Numbers back up Turner's success

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

There was no coach in the NFL in the first three months of the season who was more ridiculed and criticized than Chargers coach Norv Turner.

I admit, before San Diego completed its remarkable turnaround from a 4-8 team to an 8-8 AFC West Division winner, I wrote Turner should be fired if he didn't win the division. I still believe that. But Turner won the division and he deserves credit.

There are plenty of numbers that back up the need for Turner to be praised. Here are a few facts that show that Turner, a noted quarterback guru, is not the head coaching disaster some believe he has been in San Diego:

  • After just two seasons, Turner is tied for the most playoff victories in team history (3, tied with Don Coryell and Bobby Ross).

  • The Chargers are 12-2 under Turner in December and January, and 9-0 under Turner in December.

  • The Chargers led the AFC in scoring with 27.4 points per game, second overall in the NFL.

  • The Chargers led the NFL with the highest average per pass play.

  • The Chargers also ranked 3rd in yards per play.

  • Quarterback Philip Rivers set team records and led the NFL with 34 TD passes (Dan Fouts had 33 in '81) and a 105.5 passer rating.

  • Rivers' 100.6 passer rating over the last 27 games is the highest in the NFL over that period (includes five playoff games): 17-10 record, 51 TDs, 19 INTs, 63.5 completion percentage.

Next time someone knocks Turner as a complete bust as a head coach, throw out these statistics. Turner may have his faults, but there has been success in San Diego under his watch.