For the first time in five years the San Diego Chargers won't be taking part in the NFL playoffs.
Sunday's loss to the Cincinnati Bengals (4-11) ended the Chargers' (8-7) playoff hopes. As a result, fans are now looking forward to next year.
"I was so depressed I went to sleep," said longtime fan Mike Rosete. "Yeah 2011, bring it home."
Decembers have usually been kind to the Chargers. Prior to this year, the Bolts won an astounding 18 games in a row in the month of December, dating back to 2005.
It has usually meant robust merchandise sales for retailers like Joseph Mai, owner of V-City Sports in Kearny Mesa.
"It's been slower this year," Mai said. "Every time they lose you look at sales."
The Chargers this year, have a pedestrian 2-2 record in December with losses coming against two teams with sub .500 records in Cincinnati and Oakland (7-8).
Both losses were by at least two touchdowns.
Unfortunately for San Diego fans, losses to these sub .500 teams is nothing out of the ordinary for this year's version of the Chargers.
The four-time defending AFC West champions have one of the league's softest schedules and will play 11 games against teams that currently have losing records.
To date, the Chargers have a 5-5 record against such opponents yet a 3-2 record against teams with winning records.
"Words can't really explain how we feel right now," safety Eric Weddle said after Sunday's loss. "Our season is done. It's probably the worst feeling you can have."
Also disturbing to some fans has been the downward trend of post-season success for the team under head coach Norv Turner's four-year tenure.
In 2007 the team compiled an 11-5 record and won two postseason games.
In 2008 the Chargers were 8-8 and won one postseason game.
In 2009 the team went 13-3 and earned a first round bye but were eliminated from the playoffs by the Jets without winning a single playoff game.
Now in 2010, the Bolts could not overcome a 2-5 start and will be watching the postseason from home.
"It could have been a lot better but what are you going to when you're playing third string guys?" said Joe Alegado a Chargers' fan. "There have been a lot of injuries."
Injuries have plagued nearly every pass-catching player on San Diego's roster.
Star tight end Antonio Gates (foot) and wide receivers Vincent Jackson (suspension, calf), Malcolm Floyd (hamstring), Legedu Naanee (hamstring), Patrick Crayton (wrist) and Buster Davis (groin) have all missed at least a month's worth of games.
Despite the injuries, quarterback Phillip Rivers is having one of his finest seasons, throwing for career highs in yardage and completion percentage.
Rivers is second only to New England quarterback Tom Brady in quarterback rating, second to Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning in passing yardage, and tied for third in passing touchdowns.
"It's tough anytime you're eliminated from a chance of playing for the postseason," said Rivers after the loss Sunday. "It's something I haven't dealt with since I've been playing here. This was the final straw."
Club president, Dean Spanos said Monday afternoon, both head coach, Norv Turner, and general manager, A.J. Smith, will return to their respective duties for the 2011 Chargers' campaign.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun