Monday, January 14, 2008

Quickie: That's Mr. Turner to you

From the always spectacular "Debriefing: The Seven Deadly Sins of Sunday" column by MJD over at the Fanhouse, comes this spectacular turnaround on the oft criticized Turner, who many called DOA...

You're 8 point underdogs, your quarterback has been shaky, and you're going on the road to play the defending Super Bowl champions in maybe the league's most hostile environment. In addition, your tight end and biggest receiving threat is severely hobbled, and you're going to lose the league's best running back and your starting quarterback for much of the second half.

Name a coach who's going to go in there and get that win. Name a coach with the pants prunes to go into that Lion's Den, and come out with the lion's still-beating, blood-dripping heart in his triumphant, fearless hand.

Who do you want? Lombardi? Noll? Belichick? Walsh?

You want Norv.

Morv Motherflipping Turner.

Norv has been widely mocked since ... well, since he first took the head coaching job with the Redskins, and the public first saw the permanent "someone murders my dog every single day of my life" look on his face. The mockery has only intensified since.

Norv became a punchline as he went 9-23 with the Raiders, and the mockery only grew louder when he was inexplicably hired by San Diego to replace Marty Schottenheimer, who had just gone 14-2 and had won more NFL games than all but five people in the history of the universe. The mockery was positively deafening when the Chargers started the season 1-3. Everyone was laughing at Norv.

On this Monday, though, it's impossible to mock Norv Turner. The Colts only lost 4 times this year ... once, to the Patriots and the afore-mentioned Bill Belichick, once when they threw the last game of the regular season, and now, twice to Norv Turner.

Norv got a hand from a pretty good collection of talent, of course. Philip Rivers, before getting hurt, had his best game of the year ... the Chargers offensive line had a phenomenal day ... and the Bolts also have a defense that's good enough, not to stop Peyton Manning, but to force him and/or his receivers into the occasional mistake. Manning threw for 402 yards and 3 touchdowns, but the Chargers got a fumble out of Marvin Harrison, they got a couple of interceptions off of deflections, and they forced 9 incompletions on Manning's last 11 throws.

But if Norv was helped by the Chargers talent, then the Chargers talent was helped along by Norv. They won in Indianapolis because they were well-prepared, they had an outstanding gameplan, they believed in themselves even when they weren't close to full-strength, and everyone on the roster was ready to handle their business.

Say what you want about Norv's career to this point, but poorly-coached teams don't do what the Chargers did yesterday.

You have to imagine he's smiling somewhere today. At least, however close that craggly Badlands topography of a face lets him come to smiling.

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