SAN DIEGO — At the last minute, a group of corporate sponsors stepped up to bail out the struggling San Diego Chargers and make sure that Thursday night's game against the Kansas City Chiefs will be televised in Southern California.
Depending on the outcome, they might regret guaranteeing to cover a whopping 10,000 tickets that remained unsold 72 hours before kickoff.
Already prime-time flops twice this year, the Chargers (3-4) will try to get it right against the staggering Chiefs (1-6), arguably the NFL's worst team. Although the Chiefs have the same record as Jacksonville and Carolina, their issues run deeper than that.
Playing under the lights might merely illuminate what's wrong with these AFC West rivals, who play in the NFL's weakest division.
The Chiefs have lost four straight games and certainly won't be accused of using Stickum, seeing as how they've committed a staggering 25 turnovers, tops in the NFL.
San Diego has lost three straight and four of five to drop into a second-place tie with the hated Oakland Raiders, a game behind Denver. The bye week did nothing to help San Diego, which floundered in a 7-6 loss at Cleveland and hasn't scored a touchdown in its last six quarters.
Before that, of course, was the epic Monday night collapse at home against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos, when the Chargers coughed up a 24-0 halftime lead and lost 35-24. Eight days earlier, the Chargers folded on the road against Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints after leading by 10 in the third quarter.
Approaching the season's midpoint, the Chargers are still talking about trying to put together a complete game and getting on the same page.
Fan outrage against coach Norv Turner has never been hotter, and #firenorv is all the rage on Twitter. More and more paying customers are starting to toss general manager A.J. Smith into the fray because his retooled roster hasn't played with the impact that was promised.
The way quarterback Philip Rivers sees it, there's a fine line between saving the season and having it spin out of control.
We make two or three plays and we're sitting here 6-1 and talking about, ‘Are the Chargers the best team in the AFC?' said Rivers. And you don't make those plays and you're talking about, ‘Oh, what in the world is wrong?'
Kansas City at San Diego
TV: 8 p.m., NFL Network