Peyton Manning was pure magic down the stretch. Philip Rivers -- like the rest of us -- could only watch the lead slip away as the Denver Broncos turned a 24-0 deficit into a 35-24 win over the San Diego Chargers.
The most ghastly showing of Rivers' career unfolded on national television, symbolic of his poor timing on Monday night. The veteran passer -- steadily extinguishing the "elite" argument -- threw four interceptions and gave away two more fumbles.
After the game, Turner was asked if he contemplated airlifting Rivers out of this disaster for backup Charlie Whitehurst.
"No," Turner told U-T San Diego. "If you want to make this about somebody, it's not about one of the guys in there. Make it about me."
As Manning heated up, Qualcomm Stadium became Qualcomm Central Library. Bolts fans have been here before. Everything we know about the Chargers -- everything we know about Norv Turner -- promised the 24-point lead wasn't safe. Rivers was equally maddening, forcing throws into sticky coverage, unable to build drives, looking like a man on the brink.
"It was mostly just poor throws," Rivers explained to the team's official site. "I wasn't fooled out there once today. The first interception, I didn't see exactly how it ended. I knew I gave (Antonio) Gates a chance down there and they ended up with it. The other ones were bad throws. There's really no other reason for them."
The Chargers are 3-3, technically breathing, but this game will be remembered as a turning point in the AFC West. And for this franchise. There's no recent history of heroics. Only the opposite. That dynamic has everything to do with Turner and -- on a night like Monday -- everything to do with Rivers.
Changes are ahead.