Ben on the Bolts: 3 questions about the Chargers' playoff-clinching win over Kansas City

SAN DIEGO - Time once again for my Chargers "3 Questions" blog ... a question that was answered, a question that was left unresolved, and a new question that was created during the course of the game. Here's the Chargers vs. Chiefs edition:

QUESTION ANSWERED: Norv Turner said the Chargers were a long way from being a playoff team when he walked out the door less than 12 months ago. Was he right? Dead wrong. And adding insult to injury, Norv is out of a job as offensive coordinator in Cleveland after head coach Rob Chudzinski was fired. In the NFL, no team is ever too far away from making the playoffs. The Chiefs went from 2-14 to 11-5. The Chargers simply went from 7-9 to 9-7. Norv Turner wasn't getting the most of his talent, and couldn't figure out how to overcome his team's weaknesses. Mike McCoy was able to do both, and the Chargers are still playing into January.

QUESTION UNRESOLVED: Why do the Chargers continue to play "up" and "down" to the competition? When the Chiefs announced that they'd be resting all of their star players, I honestly expected the Chargers to win by 30 points. They had everything to play for; the game should have been a rout. Instead, the Chargers never led during regulation, and for 3 quarters, appeared to be inferior to a bunch of backups, many making their first career starts. The Chargers nearly missed the playoffs because of losses to the Texans, Titans, Raiders, and Redskins...four teams with top 10 draft picks in 2014. Yet they also posted 5 victories against teams that finished with 10+ wins, and went 5-2 against playoff qualifiers. Does that bode well for January? We'll see.

QUESTION CREATED: Can the Chargers beat the Cincinnati Bengals in the Wild Card round of the playoffs?Not the way they played against the Bengals earlier this month at Qualcomm Stadium. If Cincinnati can run the ball as effectively as they did on December 1st, and keep the ball out of Philip Rivers' hands, the Chargers will be in trouble. But the Chargers definitely have some points working in their favor. The Bengals have not won a playoff game since 1990...the longest streak of postseason futility in the NFL. They've been unable to get out of the first round in recent years, both at home, and on the road. Plus, in today's NFL, the team with the better quarterback always has the advantage, and Rivers is definitely head and shoulders above Andy Dalton right now. Dalton didn't look good in his game against the Chargers four weeks ago, and was picked off four times in the regular season finale against the Ravens. The Bengals were able to win those games in spite of Dalton's mistakes. That may not happen in the playoffs.

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