There are losses. And then there are losses. The San Diego Chargers' Monday night meltdown will leave a mark.
The Denver Broncos turned a 24-point halftime deficit into a 35-24 victory in a sloppy game that was stunning for how unsurprising it all felt. The tie for largest road comeback win in NFL history will be remembered for Peyton Manning's superlative play, but this result told us more about the team that lost.
Good teams don't give up 35 consecutive points at home after halftime. Good teams don't stare at a chance for a two-game division lead and do everything possible to give it away.
The Chargers' ineptitude on both sides of the ball was staggering. The defense gave up touchdowns on Denver's first three possessions of the second half.
San Diego's offensive collapse was even more spectacular. The Chargers had six second-half drives:
First drive: Lost fumble
Second drive: -4 yards, punt
Third drive: Interception
Fourth drive: Interception
Fifth drive: Interception
Sixth drive: Lost fumble
That's how you pull off a historic collapse. That's how you achieve a defining yet somehow predictable coda to the Norv Turner era in San Diego. Heck, the Chargers gave up the final 17 points last week against the New Orleans Saints, too.
The story of the AFC West in 2012 still is being written, but it sure feels like we know the ending. Some day in early January, we'll look back on this game as the moment Turner and his Chargers lost control.Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.