|Chargers coach Norv Turner was in disbelief Monday night in San Diego. So were Chargers fans, who were calling for Turner's job after the Bolts blew a 24-0 halftime lead and lost to Denver 35-24. (US Presswire)|
Chargers QB Philip Rivers said every loss hurts, but this was not just any loss. It was a loss of historic proportions and has fans already demanding a change at head coach in San Diego.
The Chargers blew a 24-0 halftime lead.
QB Peyton Manning led the Broncos (3-3) to 35 unanswered points in the second half. It was the first time in NFL history a team down by 24 points won by double digits and only the fourth time in the Super Bowl era a team won after trailing by 24 points at the half.
“It's as tough as it gets right now,” Chargers coach Norv Turner said. “Obviously, we are not able to play a complete game.”
Turner defended his players and came as close to taking responsibility for a loss as he has in his 5 1/2-year tenure. “If you want to make it about somebody,” Turner said, “make it about me.”
Turner was already on the hot seat at the conclusion of last season when the Chargers finished 8-8 and missed the playoffs for the second straight year.
Even before the game concluded, Chargers fans erupted on social network sites, demanding that Turner be fired now. San Diego heads into its bye week and fans astutely pointed out this would be the best time to make a change as it would give the Chargers two weeks to adjust to a new head coach.
Turner was asked to address fans who would like to see a change, but refused to answer the question. “I don't think I am going to respond to that right now,” he said.
When the game turned: Broncos DE Elvis Dumervil sacked Rivers on the Chargers' first drive of the second half. Rivers fumbled the ball and it was recovered by CB Tony Carter, who returned it 65 yards for a TD and brought the score to 24-14. Replays confirmed that Rivers was not in the act of throwing during the fumble.
“We kind of unraveled after that,” Rivers said.
Highlight moments: Chargers CB Quentin Jammer intercepted a pass intended for WR Denver WR Matt Willis and returned the pick 80 yards for his first career TD. Three plays earlier, Manning found WR Eric Decker wide open for a gain of 55 yards. Decker could have easily scored on the play, but fell down on the 30. The four-play span marked a 14-point swing. At the time, Jammer's interception appeared to be the play of the game.
Top-shelf performances: Manning was 24 of 30 for 309 yards and three TDs with one INT and finished the night with a 129.0 passer rating. Manning was only 3 of 4 for 17 yards through the first half.
Head scratcher: The Chargers defense held the Broncos to just 19 yards of total offense in the first half, but came out and played a soft zone coverage in the second half and Manning made them pay.
What they said:
- Broncos LB Von Miller on the comeback: “We knew if we kept fighting we would give ourselves a chance. Everybody on the field kept on fighting. We took advantage of it. We still had confidence in ourselves. Thankfully, we were able to make plays.”
- Chargers ILB Takeo Spikes on how demoralizing the loss was: “It's bad. Every adjective you can come up with as far as disappointment ... it covers it."
- Chargers FS Eric Weddle on the loss: I don't know really what to say right now. We've got to get back to work. It's a tough loss. They made plays we didn't.”
- Rivers on if he thought his hand was going forward on the fumble returned for a TD: “It was close. The views I saw on the screen, I thought it may get reversed, but it was close.”
Number you should know: The Chargers have been outscored 52-0 in the second half since the 12:48 mark of the third quarter in Week 5.
Injury update: The Chargers did not report any injuries following the game. An update will likely be given on Tuesday.
Going forward: Both teams have their bye in Week 7. The Chargers will travel to take on the Browns (1-5) in Week 8. The Broncos will host the Saints (1-4).
Follow Chargers reporter Dan McLellan on Twitter @CBSChargers and @sandiegosports