Bolts can’t fall into a shell after blunders against Bengals

It’s over reaction Monday and we decline to do just that regarding the Chargers. Instead we’ll keep it real and guess what? That’s plenty of cause to sound the NFL alarm.

There are red flags aplenty after San Diego had its Sunday whiskers pulled by the Bengals, 24-19.

Welcome to Jungle, welcome to Cincinnati and welcome to this invitation to reveal the Bolts’ warts.

Any discussion of any team always starts at the top and we can’t figure out coach Mike McCoy either. We know the game goes four quarters but what was McCoy’s message toward the end of the second one?

With the NFL’s hottest quarterback (Philip Rivers) showing off for the franchise’s legendary one (Dan Fouts) doing the TV broadcast upstairs, is that any time to enter the Reptile House?

The Chargers could have had the ball, with a time out, and about half a minute left in the half, and McCoy went McTurtle. Instead of making the Bengals punt near midfield, he passed.

What McCoy really did was order his offense to hide in its shell and unlike the tortoise’s showdown race with the hare, the hare won this one.

We speculate McCoy wasn’t feeling it and instructed Rivers to look at his feet instead of down field. But possessions in games are precious. Why surrender with the offensive weapons and a savvy quarterback at his disposal?

But we’ll let others tag McCoy “The San Diego Chicken.” We’re more concerned with the offensive line, which is in need a big-time rooster.

A front of fill-ins and wanna-bes was just that. King Dunlap is an Alpha Dog at left tackle, but the other four were like puppies ricocheting in opposite directions.

Rivers was sacked four times and get used to it. With a revved crowd, the line had to often rely on a silent count. And with Rivers’ affinity for changing plays at the line of scrimmage, the message didn’t always get out.

What was clear was Rivers having too much company in the backfield and those barging in wore stripes.
Carlos Dunlap was a load off the edge.

Geno Atkins was blowing up the middle.

Rivers, ever the leader, wouldn’t point fingers. But if the man with the quickest release since Dan Marino is getting harmed, that doesn’t bode well going forward.

Heading in the opposite direction was the defense. While the Bengals were sharing space with Rivers, the Chargers’ pass-rushers went Solana Beach and Encinitas: no sacks allowed.

Paper, plastic or otherwise, Andy Dalton was clean. Sure there was the controversial call after he was rocked by Manti Te’o, which led to a scoop-and-score by Jerry Attaochu. But a call is a call and is this where Padres fans still complain about the border-line pitch to Tino Martinez before he smashed a grand slam in the 1998 World Series?

The bottom line is the red-haired Dalton was allowed to embarrass Brandon Flowers. The veteran cornerback had the hat trick in getting burned for three touchdowns by three different receivers and we can’t remember the last time that happened as well.

Jason Verrett, the man opposite Flowers, had two silly personal fouls.

Add those blunders up — again, a pass rush might mitigate this — and good luck winning on the road.
Which is where the Chargers head Sunday, trying to tackle Adrian Peterson. The Chargers’ run defense was dreadful in allowing 175 rushing yards to the Bengals. And if you don’t remember what Peterson did to the Chargers in 2007, we’ll give you all day to Google it.

So the Chargers gagged against the Bengals. Need to accept it, fix it, then rinse and spit.
Blemishes that a team was able to hide on opening day were exposed.

We didn’t really think the Chargers were going to channel the 1972 Dolphins and go undefeated. All that Sunday means is that they can go 15-1 or 1-15.

We doubt either is the case.

What we do know is there’s much to be done down at Chargers Park. It’s up to McCoy and his lieutenants to patch it up and they can’t go turtle.

With the players sticking their necks out, it’s time the coaches followed suit.


+ Contact Jay Paris at Follow him on Twitter at @jparis_sports.



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