SAN DIEGO — Halfway to what?
The Chargers certainly aren't halfway to the playoffs. They are 2-6 at the mid-point of the season.
Yet if they hadn't befouled the air with a stale 16-0 loss to the Indianapolis Colts Sunday at San Diego-Jack Murphy Stadium they would trail AFC West division leaders Seattle and Denver by just one game.
Halfway to the worst record in the National Football League and the draft first prize of UCLA quarterback Troy Aikman?
Probably not. Atlanta, and Kansas City both have worse records than the Chargers after 8 games. Dallas, Detroit, Green Bay, Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh all have the same record with arguably tougher division schedules ahead of them.
The Chargers have lost 4 straight and have scored just 6 offensive touchdowns in their last 8 home games. This has not gone unnoticed. The crowd of 37,722 was their smallest at home in 5 years. The Colts' shutout was the 2nd pitched against them in their last 4 games. And it marked the first time in 12 years the Chargers have failed to score at home twice in one season.
As the Chargers straggled under the stands toward their lockers after the last play, small pockets of paying customers resurrected the throaty chant you used to hear in college basketball before they instituted the shot clock: "Boooorrring. Boooorrring, Boooorrring." The Chargers, it would appear, are halfway to nowhere.
And they played that way in front of a gathering that was more excited by the parking lot fire in the first period that gutted five vehicles and damaged four others. According to officials, flames erupted when somebody tucked their hibachi under a gas tank. Firefighters needed 30 minutes to stop the fire.
The Colts (3-5) got field goals of 20, 44 and 51 yards from Dean Biasucci.
Indianapolis added a 25-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback Gary Hogeboom from the wishbone formation to Matt Bouza late in the final quarter.
Ex-Ram Eric Dickerson rushed for 169 yards in 30 carries as the Colts dominated time of possession 36 minutes to 24. Charger quarterback Mark Malone completed 13 of 30 passes for 121 yards against the pass defense rated last in the NFL going into the game. The 453 yards allowed by the Charger defense was the most it has given up all year.
"We got our hind ends knocked off at the line of scrimmage and they were able to do whatever they wanted to do," said Ron Lynn, the Chargers' defensive coordinator.
Not even the loss of its starting quarterback, rookie Chris Chandler, to a second-quarter concussion, bothered Indianapolis. Chandler departed after completing 9 of 17 for 123 yards. Hogeboom, who didn't take a practice snap all week, completed 11 of 19 for 132 yards.
The final score would have been worse if Leonard Coleman, a former Colt defensive back, hadn't intercepted 2 Chandler passes in the end zone. Vencie Glenn picked off another.