San Diego Charger Girls with the Captains: Marissa, Delani, Bridget, and Teran.
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