Chargers' win not expected to save Turner's job

BERNIE WILSON AP Sports Writer Published:

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Chargers President Dean Spanos presented Norv Turner with a game ball after San Diego stunned the Steelers, its first regular-season victory in Pittsburgh in 15 tries.

That's the same Dean Spanos who is expected to fire Turner, most likely along with general manager A.J. Smith, shortly after this dismal season ends.

The 34-24 victory Sunday isn't expected to change anything, other than keep the Chargers mathematically, if not realistically, alive for a wild-card playoff berth at 5-8.

Turner tried to deflect talk of his future Monday, trying to keep the focus on the next opponent, Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers (4-9), who beat Atlanta 30-20 on Sunday.

"That's not the thing that's on my mind," Turner said about his job status. "We're trying to get ready for Carolina and trying to build on what we did last week. That's where I'm at."

Turner did say that Spanos has not yet told him he's going to be fired.

Turner and Smith got a reprieve last year when the Chargers ended the year 4-1 to finish 8-8. But Spanos said then that they'd need to win this year to save their jobs. Turner said then he expected the Chargers would have to make the playoffs this year to save their jobs.

With the Chargers apparently headed toward a third straight year out of the playoffs, Spanos isn't expected to grant another reprieve.

The best the Chargers can do this year is 8-8, which still requires them to win out. One more loss will guarantee their first losing season since 2003.

After Carolina, the Chargers travel to face the New York Jets and finish at home with the lowly Oakland Raiders.

Indianapolis leads the wild-card race at 9-4. Pittsburgh and Cincinnati are next at 7-6, followed by the Jets at 6-7 and the Chargers, Buffalo, Miami and Cleveland at 5-8.

After the Chargers lost seven of their previous eight games, the victory over the Steelers left many fans wondering: "Where has that been all season?"

"I mean, it's been there, it's just about execution," running back Ronnie Brown said Monday. "You know, like we've been saying all season, when we execute, when we do it the way we're capable of doing it, the results are usually good. But unfortunately, we haven't been able to be consistent and do it for four quarters throughout the whole season."

It was San Diego's first victory against a winning team this year.

"I don't think our effort has been an issue in the games we played," Turner said. "We haven't been as efficient as we were yesterday."

One of the biggest factors was that Philip Rivers didn't commit any turnovers and was sacked only once. The Chargers converted 12 of 22 third downs and came up with a game-changing play on a turnover. Backed up deep in his own territory, Ben Roethlisberger tried to throw a screen pass but it caromed off tight end David Paulson's rear and rolled into the end zone, where Quentin Jammer fell on it for a TD that gave the Chargers a 27-3 lead in the third quarter.

"We've been in that game a number of times, and that one play has gone against us," Turner said. "Their lateral that we ended up falling on for a touchdown gave us a lead that they were not able to get back in terms of after that play. We've had some of those plays go against us."

NOTES: Turner's son, Scott, is offensive quality control coach for the Panthers. ... Carolina coach Ron Rivera was San Diego's defensive coordinator from midway through the 2008 season through 2010. ... The Chargers are headed for another local TV blackout because nearly 13,000 tickets remain unsold before Thursday's deadline. It would be the third straight blackout and fourth this season for Southern California's only NFL team.

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