Around the NFL  


San Diego Chargers' downfall in full bloom in Cleveland


The San Diego Chargers drifted away from their embarrassing Monday night loss to the Denver Broncos in Week 6 with plenty to prove.

The schedule set them up to right the ship. Following a bye week heavy with soul searching, the Chargers were handed the 1-6 Cleveland Browns, a team that has helped opponents get healthy all season.

Thursday, Dec. 13, 8 p.m. ET
Watch on NFL Network and

Thursday Night Football Xtra
Download Thursday Night Football Xtra for a second screen experience while you watch the game.

Play TNF Challenge
Pick the game score and the players from each matchup you think will score the most fantasy points. Compete with friends and experts. Win a trip to the Pro Bowl.

Unless you're the Chargers, of course.

Their 7-6 loss to the Browns confirms our worst fears about a Norv Turner-led Chargers team that has made a career of underachieving in key moments.

Granted, the gusts and rain off Lake Erie weren't ideal for a group accustomed to operating under sunshine and mild winds along the Pacific Ocean. We've learned that conditions must be ideal for this bunch to do its job.

My biggest problem with the Chargers in this stinker of a game was their lack of direction. San Diego didn't come in with a visible plan to take advantage of an injury-depleted Cleveland defense.

Chargers coaches spent the week watching tape from Dick Jauron's body of work. Cleveland's defensive coordinator runs a vanilla scheme that asks its players to win matchups. Chargers personnel told CBS that Jauron's scheme hasn't changed much since his old team, the Buffalo Bills, knocked off San Diego in 2008.

The homework and preparation amounted to nothing. Individual plays broke down, and drives meshed into confusion. Jauron's defense did its job: vanilla and victorious.

San Diego's loss to Denver two weeks ago was pinned on quarterback Philip Rivers and his four interceptions. Rivers had zero picks against the Browns, but he led the Chargers to just two field goals against a one-win team that managed just seven points Sunday.

Welcome to another ugly week in beautiful San Diego.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.