From Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego
When it was all said and done, there really wasn’t much for Brodie Croyle.
His first start in 15 months was not what he was expecting. Not when you’ve waited so long to get back on the field.
Getting your clock cleaned 31-0, as the Chargers did to the Chiefs on Sunday is not something Croyle will be able to put away with just a film session and corrections. Not when the defeat leaves you 0-10 as a starting quarterback.
“We felt good about the plan,” Croyle said after the game. “Felt good about the preparation coming in. We did not perform the way we thought we were going to. They are a good defense. They are the number on defensive team in the league for a reason and we just did not play well.”
That includes Croyle. While the absence of starting QB Matt Cassel obviously was a negative for the Chiefs offense, it wasn’t because Croyle was back there that the Chiefs were unable to score or mount any type of attack.
“I don’t think it would have made a difference,” said RB Jamaal Charles. “There was just so much that we didn’t do that wasn’t Brodie’s fault.”
If the outcome wasn’t Croyle’s fault, then he certainly didn’t contribute enough to change anything on the field. In his first regular-season action of the season, he was seven of 17 for 40 yards. That’s an ugly 2.4 yards per attempt. His longest completion was 16 yards to WR Terrance Copper. It was his only completion for more than eight yards.
And help did not come from the rest of the offense. At a time when they needed everybody to carry a little bit of the load for the missing Cassel, nobody jumped up and helped Croyle. WR Dwayne Bowe caught one pass, and dropped three balls. WR/RB Dexter McCluster did not touch the ball on offense. Charles got 12 touches for 49 yards, far below his yearly averages.
And then there was the pressure. Croyle was sacked four times and according to press box stats, he was hit six other times. That number seems low, but even if it’s true, that means Croyle was hit 10 times in 21 pass plays.
“When we fell behind and had to throw that put us at a disadvantage,” said LG Brian Waters. “They weren’t paying attention to the running game at that point.”
The Chargers say they didn’t do anything differently defensively with Croyle in the game, but that’s a little hard to believe they would not.
“I don’t think you make dramatic changes in your scheme,” said head coach Norv Turner. “We were going to play more eight-man fronts and we were going to pressure more. We were going to make sure that if they were going to make plays that we were going to make it hard on the quarterback.”
And hard they did make it. So bad did the pass rush/protection get that in the fourth quarter with Croyle still in the game, the coaches pulled their tight ends and had OT Ryan O’Callaghan go in to help pass block. That didn’t work either, as several pass rushers knocked Croyle to the ground.
“We were obviously planning to lean on the running the ball early,” Croyle said. “But it got out of reach. We didn’t execute any part of it.”
And that was all Croyle could say about the matter. The media questions paused and before anybody could blink, Croyle was out the door.