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San Diego Chargers, Norv Turner have been down this road before

November 21, 2011 | 10:02 am

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San Diego Chargers fans probably aren't feeling too chipper right now, with their team in a five-game tailspin, dropping to 4-6 and two games back in the AFC West after a 31-20 loss to the Chicago Bears on Sunday.

But there are still reasons for optimism. Struggling quarterback Philip Rivers actually played pretty well against the Bears -- if you don't count those two fourth-quarter interceptions.

Plus, these are the Chargers we're talking about. This is what they do. Forget about that 4-1 start -- that's just not the way things are supposed to go during the Norv Turner era.

The team has gotten off to a rocky start every season since Turner became coach (1-3 in 2007, 4-8 in 2008, 2-3 in 2009, 2-5 in 2010) but has made the playoffs every time except last year -- and even then it finished strong at 9-7.

At the 10-game mark in those seasons, the Chargers have been at .500 or below every time except 2009, when they were 7-3 and on their way to a spectacular 13-3 finish (and a spectacular choke job in the playoffs, losing in their first game, 17-14, to the New York Jets).

Like this year, they were 4-6 at this point in 2008. But they finished 8-8, won a weak AFC West and actually pulled off a playoff victory, 23-17, in overtime against the Indianapolis Colts in the wild-card round, before their season came to an end with a 35-24 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the divisional round.

So here they are again at 4-6 in a weak AFC West. Now that's more like it. It's time for another late-season playoff run. That's just what the Chargers are supposed to do in the Norv Turner era.

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-- Chuck Schilken

Photo: Norv Turner. Credit: Jonathan Daniel / Getty Images

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