Bolts try to end 2-year playoff drought

Associated Press Modified: August 30, 2012 at 4:32 pm •  Published: August 30, 2012
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SAN DIEGO (AP) — They've missed the playoffs the last two seasons and have one playoff victory the last four years.

Their quarterback was a mess last year, accounting for a whopping 25 turnovers.

And, perhaps only in soft and sunny San Diego, posting a double snowman — an 8-8 record — was good enough of a showing for embattled coach Norv Turner and polarizing general manager A.J. Smith to keep their jobs with the San Diego Chargers.

Team president Dean Spanos didn't feel compelled to give Turner and Smith the heave-ho, much to the chagrin of a growing segment of the ticket-buying public.

Something would certainly have to give at the top if the Chargers miss the playoffs a third straight season. Turner has never been on the hot seat like he is now, and it seems like he's been on it since right after the Chargers hired him before the 2007 season.

In an effort to both fill their many holes and perhaps to ward off the hot seat for Turner and Smith, the Chargers loaded up on free agents — an uncharacteristic move for them — and then made a run on defensive players in the draft to try to fix a unit that was the league's worst on third downs.

Now they've got to try to find a way to still be playing in January.

"We're going to have to do better in the division than 3-3 to win it," said Philip Rivers, whose 20 interceptions and five fumbles, including a botched snap that sealed a loss at Kansas City, had a lot to do with San Diego's misfortunes last year. "The last two years, we've been 3-3. We've definitely got to do better. I think everybody's gotten better in the division. At least that's what we all think now. We've got to go do it."

San Diego went 4-1 at the beginning and end of last season but was undone by a six-game losing streak in the middle. One more win would have earned the Chargers the title in the mediocre AFC West.

"Expectations are always high here, as it should be," said fullback Jacob Hester. "Gosh, if you thought, man, we're not that good, then you're not going to be that good. So you always come out, no matter good, bad or what, as a team. We've got high expectations here."

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