San Diego Chargers
1961: After beating the Texans in Dallas 26-10, the Chargers made their San Diego debut, as they crushed the Oakland Raiders 44-0 at Balboa Stadium. The Chargers would stay hot winning their first 11 games to easily capture the Western Division Title. However, after losing two of their last three games the Chargers limped into the AFL Championship Game, as they were beaten by the Houston Oilers 10-3 before a disappointed crowd of 29,556 at Balboa Stadium.
1962: After the departure of Quarterback Jack Kemp, the Chargers turn to John Hadl, who struggles with turnovers, as the Chargers endure an injury plague season in which 23 players miss at least two games with injures, on the way to a disappointing 4-10 season.
1963: The Chargers bounce back with Tobin Rote having an outstanding season at Quarterback passing for 2,510 yards, many of which came courtesy of Wide Receiver Lance Alworth who scores 11 Touchdowns while collect 1,205 receiving yards, as he earns AFL Player of the Year honors. Led by Alworth and Rote the Chargers recapture the AFL Western Division with a solid 11-3 record. In the AFL Championship Game at Balboa Stadium the Chargers slaughter the Boston Patriots 51-10 as Running Back Keith Lincoln accounts for 349 yards in total offense.
1964: John Hadl reclaims the starting job at Quarterback, as the Chargers take control of the Western Division early by getting off to a solid 7-2-1. However, the injury bug would bite at the end of the season as the Chargers lost three of their final four games. However, the early start was good enough as the Chargers won the West for the fourh time in five years with an 8-5-1. In the Championship Game already playing without Lance Alworth due to a knee injury the Chargers lose Running Back Keith Lincoln in the 1st Quarter to a rib injury as the Chargers are beaten by the Bills 20-7 in Buffalo.
1965: The Chargers continue to be the best in the west as the win their fifth Western Division Title in six years with a 9-2-3 record as Running Back Paul Lowe and Wide Receiver Lance Alworth finish 1-2 in AFL Player of the Year voting. However, in the AFL Championship Game at Balboa Stadium the Chargers are beaten by the Buffalo Bills again 23-0.
1966: After a solid 4-0 start the Chargers start to struggle winning just one of their next seven games as their hopes for a Division Championship died. The Chargers would go on to finish win third Place with a disappointing 7-6-1 record.
1967: The Chargers open the brand new state of the state of the art San Diego Stadium with a solid 28-14 win over the Boston Patriots. However, the most memorable game at the new stadium came on October 15th when Speedy Duncan had a career day by collecting 203 return yards, (35 on a fumble recovery for a touchdown, 68 on 4 kickoff returns, and 100 for a TD on the longest interception return in AFL history) as the Chargers defeat Kansas City 45-31. The game was the highlight of an impressive 8-1-1 start. However, the Chargers would come crashing down ass they fell out of first place with a four game losing streak to end their season with a disappointing 8-5-1 record.
1968: The Chargers get off to another solid start winning eight of their first ten games. However, for the third year in a row they fade down the stretch losing three of their final four games on the way to finishing third place with a 9-5 record.
1969: Playing although early schedule the Chargers get off to a slow start as their playoff hopes fade during a 4-6 start. However, in a reversal of previous season they finish the season on a solid note winning their last four games to finish with an 8-6 record. Following the season Coach Sid Gillman is forced to step down due to health concerns he would remain on as General Manager.
1970: Now led by Coach Charlie Waller the Chargers struggle out of the gate going winless through their first four games. The Chargers would bounce back with a five game unbeaten streak. However, they would fade down the stretch winning just once to finish with a disappointing 5-6-3 record. Following the season Waller is demoted to Offensive Coach as Sid Gillman returns to his post after stepping down as General Manager.
1971: Sid Gillman’s second stint lead the Chargers never got off the ground, as the club struggled losing four of their first five games. The Chargers would turn it around by winning three of their next four games, but after a gut wrenching 34-33 loss to the Raiders in Oakland, Gillman would resign. General Manager Harland Svare would run the team the rest of the way as the Chargers finished with a 6-8 record.
1972: In Harland Svare’s first full season as coach the Chargers enter a rebuilding mode as the General Manager and Coach engineers 21 trades in 221 days. Consequently, the Chargers would not so much spark on the field finishing with a 4-9-1 record, as Quarterback John Hadl struggles with interceptions all season. Following the season Hadl would be dealt the Los Angeles Rams.
1973: The Chargers acquire legendary Quarterback Johnny Unitas to replace John Hadl, who also served as a tutor to rookie QB Dan Fouts. However, there is no magic left in the legendary quarterback’s arm as he completes just 34 passes for 471 yards. Fouts would take over, but would struggle with turnovers as the Chargers got off to a 1-6-1 start, leading Harland Svare to step down as coach. His replacement Ron Waller would not do much better winning just 1 of 6 as the Chargers finished with a terrible 2-11-1 record.
1974: The Chargers get a new coach and a new look, as Tommy Prothro takes over on the field the Chargers switch from white to blue helmets. However, Quarterback Dan Fouts still struggles with turnovers as the Chargers lose six of their first seven games. However, the team would finish the season on a strong note winning their final three games to finish with a 5-9. Leading the second half resurgence is Running Back Don Wood who rushes for 1,162 while capturing Offensive Rookie of the Year honors.
1975: With Dan Fouts taking a step backward by throwing just two Touchdown passes compared to ten interception, while Running Back Don Wood suffered a sophomore jinx the Chargers started the season in tail spin losing their first 11 games. The Chargers would win two games in a row, before being blown out by the Bengals 47-17 in Cincinnati to finish with a terrible 2-12 record.
1976: Led by a 27 point explosion in the 2nd Quarter the Chargers beat the St. Louis Cardinals 43-24 to complete a 3-0 start. However, the Chargers would win just one of their next seven games as Quarterback Dan Fouts struggled with inconstancy, as the Chargers finished with a 6-8 record.
1977: The Chargers get off to a solid start winning three of their first four games. However, inconstant play would hurt the Chargers again as they lost four of their next five games. Playing with fourth string Quarterback Cliff Olander the Chargers would stun the Oakland Raiders 12-7 at San Diego to stop the skid, and start a three game winning streak. However, the Chargers would drop their last two games to finish with a 7-7 record.
1978: After beating the Seahawks in Seattle the Chargers appeared to be poised for a 2-0 start leading the Oakland Raiders 20-14 in the final seconds at San Diego Stadium. However, the Raiders pulled the old-fashioned fumblerooskie play and stunned the Chargers with a 21-20 win. The loss would send the Chargers reeling as it was the start of a three game losing streak. At 1-4 Coach Tommy Prothro would step down and be replaced by Don Coryell. The Chargers losing streak hit four in their first under Coryell, but they would quickly get it turned around as Dan Fouts came of age by passing for 2,999 yards. However, their 9-7 record was not good enough for a Wild Card spot.
1979: In Don Coryell’s first full season as Coach the Chargers get off to a terrific start winning their first three games, as the Chargers become a pass happy team earning the nickname Air Coryell. Air Coryell would see Dan Fouts set a record with four straight 300-yard passing games as he passed for 4,082 yards on the season, with Wide Receivers John Jefferson and Charlie Joiner reaching surpassing 1,000 yards in receptions. Air Coryell would net 411 points as the Chargers won the AFC West with a 12-4 record, also earning Home Field Advantage. However, their season would come to an end with a disappointing 17-14 loss to an injury depleted Houston Oilers team in the Divisional Playoffs.
1980: Air Coryall continues to soar as the Chargers win the AFC West for the second straight year with an 11-5 record. The Chargers offense was flying high as Dan Fouts passed for 4,715 and 30 TD passes, as John Jefferson, Charlie Joiner and Kellen Winslow eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark in receptions. In the October 19th game in San Diego against the New York Giants Fouts passes for 444 yards setting a Charger single game record. In the Divisional Playoffs the Chargers win their first playoff game in 17 years by beating the Buffalo Bills 20-14 before a sold out crowd in San Diego. However, the Chargers are beaten in the AFC Championship Game by their old nemesis the Oakland Raiders in a 34-27 shoot out in San Diego.
1981: Prior to the start of the season San Diego Stadium is renamed Jack Murphy Stadium in honor of the late sports editor of The San Diego Union, who was instrumental in landing the Chargers in San Diego. Air Coryall continued to fly despite the loss of Wide Receiver John Jefferson as Wes Chandler slipped right in and joined Charlie Joiner, and Kellen Winslow with 1,000 yards in receptions, as Dan Fouts tops himself again by passing for 4,802 yards and 33 Touchdowns. Also joining in the fun was Running Back Chuck Muncie who scored 19 Touchdowns as he rushed for 1,144 yards, as the Chargers won the AFC West for the third year in a row with a 10-6 record. In the Divisional Playoffs in Miami the Chargers grabbed a 24-0 lead. However, the Dolphins would comeback, and go ahead. With time winding down Dan Fouts led an epic drive that tied the game at 38 and sent the contest to overtime. Both teams had chances to win the game before Rolf Benirschke’s 27-yard field goal with 1:08 left in the first Overtime to gave the Chargers a 41-38 win in one of the greatest playoff games ever. As the game was over Kellen Winslow had to be helped off the field due to exhaustion. However, a week later the Chargers ran out of gas playing in -59 degree wind chills in Cincinnati losing the AFC Championship Game for the second year in a row by a score of 27-7.
1982: After splitting their first two games the Chargers hold a 24-0 lead over the Raiders in Los Angeles in the first Monday Night Game after the strike. However, the Raiders would come storming back and stun the Chargers 28-24. The Chargers would recover to finish with a 6-3 record as Dan Fouts won Offensive Player of the Year honors by passing for 2,883 yards in just nine games as Wes Chandler collects 1,032 yards in receptions. Qualifying fifth the Chargers led by a balanced attack of Dan Fouts who passed for 333 yards and Chuck Muncie who rushed for 125 yards the Chargers beat the Steelers 31-28 in Pittsburgh. However, a week later the Chargers are stung by the Dolphins 34-13 in Miami as the Dolphins “Killer Bee” defense intercepts Dan Fouts five times.
1983: With Quarterback Dan Fouts playing hurt the Chargers struggle early getting off to a 3-4 start. Things would only get worse as Fouts missed six weeks with a injured shoulder. However what made things worse was the Chargers defense which yielded 462 points as the Chargers struggled to finish with a 6-10 record.
1984: Prior to the start of the season the Chargers are sold to Alex Spanos who calls it the culmination of a dream. The Chargers would show allot of spark winning four of their first six games. However, defensive troubles would come up to bite the bolts again as the Chargers lost three straight on the way to a slide that would see them land in last place with a 7-9 record.
1985: A porous defense continues to be the achilles heel for the Chargers as they play inconstant football all season finishing with an 8-8 record. The Chargers offense lit up the scoreboard scoring 467 points. However, the defense was lit up as well allowing 435 points. In one unforgettable game the Chargers held on to beat the Buffalo Bills 54-44 at the Murph.
1986: The Chargers open the season with 500 yards total offense in a 50-28 victory over the Miami Dolphins at the Murph. However, the Chargers would quickly plunge losing seven straight before Coach Don Coryall reigns. Al Saunders would lead the Charge the rest of the season but the team would not do much better finishing with a disappointing 4-12 record.
1987: After a 1-1 start the Chargers replacement players go undefeated winning all three games replacement games. When the regulars returned they looked recharged winning four straight on their own to stand at 8-1. However, the Chargers would run out of gas losing their final six games including a season ending shutout against the Broncos in a blizzard in Denver. The loss in the snow would also mark the end of Quarterback Dan Fouts career who retired as the NFL’s second most prolific passer with 43,040 career yards through the air.
1988: Without Dan Fouts the Chargers suffer through a 6-10 season with new Quarterback Mark Malone struggling all season passing for just 1,580 yards. Following the season Coach Al Saunders is fired and replaced by Dan Henning despite the Chargers ending the season on a strong note by winning four of their last six games.
1989: The Chargers defense show immense improvement as they hold opponents under 20-poinst in each of their last 14 games. However, the offense misfires all season finishing with another poor 6-10 record, as newly acquired Quarterback Jim McMahon struggles with injuries all season.
1990: The Chargers name Bobby Beathard their new General Manager his first draft pick would be Linebacker Junior Seau to lead the Chargers young defense. However, with Bill Joe Toliver the fourth different Quarterback in as many years the Chargers struggle again and finish with a 6-10 record again.
1991: The Chargers get off to a miserable start losing their first five games and eight out of nine on the way to 4-12 with their fifth different Quarterback in five years John Friesz. Following the season Dan Henning and his entire coaching staff is fired and replaced by Bobby Ross.
1992: With yet another new starting Quarterback Stan Humphries the Chargers struggle out of the gate losing their first four games. However, led by a powerful defense the Chargers would turn it around winning four straight games. After losing to the Chiefs 16- 14 in Kansas City the Bolts would go Charge to the top of the AFC West winning their last seven games to win the AFC West with an 11-5 record. It was the first time ever that a team started 0-4 made the playoffs. In the first round the Chargers defense smothered the Chiefs all day in a 17-0 win at the Murph. However, a week later the Chargers were zapped themselves in a 34-0 onslaught by the Dolphins in Miami.
1993: With Quarterback Stan Humphries missing several games the Chargers find themselves stuck in the mud playing mediocre all year before finishing with a disappointing 8-8 record. Despite the disappointing season Kicker John Carney still made news by setting a record with 29 consecutive Field Goals made.
1994: The Chargers start the season with a bang as Stanley Richard returns an interception 99 yards for a touchdown to give the Chargers a lead on the way to a remarkable, 37-34, come-from-behind win over the Broncos in Denver to open the season. Two weeks later 99 was a magic number again as QB Stan Humphries hit Wide Receiver Tony Martin on a 99-yard Touchdown pass against the Seahawks in a 24-10 win in Seattle. The Chargers would continue to buzz winning their first 6 and 7 out of 8. However, the Chargers would struggle losing four out of six games. With first place slipping out of their grips the Chargers rebounded with a solid 21-6 win over the Jets in New York to clinch the division. A week later the Chargers would overcome an early deficit to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 37-34. The game was meaningless for the Steelers but it gave the Chargers a first round bye with an 11-5 record. In the Divisional Playoffs against the Miami Dolphins at Jack Murphy Stadium, the Chargers fell behind early, trailing 21-6 in the 3rd Quarter. However, the Chargers would start to grind the run the ball with Natrone Means, as the Chargers began to comeback against a tiring Dolphins defense. Holding the ball most of the second half the Chargers took a 22-21, and held on to win a Pete Stoyonvich’s desperation kick sailed right. In the AFC Championship Game the Chargers returned to Pittsburgh with more than a week off on the line. The Steelers would lead the Chargers all game, but in the 4th Quarter the Chargers would take the lead when Stan Humphries hit Tony Martin to give the Chargers a 17-13 lead. However, the Steelers would drive right up the field and to the doorstep of the Chargers endzone. Their the Chargers defense would stiffen up and not allow the Steelers in, as Dennis Gibson knocked down Neil O’Donnell’s fourth Down pass with 1:04 left. When the Chargers got back to San Diego 70,000 fans greeted them as they got back to the Murph.
Super Bowl XXIX: Playing in the Super Bowl for the first time the Chargers faced the San Francisco 49ers in Miami, in an all-California tilt. However, the Chargers were simply overmatched as the 49ers pulled away early on the way to an easy 49-26 victory. However, the Chargers made history by successfully completing the first two point conversion attempt in Super Bowl history. For good measure the Chargers would repeat the feat to bring the game’s combined score up to a record 75 points. Despite losing over 100,000 fans greeted the Chargers when they arrived back in San Diego.
1995: Prior to the start of the season tragedy strikes the Chargers when David Griggs is killed in a one-car accident. The Chargers would stumble out of the gate losing the season opener 17-7 to the Raiders in Oakland. The Chargers would struggle most of the season as they sat at 4-7, with their playoff hopes withering. However, the Chargers would win their last five games to qualify for the playoffs as a Wild Card with a 9-7 record. However, the Chargers would be stunned by the Indianapolis Colts 35-20 in the Wild Card Game in San Diego.
1996: Tragedy strikes the Chargers again when reserve Runnning Back Rodney Culver and his wife Karen, are killed in the crash of ValuJet Flight 592 in the Florida Everglades. The Chargers would come flying out of the gate again winning four of their first five games. However, a shoulder injury to Quarterback Stan Humphries would hat a drive for the playoffs as the Chargers limped the rest of the way to an 8-8 record. Following the season Coach Bobby Ross resigns; he would be replaced by Kevin Gilbride.
1997: The Chargers stumble out of the gate losing three of their first four games. However, they seemed on the road to recovery by winning three of their next four games to sit at 4-4. However, Quarterback Stan Humphries career is suddenly ended with a horrific looking concussion, as the Chargers lose their last eight games to finish with a 4-12 record.
1998: To replace Stan Humphries the Chargers trade up in the NFL Draft so they can pick Quarterback Ryan Leaf with the second overall pick. With Leaf starting right away the Chargers win their first two games. However, it would all fall apart suddenly and fast. After struggling in his next game Leaf blew off at the media, as it became quickly apparent that Leaf was not mentally prepared to play in the NFL. The Chargers would fall to 2-4 when Coach Kevin Gilbride is fired and replaced by June Jones. However, Leaf does not play any better as he is benched after throwing just two Touchdown passes against 15 interceptions. The Chargers would go on to finish in Last Place with a 5-11 record. Following the season the Chargers would name Mike Riley their new coach.
1999: The Chargers acquire veteran Quarterback Jim Harbaugh as Ryan Leaf sits out the entire season with a wrist injury. The Chargers would get off to a strong start winning four of their first five games. However, an injury to Harbaugh would stop the Chargers cold as they lost their next six games. Harbaugh would return and the Chargers would finish the season on a strong note, winning four of their last five games to finish with an 8-8 record. Following the season General Manager Bobby Bethard, who built the Chargers into a contender retires, he would be replaced by Ed McGuire.
2000: The Chargers season was just one thunderous thud as the team lost its first 11 games, many of them in heartbreaking fashion as six games were by less than a Touchdown. On November 26th Chargers would finally get their first win when John Carney delivered a last second Field Goal to give the Chargers a 17-16 win over the Kansas City Chiefs 17-16 at San Diego. The win would provide no spark as the Chargers seemed to play worse losing their final four games on the way to a miserable 1-15 record. Following the season Ryan Leaf is released following a turnover plagued season, as he would go down in history as one of the biggest busts in NFL history.
2001: Prior to the start of the season the Chargers hire a new General Manager John Butler who ran the Buffalo Bills for a number of years. Butler would take a number of Bills players with him including Quarterback Doug Flutie who was brought in to tutor second round draft pick Drew Brees. However, it was first round pick Running Back LaDainian Tomlinson stealing all the early headlines as he was a Touchdown scoring machine early in the season as the Chargers got off to an impressive 5-2 start. However, suddenly Tomlinson wore down, while Flutie became turnover prone as the Chargers lost their final nine games to finish in last place again with a 5-11 record. Following the season Coach Mike Riley is fired and replaced by Marty Schottenheimer.
2002: The Marty Schottenheimer era in San Diego would get off to a flying start as the Chargers won their first four games on the way to terrific 6-1 start. However, the Chargers would struggle in the second half again winning just two more games the rest of the way as they finished in third place with a mediocre 8-8 record, which included four straight losses to end the season. Despite the second half collapse LaDainian Tomlinson would continue to establish himself as one of the top running backs in the NFL with 2,172 all-purpose yards while scoring a team high 15 Touchdowns. Following the season an era would come to an end as Linebacker Junior Seau is traded to the Miami Dolphins ending his 12-year career with the Chargers.
2003: The Chargers late season struggle continued into the new season as they dropped their first five games bringing their losing streak to nine games. After ending their losing streak on the road against the Cleveland Browns the highly anticipated Monday Night homecoming of Junior Seau is abruptly cancelled as wildfires in San Diego forced the Chargers to move the game to Tempe, Arizona where Seau’s Miami Dolphins crushed the Chargers 26-10. After a 20-7 loss to the Chicago Bears on the road the Chargers decided to bench struggling Quarterback Drew Brees in favor of 41-year old Doug Flutie. Flutie provided a spark right away as the Chargers stunned the Minnesota Vikings 42-28. However, it would only be a one game reprieve as the Chargers continued to struggle ending the season with an awful 4-12 record, which earned them the top overall draft pick. Despite the terrible season the Chargers did have one ray of hope and that was Running Back LaDainian Tomlinson who accounted for 2,370 All Purpose Yards and 17 Touchdowns. In the draft that followed the Chargers were dealt another blow when Eli Manning the top rated player in the draft, with a rich blood line of success that included his broth Peyton the NFL’s reigning MVP, said he would refuse to play for the Chargers forcing them to trade him to the New York Giants for the fourth overall pick Quarterback Phillip Rivers.
2004: Heading into the season the Chargers looked like a team in transition with Rookie Quarterback Phillip Rivers just waiting to take over for Drew Brees, and a countdown hanging over Coach Marty Schottenheimer. The Chargers would start the season with a nice road win beat the Houston Texans 27-20. After splitting their next four games the Chargers nearly stunned the Atlanta Falcons on the road losing 21-20. That loss would be the only loss the Chargers would suffer for a while as they embarked on an impressive eight game winning streak that saw them advance all the way to the AFC Western Division Title. Leading the way for the surprising Chargers was Brees who passed for 3,159 yards with 27 Touchdowns as Rivers the man drafted to replace him suddenly disappeared off the Chargers radar. Meanwhile LaDainian Tomlinson had another impressive season with 18 Touchdowns and 1,776 All-Purpose Yards. On the receiving front Tight End Antonio Gates came out of nowhere and had a break out season with 13 TD receptions and 964 yards as the Chargers posted a 12-4 record with Mart Schottenheimer who was thought to be on the firing line winning Coach of the Year. However in the playoffs the Chargers would suffer a letdown as they lost to the New York Jets in overtime 20-17. The Chargers struggled all day and rallied in the 4th Quarter with ten points to tie the game 17-17, helped at by a roughing the Quarterback penalty late in the 4th Quarter. However in Overtime, when the Chargers drove into Jets territory Schottenheimer got too conservative and took a filed goal for granted a 40 Field Goal which rookie sensation Nate Kaeding would miss.
2005: The Chargers started the season without All-Pro Tight End Antonio Gates as he was suspended two games by Coach Marty Schottenheimer for holding out in training camp. The Chargers clearly missed Gates as they dropped their first two games of the season losing leads in both games. In Week 3 Gates would return as the San Diego turned its ire to New York Giants Quarterback Eli Manning who refused to play for the Chargers forcing a draft day trade. The Chargers were flying high start to finish as LaDainian Tomlinson rushed for 192 yards with three Touchdowns as the Chargers won 45-23. A week later the Chargers stayed hot slamming the New England Patriots 41-17 as Tomlinson rushed for 134 yards with two Touchdowns, as the Chargers ended the 2-time Champions 21-game home winning streak. A week later, it would be more heart break as they lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the final seconds on Monday Night 24-22. After a win over the Oakland Raiders, the Chargers saw LT’s 18-game Touchdown scoring streak ended as Nate Kaeding had a Field Goal blocked and returned for a Touchdwon in a 20-17 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Following their loss in Philly, the Chargers finally got hot with five straight wins to sit at 8-4. However, a week before a big match up with the Indianapolis Colts, the Chargers were caught looking ahead by the Miami Dolphins in a stunning 23-21 loss at home. Facing the 13-0 Indianapolis Colts on the road the Chargers with the playoffs in jeopardy put together their best performance of the year as the defense led by Linebacker Shawne Merriman who would use the game as a catalyst to winning Defensive Rookie of the Year harassed Peyton Manning all game as the Chargers jumped out to a 16-0 lead in the 3rd Quarter. However, the Colts would come steaming back and took a 17-16 lead into the 4th Quarter. The Chargers would retake the lead on a Field Goal by Nate Kaending then put the game away on 83-yard Touchdown run by Michael Turner. However a week later the Chargers would suffer a letdown losing on the road to the Kansas City Chiefs 20-7 as a banged up LaDainian Tomlinson rushed for only 47 yards. The Chargers would go on to lose their finale as well to the Denver Broncos 23-7 as injury was added to insult with QB Drew Brees suffering a dislocated shoulder as the Chargers finished in 3rd place with a 9-7 record. However, one may only look at their schedule to understand why the Chargers only managed nine wins, perhaps no team ever went through more of a ringer, as not only did they face ten eams win winning records, they were required to make four cross-country flights to play East Coast Teams. Following the season the Charger would stunningly decide to let Drew Brees go as they turned the reigns of the offense over to 2004 first round pick Philip Rivers.
2006: After missing the playoffs in 2005 the Chargers wanted to send a message in their first game on a Monday Night on the road against the Oakland Raiders, and send a message they did, as the Raiders offense was smothered by the Chargers defense, who led the way in a 27-0 win. A week later in their home opener the Chargers were equally impressive hammering the Tennessee Titans 40-7, as the Chargers defense came with in four minutes of starting the season with two straight shutouts before Vince Young got the Titans on the board with a late Touchdwon pass to Drew Bennett. A week later it would be the Chargers offense that was stifled on the road, as the Baltimore Ravens powered by a safety scored nine points in the final minutes to beat the Chargers 16-13. The Chargers would bounce back in impressive fashion the following week on a Monday Night in San Diego as they roughed up the defending Champion Pittsburgh Steelers 23-13. After heading back up north to hammer the Bay Areas other team the San Francisco 49ers 48-19, as Phillip Rivers passed for 334 yards, while LaDainian Tomlinson scored four touchdowns. After losing their second game of the season on the road to the Kansas City Chiefs 30-27, the Chargers really got rolling with back-to-back wins over the St. Louis Rams and Cleveland Browns. With NFL’s sack leader Shawne Merriman serving the second game of a four game suspension for performance enhancing drugs, the Chargers defense was shredded all day by Carson Palmer and the Cincinnati Bengals allowing 440 passing yards and 41 points. However, the offense more then compensated as Phillip Rivers passed for 338 yards, while Tomlinson had his second four Touchdown game of the season as the Chargers won their third straight game 49-41. A week later LT would again score 4 Touchdowns as the Chargers took control of the AFC Western Division with a 35-27 win over the Denver Broncos on the road. A week later the Chargers were in danger of suffering a letdown as they trailed the lowly Raiders in the 4th Quarter. However, Tomlinson scored two more Touchdowns, and passed for one in a 21-14 win. Merriman would return in Week 13 as the Chargers won their sixth straight on the road against the Buffalo Bills 24-21. In their rematch against the Broncos at Qualcomm Stadium, LaDainian Tomlinson would make history breaking Shaun Alexander’s one year old record for Touchdowns in a season at 29, as the Chargers clinched the division with a 48-20 win. The Chargers would not lose again in the regular season ending the season with 10 straight wins to finish with home field advantage and a franchise best record of 14-2. Meanwhile for his record shattering 31 Touchdown season LaDainian Tomlinson was the obvious choice to win both the Offensive Player of the Year, and the NFL MVP, where he beat out former teammate Drew Brees, who excelled in his first season with the New Orleans Saints. Also of note Shawne Merriman led the NFL with 17 sacks despite sitting out a four game suspension for using a banned substance. It would be that suspension that would also prevent Merriman from winning the Defensive Player of the Year, as many voters were turned off by his suspension. In the playoffs the Chargers would face the battle tested New England Patriots, with their shrewd Coach Bill Belichick, not a match up that favored Chargers Coach Marty Schottenheimer, who had an unfortunate history of choking in the playoffs. The Chargers came out flying as they jumped out to a 14-3 lead, before a late Touchdown in the first half gave new life to the Patriots just before halftime. After the Pats cut the lead to 14-13, the Chargers appeared to grab control of the game back as LT scored his second Touchdown of the game early in the 4th Quarter to give the Chargers a 21-13 lead. With time winding down the Patriots faced 4th Down and long at the Chargers 41-yard line when Tom Brady was picked off Marlon McCree. However, instead of falling on the ball McCree attempted to return the pick off, and was stripped by Troy Brown, giving the Patriots new life and a new set of downs, as they continued the drive by scoring a Touchdown which was caught by former Charger Reche Caldwell. The Pats would stun the Chargers again Kevin Faulk tied the game with a direct snap to score the two-pint conversion. Rather then rely on Tomlinson, Schottenheimer had the Chargers come out throwing as their attempt to regain the lead quickly fizzled. The Pats would get the ball back and would take the lead 24-21 with 1:10 left. The Chargers would desperately drive down the field, but Nate Kaeding’s 54-yard field goal attempt fell short with three seconds remaining in the game, as the Chargers dream season was ruined with one 24-21 loss. Following the heartbreak in the playoffs rumors would circulate that Marty Schottenheimer’s job was in jeopardy. However, at first it was announced he will return for 2007. The same could not be said for Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron who took the head coach job with the Miami Dolphins and Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips who became head coach of the Dallas Cowboys. The departures of both coordinators would lead to the firing of Mart Schottenheimer, as he feuded with General Manager A.J. Smith over the hiring of replacements. Smith would then name Norv Turner, to replace the departed Schottenheimer.
2007: With new Coach Norv Turner the Chargers returned to the original white helmets as they hoped to erase the memory of their epic playoff disappointment. In the season opener the offense took awhile to get on track as they were trailing the Chicago Bears 3-0 at halftime. However, the Chargers with 17-yard Touchdown pass from Phillip Rivers to Antonio Gates final broke through at the end of the 3rd Quarter as their defense ruled the day in a 14-3 win. However, adjusting to an entire new coaching staff proved tough in the early going as the Chargers were man handled in a Week 2 rematch with the New England Patriots losing in primetime 38-14, as they dropped three in a row. The Chargers would finally get on track in Week 5 as they traveled to Denver and laid the smack down on the Denver Broncos, handing the Orange Crush their worst home loss in over 40 years 41-3. Leading the way for the Chargers was their bruising defense as they created three turnovers, including a fumble returned 23 yards for a touchdown by Brandon Silver, as Michael Turner out rushed LaDainian Tomlinson in the blowout gaining 147 yards. A week later at home it would be the LT show as the reigning MVP rushed 198 yards with 4 TDs as the Chargers beat the Oakland Raiders 28-14. The following bye week, would be a trying one for San Diego and the Chargers as wild fires again threatened the area around the stadium, as several players had to be evacuated from their homes, as the Chargers helped with the relief efforts. When the Chargers returned to the field at home they were led on to the field by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and firefighters who battled the blaze. The Chargers would win one for San Diego as they climbed over .500 with a 35-10 win over the Houston Texans. The Chargers would take a step backward a week later as their usually strong defense was run over by Rookie Adrian Peterson who set a single game record 296 yards with three touchdowns as the Minnesota Vikings beat the Chargers 35-17. The Chargers would recover when they came home as Darren Spores returned a kickoff and a punt for a touchdown as the Chargers held off the Indianapolis Colts 23-21, as the Chargers defense picked off Peyton Manning six times. However, a week later they stumbled again as they lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars 24-17. However, it would be the last time the Chargers would stumble during the regular season as the Norv Turner coaching staff and the team began to gel, closing the season with six straight wins to capture their second straight division title with a record of 11-5. In the playoffs the Chargers hoping to erase the playoff disappointments of the past got off to a slow start against the Tennessee Titans, as they trailed 6-0. However, much like their season opening win the Chargers defense kept them in the game just long enough for the Chargers offense to get on track in the second half as the Chargers took the lead for good on Rivers to Vincent Jackson 25-yard Touchdwon pass late in the third quarter, as they won their first playoff game in 13 years 17-6. Facing the defending Champion Indianapolis Colts on the road a week later, the Chargers were dealt an early blow as they lost LaDainian Tomlinson to a sprained knee in the second quarter. However, Phillip Rivers picked up the slack and had three touchdown passes including a 56-yard pass to Darren Sproles to give the Chargers a 21-17 lead on the last play of the 3rd Quarter, but on the play Rivers would be hurt too meaning if the Chargers were going to win they would need to do so with a back up at Quarterback and Running Back. When the Colts retook the lead things look bleak for San Diego. However, back up QuarterbackBilly Volek led the Chargers down the field and scored on a one yard sneak to give the Chargers a 28-24 lead, which their defense was able to make stand as they reached the AFC Championship Game. Facing the unbeaten New England Patriots with a banged up LaDainian Tomlinson and Phillip Rivers the Chargers were heavy underdogs as they played for a trip to the Super Bowl. While the knee proved too tough for LT to play, Rivers some how gutted it out as the Chargers gave the Pats all they could handle. However, in the end the Patriots would put the game away in the fourth quarter as they went to their fourth Super Bowl in seven years with a 21-12 win.
2008: After their strong finish and trip to the AFC Championship Game the Chargers entered the season with dreams of reaching the Super Bowl. However, a knee injury to Linebacker Shawne Merriman had a big impact on the Chargers defense, as they suffered a heartbreaking 26-24 loss to the Carolina Panthers in the season opener, as Panthers Quarterback Jake Delhomme found Dante Rosario in the endzone for a 14-yard touchdown pass as time expired. A week later the Chargers suffered more frustration when they lost to the Denver Broncos 39-38, as Broncos QB Jay Cutler connected with Eddie Royal for a touchdown and then two-point conversion with 24 seconds left. The Broncos comeback was even more frustrating as Referee Ed Hochuli ruled that a fumble by Cutler was an incomplete pass keeping the Broncos game winning drive alive. The Chargers would take their frustrations out on the New York Jets, winning their first game of the season 48-29. However, the Chargers would continue as they got off to a 3-5 start, which included a 37-32 loss to the New Orleans Saints in London. Coming off a bye week the Chargers nearly suffered another last minute meltdown, as the Kansas City Chiefs two-point conversion with 23 seconds left failed, as the Chagres barely hung on for a 20-19 win. However, their struggles would continue as three straight losses dropped them 4-8. With the playoffs seemingly out of reach the Chargers pounded the Oakland Raiders 34-7. A week later the Chargers looked to be on the way to elimination as the trailed the Kansas City Chiefs 21-10 with less then two minutes left on the road. However, the Chargers found last minute thunder, as Malcolm Floyd scored on a four yard pass from Phillip Rivers; after the two point conversion failed the Chargers recovered an on-side-kick keeping their fading hopes alive, as Quarterback Phillip Rivers connected with Vincent Jackson on a ten yard touchdown pass with 36 seconds left to give them a dramatic 22-21 victory. The Chargers would score 21 unanswered points a week later to beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 41-24 for their third straight win. The win coupled with a second straight loss by the Denver Broncos, put playoff destiny back in the hands of the Chagres as they only needed a win over the Broncos at home to win the AFC West with an 8-8 record. Playing in Primetime on Sunday Night the Chargers got revenge for their Week 2 loss by pounding the Broncos early and often, as they jumped out to a 24-6 halftime lead and never looked back, as LaDanian Tomlinson who at times looked ordinary during the season regained his 2006 superman form with three touchdowns as the Chargers won 52-21, becoming the first team in NFL history to reach the playoffs after a 4-8 start. In the Wild Card Round the Chargers played host to the Indianapolis Colts, who were coming in the playoffs on a roll with a nine game winning streak. However, with Darren Sproles taking command in the backfield the Chargers kept the game close through out, as the game went into Overtime tied 17-17, thanks to Nate Kaeding’s 26-yard Field Goal with 26 seconds remaining. The Chargers would win the coin toss in OT, as Sproles continued to confound the Colts, scampering 22 yards for the game winning touchdown as the Chargers beat the Colts in the playoffs for the second straight season 23-17. However, a week later the Chargers run would come to an end as they were beaten by the eventual Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers 35-24 in the Divisional Playoff Round.
2009: The Chargers started the season win a divisional showdown on the road against the Oakland Raiders on Monday Night. The game was much tougher than expected for the Chargers who held on for a 24-20 victory but left the game beat up as the old rivals played a physical game that left the Chargers hobbled. The game would see two key linemen go down in Nick Hardwick and Louis Vasquez along with LaDainian Tomlinson. They would also lose DT Jamal Williams for the season. The injuries would play a role in the Chargers 31-26 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the home opener as they got off to a 2-3 start. Slowly the Chargers made adjustments as Tomlinson was fazed out of the offense while Phillip Rivers had a career high 4.254 yards passing with 28 touchdowns. Following back to back wins over the Kansas City Chiefs and Raiders, the Chargers had a gut check win over the New York Giants at the Meadowlands. Trailing 20-14 with two minutes left Phillip Rivers drove the Chargers 80 yards hitting Vincent Jackson with an 18 yard Touchdown pass with 21 seconds remaining to deliver a 21-20 victory. A week later it was LaDanian Tomlinson who would lead the way scoring two touchdowns to pass Marcus Allen for third on the all-time TD list as the Chargers beat the Philadelphia Eagles 31-23. The Chargers would seize control of the AFC West with a 32-3 win over the Denver Broncos on the road, avenging a loss in Week 6 and improving to 7-3. The Chargers would continue to roll the rest of the season, winning their fourth straight division title and fifth in six years by posting a 13-3 record. Entering the playoffs with an 11 game winning streak the Chargers were seen as one of the teams to beat as they were clearly the hottest team entering the playoffs. After a first round bye the Chargers hosted the New York Jets in the Divisional Round. Early on the Chargers dominated the game controlling both the clock and field position. However, they only held a 7-0 lead at halftime as Kicker Nate Kaeding missed two Field Goals, including a 36 yarder on the Chargers second possession. The Jets would get on the board with Field Goal in the 3rd Quarter, as the field began to tilt in their favor. Late in the 3rd Quarter, with the ball on their own five yard line, Phillip Rivers made a critical interception as he under threw Antonio Gates and was picked off by Jim Leonhard at the 16. The Jets would take the lead in the 4th Quarter as Mark Sanchez capped the drive following the interception with a two yard touchdown pass to Dustin Keller. The Jets would expand the lead to 17-7 as Shonn Greene broke off a 53 yard Touchdown run. Meanwhile the Chargers continued to scuffle as Kaeding missed another field goal. The Chargers would score with 2:14 left on a one yard run by Phillip Rivers, but the Jets would recover the on-side kick and run out the clock for a 17-14 victory to advance to the AFC Championship Game. Viewed as chocking in the playoffs again the Chargers re-worked their roster in the off-season, waiving RB LaDainian Tomlinson.
2010: The Chargers began the season on a rainy Monday Night in Kansas City, suffering a 21-14 loss to the Chiefs; the back breaking play for the Chargers was a 94 yard punt return by Dexter McCluster late in the 2nd Quarter. The Chiefs would rebound to win their home opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars 38-13. In Week 3 the Chargers special teams would be their Achilles heel again, as they fell behind early 17-0 on the road against the Seattle Seahawks, as Leon Washington began the second half with a 101 kickoff return. The Chargers would rally to tie the game 20-20 in the 4th Quarter, but once again it was Washington returning a kickoff 99 yards to give the Seahawks a 27-20 win, as 455 yard game by Philip Rivers was spoiled. After an impressive 41-10 win over the Arizona Cardinals, the Chargers special teams struggled again as Mike Scifres had punts blocked after the first two drives leading directly to 12 points for the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders would go on to win the game 35-27, ending the Chargers 13 game winning streak against the silver and black. The Chargers would go on to lose three straight games, dropping to 2-5 on the season. The Chargers have been able to dig out of holes in the past, and they hoped to get a strong second half. Thanks to a four game winning streak they were able to get back on track as they entered a rematch with the Raiders, holding a record of 6-5. Things would not go the Chargers way again, as a fumbled punt by Darren Sproles turned out to be crippling in a 28-13 loss that nearly crippled their playoff hopes. The loss which occurred on December 5th also ended the Chargers 18 game winning streak in December games. The Chargers would rebound with a 31-0 blanking of the Kansas City Chiefs to get them back within one game of first place. They would win again the following week in their final home game of the season. However, in a swirling snow storm the Chargers playoff hopes would be plowed away as they lost to the lowly Cincinnati Bengals 34-20. The Chargers would end the season with a 33-28 win over the Denver Broncos to post a season record of 9-7. Despite missing the playoffs, the Chargers had the NFL’s #1 ranked offense and #1 ranked defender. However, 29 turnovers and a special teams unit that allowed the most yards per game ended up being the difference in what had to be a disappointing season for the Chargers.
2011: After missing the playoffs the Chargers hoped to get off to a fast start as they hosted the Minnesota Vikings. Trailing 17-7 at halftime, the Chargers rallied to win the game 24-17, with ten unanswered points in the fourth quarter, with Mike Tolbert scoring the winning TD on a 1 yard pass from Philip Rivers. Also helping the effort was Punter Mike Sacrifies who filled in for Nate Kaeding after he was injured on the opening kickoff and lost for the season with a knee injury. After a 35-21 loss to the New England Patriots on the road, the Chargers continued to rule the AFC West, as they beat the Kansas City Chiefs 20-17, as Eric Weddle’s interception at midfield sealed the victory. The Chargers would get the good start they hoped for as they beat the Miami Dolphins and Denver Broncos to head into the bye week with a solid 4-1 record. However, after the bye the Chargers fizzled, blowing a 21-10 halftime lead, on the road against the New York Jets who ended the game with 17 unanswered points in the second half to win the game 27-21. A week later it was the Chargers who had to battle back, as they tied the game 20-20 with a Curtis Brinkley two yard TD run, followed by a two point conversion with Brinkley catching a pass from Philip Rivers. However, in overtime the Chiefs would win the game 23-20 on a 30 yard Ryan Succop Field Goal. Returning home the Chargers would suffer a third straight loss against the Green Bay Packers, losing a classic shootout 45-38, as Philip Rivers had an up and down game, with 385 yards passing and four touchdowns. However, he also had three costly interceptions, which included two that were run back for touchdowns in the first quarter. The heartache would continue as they lost to the Oakland Raiders on Thursday Night and slipped to 4-5. After a fifth straight loss against the Chicago Bears, the Chargers appeared to be close to getting back on track as they held a 13-10 lead at home against the Broncos. However, the Broncos would rally to win the game in overtime as Matt Prater kicked two clutch field goals to win the game 16-13. The six game losing streak was the longest for the Chargers in ten years. The arrival of December came just in time for the Chargers, who continued to excel amongst the Christmas Trees and lights, ending their losing streak with a 38-14 road win against the Jacksonville Jaguars. A week later at home the Chargers had another big performance clobbered the Buffalo Bills 37-10. San Diego’s late season charge would continue with a 37-10 Sunday Night win over the Baltimore Ravens to get back to .500. However, on the road on Christmas Eve the Chargers playoff hopes came to an end as they were beaten by the Detroit Lions 38-10. The Chargers would end the season with a 38-26 win over the Raiders in Oakland. With the win the Chargers finished 8-8, while taking out their division rivals. The loss cost the Raiders a chance to win the division title as they also missed the playoffs. Following the season the Chargers suffered a loss of a different kind, as longtime fan favorite Junior Seau committed suicide is his beachside home near San Diego. Fans wondered why, but answers were nowhere to be found. A best estimate is that Seau could not adjust to life without football.
2012: After two straight seasons without the playoffs, fans in San Diego had grown tired of the Chargers letting them down and attendance struggled. Fans were even more upset that Norv Turner was still the team’s head coach. The Chargers began the season on the road on Monday Night Football against the Oakland Raiders, where the Chargers won seven of their last eight games coming in. The Chargers would continue their dominance in Oakland, winning the game 22-14. With Philip Rivers passing for 284 yards with three touchdowns the Chargers would have a successful home opener as they beat the Tennessee Titans 38-10. However, the following week would not be as good at Qualcomm Stadium, as the Chargers committed four turnovers and were blown out by the Atlanta Falcons 27-3. The Chargers would bounce back with a 37-20 road win over the Kansas City Chiefs as the Chargers defense forced six turnovers, including an interception returned 21 yards for a Touchdown by Donald Butler. On Sunday Night Football the Chargers faced the New Orleans Saints at the Superdome. Philip Rivers had a solid game, passing for 354 yards with three touchdowns as the Chargers built a 24-14 lead in the 3rd Quarter. It appeared as if the Chargers were about to put the game away as Demorrio Williams returned a Drew Brees interception for a touchdown. However, Melvin Ingram was called for roughing the passer. The Saints would maintain possession and begin their comeback, scoring 17 unanswered to win the game 31-24. A week later the Chargers would suffer an even worse loss in primetime, as they jumped out to a 24-0 halftime lead at home against the Denver Broncos. However, they would completely unravel in the second half, as Rivers committed five of his career high six turnovers, two of which were returned for touchdowns, as the Broncos stormed back to win the game 35-24. The Chargers perhaps suffering a hangover, despite a bye week would lose a third straight game to the Cleveland Browns 7-6, as windy conditions made it hard for Philip Rivers to find his receivers. Four days later the Chargers got back on track as Rivers completed 18 of 20 passes in an easy 31-13 Thursday Night win over the Chiefs. However, the Chargers could not get back over .500 as they had another second half meltdown during a 34-24 road loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which was followed by a 30-23 loss to the Broncos. At 4-6 the Chargers needed a strong finish to get back to the postseason, and looked to on the way to a big win as they led the Baltimore Ravens 13-3 with 7:51 left. The Ravens would score to get within a Field Goal, but the Chargers were still in good shape as the Ravens faced 4th down and 29 yards needing just one stop to clinch the win. However, a screen pass to Ray Rice went for 30 yards as the Ravens tied the game on a 38 yard Field Goal by Justin Tucker. Tucker would go on to win the game 16-13 in overtime. The Chargers trend of blowing 4th Quarter leads would continue the following week as they allowed ten unanswered points and lost to the Cincinnati Bengals 20-13. At 4-8 the Chargers playoff hopes were hanging by a thread as they faced the Pittsburgh Steelers on the road. Philip Rivers would have a strong game, passing for 200 yards with three touchdowns 34-24. However, returning home in front of their smallest crowd in eight years the Chargers would suffer an ugly 3-7 loss to the Carolina Panthers to seal their fate. The Chargers would close the season with wins over the New York Jets and Oakland Raiders, as they missed the playoffs again at 7-9. Following the season the Chargers would fire both General Manager A.J. Smith and Coach Norv Turner.
2013: After missing the playoffs three straight seasons, the Chargers hoped for a new beginning under new Coach Mike McCoy. Hosting the Houston Texans on Monday Night Football, the Chargers looked sharp early as they built a 28-7 lead in the 3rd Quarter, with Philip Rivers toss four touchdown passes. However, the Texans would quickly get back in the game, with Rivers throwing a crushing interception that was return by Brian Cushing for a game tying score. The Texans would go on to win the game 31-28 on a Randy Bullock Field Goal as time expired. In Week 2 on the road against the Philadelphia Eagles, the Chargers would get off to a strong start, as the led 20-10 early in the 3rd Quarter as Phillip Rivers connected with Eddie Royal on two Touchdown passes. However, the Eagles would rally to take a 27-23 lead, before Rivers and Royal connected again to regain the lead in the 4th Quarter. The Eagles would get equalizer, but with seven seconds left Nick Novack won the game 33-30 with a 46 yard Field Goal. However, the following week the Chargers would be unable to rebound after falling behind, losing 20-17 to the Tennessee Titans, after holding the lead most of the game. Returning home in Week 4, the Chargers overcame a 21 point second quarter to beat the Dallas Cowboys 30-21, as Rivers passed for 401 yards with three touchdowns, highlighted by a 56 yard pass to Antonio Gates to seal the win. However, the Chargers could not maintain the momentum, suffering a 27-17 loss on the road against the Oakland Raiders. In a Monday Night game with the Indianapolis Colts, the Chargers broke out the powder blues and had a strong defensive effort, allowing just three field goals as Phillip Rivers had another solid performance, passing for 234 yards in a 19-9 win. The Chargers would follow it up by beating the Jacksonville Jaguars 24-6 to go into the bye week at 4-3. However, the Chargers would come out of the bye flat, losing their next three games, including a home game to the Denver Broncos. With their season on the brink, the Chargers got a big game from Phillip Rivers who passed for 392 yards to win a shootout with the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. Rivers had three touchdown passes including a 26 yarder to Seyi Ajirotutu to win the game 41-38 with 24 seconds left. However, the Chargers could not keep the momentum as they suffered a 17-10 home loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. At 5-7 the Chargers would need to win their final four games to make the playoffs. Beginning with a 37-14 rout of the New York Giants, the Chargers would again use their December magic to begin an unlikely late season charge. Helping in the cause was rookie Wide Receiver Keenan Allen who caught two touchdowns against the Giants. Allen would be among the top rookies in the NFL, with 71 receptions for 1,046 yards and eight touchdowns. Four days after beating the Giants, the Chargers would stun the Broncos on the road 27-20, with Keenan Allen catching two more TD passes, as the Chargers defense slowed the Broncos record setting offense. Following a 26-13 win over the Raiders the Chargers went into the final week needing some help to get into the playoffs. By the time the game kicked off, the pieces fell into place and the Chargers just needed a win over the Chiefs who were resting several key players for their postseason game, having already secured the fifth spot. The Chargers just wanted to be number six, but most of the game could not get going as they trailed 24-14 in the 4th Quarter. With Ryan Matthews rushing for 144 yards, the Chargers would claw their way back and tie the game at 24 apiece. However, they would have to dodge a major bullet as Ryan Succop shanked a 41 yard Field Goal in the game’s final seconds. In Overtime the Chargers took the first possession and rolled the dice on fourth down at their own 28 as Eric Weddle took a fake punt and got the two yards needed to get a first down. The Chargers would end up taking the lead with a 36 yard Field Goal by Nick Novack. The Chargers would than shutdown the Chiefs on the following possession to preserve the 27-24 win and make the playoffs at 9-7. Phillip Rivers who passed for 4,479 yards and 32 touchdowns while tying a career high with a 105.5 passer rating would be named the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year.
2013 Playoffs: Not many people gave the Chargers a chance as they faced the Cincinnati Bengals on the road in the Wild Card round. However, the Chargers would get on the board early thanks to a five yard run by Danny Woodhead. The Bengals would bounce back and get the lead at the half 10-7. In the second half the Chargers defense took a bend but don’t break stance allowing 439 yards in total offense, but with four turnovers managed to turn the game in their favor. The Chargers would score 20 unanswered points in the second half to win the game 27-10 as Ronnie Brown sealed the win with a 58 yard Touchdown run. Looking for another win in Mile High, the Chargers again held the Broncos to under 30 points. However, for three quarters their own offense seemed stuck in the mud as they trailed 17-0 at the start of the 4th Quarter. However, the Chargers would not go down without a fight as Phillip Rivers connected twice with Keenan Allen to get the Chargers on the board. Down 24-14, the Chargers would add a Field Goal by Nick Novack to get the game back within seven points. They would get no closer as the Broncos managed to run out the clock and advance to the AFC Championship Game with a 24-17 win.
2014: Coming off a strong finish, and a road playoff win the San Diego Chargers looked to improve and challenge for the AFC West. Starting the season on the road against the Arizona Cardinals on Monday Night Football, the Chargers appeared to be on the way with a 17-6 lead in the fourth quarter. However, the Cardinals would take the lead 18-17 with drives of 64 and 91 yards. The Chargers had a chance to answer but in a night of dropped passes failed to get far enough to try a game winning Field Goal. Coming home the Chargers took advantage of an unusually hot afternoon in San Diego, to beat the Seattle Seahawks 30-21. The Chargers offense simply worn down the Seahawks, possession the ball for 42:15, as Antonio Gates had 96 yards receiving with three touchdowns. The win over the Seahawks would be the start of a five game winning streak, highlighted by a 31-0 win over the New York Jets at Qualcomm Stadium. Following their shutout of the Jets, the Chargers would have their hands full with the winless Oakland Raiders on the road. Down 28-24 late in the fourth quarter, the Chargers got a go ahead score by Branden Oliver to take the lead 31-28. The win would be preserved by Jason Verrett who made an acrobatic interception at the San Diego 5-yard line to end the game. Verrett was playing in the game with a torn labrum that would eventually sideline him for the season after shoulder surgery. The injury to Verrett was the latest malady to hit the Chargers who had already lost Nick Hardwick and Danny Woodhead for the season. At 5-1 the injuries would begin to catch up with San Diego as they suffered a 23-20 home loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in their powder blues. Cairo Santos won the game with 23 seconds left, hitting a 48 yard Field Goal. The Chargers would drop another division game just four night later, as they were hammered by the Denver Broncos 35-21 on a Thursday Nighter in Denver. A week later the Chargers would play one of their worst games in years losing to the Miami Dolphins 37-0. Following the blanking in Miami the Chargers got a much needed bye week. Coming out of the bye, the Chargers offense continued to struggle. However, their defense delivered a strong game enabling them to edge the Raiders 13-6 at Qualcomm. Following the game, Tight End Antonio Gate revealed that QB Phillip Rivers was dealing with a rib injury. The Chargers would get a second straight win, as the edged the St. Louis Rams 27-24. In the game Rivers shook off an early 99 yard interception return, as Ryan Matthews rushed for 105 yards, finally getting San Diego’s struggling running game on track. A week later Phillip Rivers would get on track, in a thrilling 34-33 win over the Baltimore Ravens on the road, Rivers passed for 383 yards helping the Chargers score 21 points in the fourth quarter including a game winning pass to Eddie Royal with 38 seconds left as the Chargers used their fifth different center following an injury to Chris Watt. A week later on Sunday Night Football, again wearing powder blue the Chargers got off to a good start, leading the New England Patriots 14-3 early in the second quarter. However, the Chargers would not be able to add to the lead as the Patriots scored the game’s last 20 points to hand San Diego 23-14. The Chargers would suffer another home loss the following week as their struggles against the Broncos continued in a 22-10 loss in their final game at Qualcomm on the season. On the road in San Francisco, the Chargers looked to be going down without a fight as they trailed the 49ers 28-7 at halftime. The Chargers would reverse things in the second half, rallying to force overtime on an 11 yard TD catch by Malcolm Floyd with 29 seconds left. In overtime, Eric Weddle would force a fumble, setting Nick Novak to win the game with a 40 yard Field Goal 38-35. However, with a chance to get in the playoffs with a win the Chargers lost the Chiefs 19-7, finishing with a record of 17-9.
2015: After narrowly missing the playoffs the San Diego Chargers entered the season with their future in doubt as dissatisfaction with Qualcomm Stadium had them seriously contemplating a move north to Los Angeles. Opening the season against the Detroit Lions, the Chargers struggled early and fell behind 21-3 with Phillip Rivers throwing to interceptions with one ran back for a touchdown. The Chargers would find the endzone on a nine yard run by Danny Woodhead before halftime and came out in the second half a different as Rivers passed for 403 yards with two scores to lead the Chargers to a 33-28 win at the Q. A week later Rivers comeback efforts would fall short as he was picked off on the final drive with the Chargers suffering a 24-19 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. Following a 31-14 loss to the Minnesota Vikings, the Chargers returned home and won a back and forth battle with the Cleveland Browns 30-27 as Phillip Rivers was nearly flawless, passing for 358 yards with three touchdowns as Josh Lambo’s 34-yard Field Goal won the game as time expired. A week later on Monday Night Football the Chargers suffered a back breaking loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers at home. After Lambo nailed a 54-yard Field Goal with 2:56 left the Chargers held a 20-17 lead. The Steelers would go 80 yards in 12 plays and instead of tying the game the Steelers gave the ball to Le’Veon Bell who scored from one yard out as time expired to win the game 24-20. The following week saw Phillip Rivers set a new franchise record by passing for 503 yards, on while completing 43 of 65 passes, but it was not enough as the Chargers suffered a 27-20 loss to the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Wearing their powder blue jerseys dug a deep hole early against the Oakland Raiders, trailing at the half 30-6. The Raiders would pad the lead with a touchdown in the third quarter, before San Diego made a late charge, but it was too little too late as the Chargers lost a third straight 37-29. The agony would continue as they lost to the Baltimore Ravens on a last second Field Goal 29-26 and blew a fourth quarter lead to the Chicago Bears at home, losing 22-19 to fall to 2-7 at their bye week. Things only got worse out of the bye week as they suffered a 33-3 loss at the hands of the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chargers would finally end their six game losing streak in Jacksonville, beating the Jaguars 31-25 as Phillip Rivers had another big game, passing for 300 yards with four scores. The Chargers only managed a total of six points in their next two games, losing to the Denver Broncos 17-3 and the Chiefs 10-3. In what could have possibly been their final game in San Diego in Week 15, the Charges lay forth their best effort of the season beating the Miami Dolphins 30-14. The Chargers would go on to lose their final two games on the road against the Raiders and Broncos to finish the season with a disappointing record of 4-12. Despite the terrible results set a new career high in yards with 4,792 as he had 29 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Following the season, the NFL looked over proposals for a team to move to Los Angeles, one that would have seen the Chargers and Raiders share a stadium in Carson was rejected in favor of the Rams plan to build a stadium at the site of the old race track in Hollywood Park. The Rams plan gave the Chargers an option to share the new stadium. The Chargers as part of the plan would give San Diego one more year to come up with a plan to build a new stadium, the funding for a new stadium would go on the November ballot, putting their fate in the hands of the voters. If the plan is approved the Chargers will get a new stadium in the East Village district. If the pan is voted down the Chargers will likely move to Los Angeles in 2017.
2016: As the season began for the San Diego Chargers, the future of the team was in question as a stadium referendum vote in November was the only thing keeping them from moving to Los Angeles. The season started poorly for the Chargers as they blew a 21-3 lead to the Kansas City Chiefs, losing in overtime 33-27. In their home opener, the Chargers rebounded to crush the Jacksonville Jaguars 38-14. A week later, it was more fourth-quarter heartbreak as they fell to the Indianapolis Colts 26-22, on a 63-yard pass from Andrew Luck to T.Y. Hilton. A week later at Qualcomm Stadium, it was more fourth-quarter failures as Drew Brees tossed two touchdowns in the final five minutes to lead the New Orleans Saints to a 35-34 win. Following a 34-31 loss to the Oakland Raiders, the Chargers got back on track with a 21-13 win over the Denver Broncos, in a special Thursday Night game with the Chargers wearing similar colors to the uniforms they wore in the Dan Fouts era. In Week 7, the Chargers flipped the script, overcoming a 27-10 deficit to beat the Atlanta Falcons in overtime 33-30 at the Georgia Dome. However, with a chance to get back to .500, the Chargers lost to the Broncos 27-19 in Denver, continuing a frustrating trend. On the eve of election day, the Chargers returned home and won a 43-35 thriller against the Tennessee Titans. The Chargers got two big defensive touchdowns in the game, one by Dwight Lowry who returned a fumble 36 yards and one by Brandon Flowers who return an interception 33 yards. Two days later, the San Diego Chargers suffered the most important loss as the stadium measure was defeated overwhelmingly. The following week the Chargers lost on the field to the Miami Dolphins 31-24 as Phillip Rivers was picked off four times, including a 60-yard return by Kiko Alonzo in the final minutes of the game. Following a bye week, the Chargers would get a 21-13 win on the road against the Houston Texans. The win would be the final of the season, as the Chargers lost their final five games, including 20-17 loss to the winless Cleveland Browns in Week 16. A week later the Chargers lost to the Chiefs 37-27 in what would be their final gameplay in San Diego as they announced they would move to Los Angeles a few weeks later. On player who thrilled fans in the final season in San Diego was Joey Bosa who was named Defensive Rookie of the Year.