It was as bad a feeling as you could ever experience at a San Diego Chargers home game.
It was a win, a 31-13 trashing of a sorry team, but the Chargers win over Kansas City was unimpressive and did nothing to soothe the feelings of the fans, nor answer any real questions about the once-elite team.
Boos greeted the starting quarterback Philip Rivers before the game and again at halftime.
And the Chargers, for the first time ever, refused to introduce Norv Turner to the crowd as he led the team onto the field.
The Bolts scuffled, struggled and stumbled, leading a pathetic Kansas City team by only a 10-6 margin until late into the second half.
The only thing that changed by the time the game was over was that San Diego’s record moved to (4-4) — thanks to two wins against the Chiefs, one against a struggling Tennessee team and the opening day victory over the sad-sack Raiders.
For this night, the Chargers players have to feel good, but they have not really beaten anybody.
With the nation looking on, the “Death Watch Bowl” kicked off with Turner desperately trying to hold onto his job and overwhelmed Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel probably having lost his.
The NFL Network devoted an enormous amount of their pregame show talking about Turner and his shortcomings. That came hours after “Sports Illustrated” crucified owner Dean Spanos for the mistakes he has made en route to just 10 winning seasons in 28 years of ownership.
All three New York newspapers took turns firing shots in the direction of San Diego — some against Rivers, much against Turner and then a few directed at General Manager A.J. Smith.
And legendary Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson stepped up on his podium and blamed the football leadership for failing to put quality players around their faltering quarterback.
Rivers was booed, I think unfairly, coming out of the tunnel before game time. He proceeded to complete 14 straight passes, but then got booed again after throwing another interception at the end of the first half when San Diego could have blown the game open.
Fans unfurled banners at halftime demanding the owner fire the coach and his enabler, the general manager.
Turner, taking heat for play-calling and awful protection packages, toned down his demands on Rivers. The Bolts ran the ball, threw it to Ronnie Brown coming out of the backfield, and threw shorter, more easily completed passes to Antonio Gates, Seyi Ajirotutu and Danario Alexander.
Why this has not been part of the past game plans stuns me. But then again, this was against Kansas City — a team with no team speed, not much talent and apparently less heart.
The defense kept blitzing Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassell and finally got a sack, a fumble recovery, a deflected pass for an interception and then two touchdowns to put the Chiefs away.
But who did they beat?
Kansas City leads the world with 29 turnovers. They have broken a record of never once leading in a game this season, a low water mark set way back in 1940. Cassell remains mistake-prone and turned it over twice more, giving him 18 for the year.
Kansas City is nearly last in every offensive category in the league, leads the world in turnovers and seems to be headed to a holocaust of an off-season roster cleansing.
Crennel will probably get off the team plane early Friday morning without his job and his GM Scott Pioli, who put this roster together, is likely on his way out.
For one week, the criticism of Turner-Smith and Spanos will be backed down a bit, but the storyline still remains the same.
Until the Chargers post a win and win a key road game, the erosion of fan support and likely ticket sales will continue.
Do it this next week in Tampa Bay against an improving Buccaneers team, or do it in two weeks in Denver versus Peyton Manning and maybe the town will come around. And lest we forget, before you start ordering playoff tickets, they still must go to Pittsburgh and face the Jets on the road, too.
But there remains no confidence in leadership, and there certainly still are questions about the drop-off in productivity of the franchise quarterback.
For one night the Chargers have something positive to deal with — a win. They will have a victory day off Friday,Saturday and Sunday, before then they get ready for the second half of the season.
The Bolts are (4-4), but I cannot find many people who say this doesn’t really feel like (0-8). Their wins have come against teams with a combined record of (8-23) and they have struggled to get those victories. At least you are not in Kansas City, where the only thing they have to look forward to is a long-hard-cold winter.
Take the victory. But until they prove it otherwise, this might have only been a stay of execution for the head coach.
Ugly is still ugly, and the Chargers have yet to change that, especially against a good team.
What do you think, Southwest Riverside? Did Norv Turner save his job tonight with a win against the Chiefs? Tell me in the comments section below.