Bolts bottom out with dismal loss to Panthers

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SAN DIEGO (AP) — There are no more false hopes surrounding the hapless San Diego Chargers.

Done in by Mike Tolbert, one of the many players authoritarian general manager A.J. Smith has allowed to leave over the years, the Chargers were eliminated from playoff contention for the third straight year in a dismal 31-7 loss to the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.

The Chargers (5-9) clinched their first losing season since 2003.

There were thousands of empty seats at Qualcomm Stadium. The fans in attendance even booed a public service announcement on the big screen featuring turnover-prone Philip Rivers.

Linebacker Takeo Spikes admitted: "I think bottom line, we didn't show up."

All that's left are two meaningless games before the expected firing of coach Norv Turner and likely Smith.

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