Originally wrote this for the blog but opted against including it. Damn thing was long enough already. Figure this is a subject Skins fans who lived through the Norvous Years might get a kick out of tracking this year, though, given that our franchise and this decent but star-struck man will be tied together in the pages of NFL history forever.
At any rate, I'm planning to track our former boy all year, so please feel free to participate. If this turns into anything I'll probably move the series to Around the NFL in future weeks. And if it simply dies quietly on the vine right here, so be it. It would seem appropriate somehow.
The Turner Zone - Week 1
I know it’s preseason and all, but I couldn’t keep from tuning in as Norv Turner--the NFL’s answer to salt spilled on a black cat--took to the sidelines for this debut as head coach of the San Diego Chargers. Coming off a 14-2 season, playing at home before an adoring, expectant sellout crowd under a sparkling southern California sky, Norv wasted little time introducing his unique aura to Charger football.
On the game’s opening drive, San Diego grabbed a nice interception off Seattle QB Matt Hasselbeck, returning it deep into Seahawk territory and igniting the crowd…..only to have it nullified by an iffy holding call. The Seahawks then proceeded methodically down the field and scored.
On their first drive, the Chargers moved smartly from their own 24 to an apparent first down at the Seattle 31…..but got flagged for holding on the play that got them there, pushing them back to the 41. On the next play they were called for a false start. Then, they gave up a sack that put them in 3rd and 17. They got 16 of them back (on a sweet catch-and-run by my new favorite non-Redskin, 5’ 6” running back D. Sproles, in the SD mini-back tradition of Lionel “Little Train” James)…..but, predictably, got stuffed on 4th and 1.
Fast forward to the end of the game.
Leading by two with seven minutes to go, the Charger defense stopped Seattle at the Charger 23, and got huge a break when J. Brown’s 41-yard FT attempt went wide left. Except that San Diego was flagged for 12 men on the field…..and Brown calmly drove the mulligan down the center. Seattle takes the lead.
Getting the ball back with less than 2 minutes to go and now down by 8, San Diego puts together a decent two-minute drill, and moves smartly from their own 28 to the Seahawks 26. With 13 seconds left and time for at a couple shot into the end zone, on 3rd and two the QB lobs a duck down the deep middle, which is easily picked off at the Seattle 6. Game over.
San Diego runs 15 more offensive plays than Seattle, tops them in total yards and rushing yards, breaks even on passing yards, dominates time of possession, but gets penalized eight times to Seattle’s two, gets sacked five times to Seattle’s one…..and, in the end, loses.
Welcome to the Turner Zone, children of the sun.