As the Carolina Panthers prepare to play the San Diego Chargers in Week 15, second year coach Ron Rivera is on the hot seat after his team's numerous fourth quarter collapses under his watch.
The last time the Panthers and Chargers squared off in 2008, Ron Rivera witnessed his team collapse and lose on the last play of the game, only this time it worked to the Panthers' favor since Rivera was wearing Chargers blue back then.
In Week 1 of the 2008 season the Panthers opened the season with a thrilling last second, game-winning touchdown from Jake Delhomme to tight end Dante Rosario. At the time Ron Rivera was the inside linebackers coach for the Chargers, watching from the sideline as his team lost a winnable game.
You can watch the game-winning touchdown here, with Rivera prominently shown at the :42 mark standing on the sideline next to coach Norv Turner. Ironically, Delhomme's pass went right over the head and just beyond the reach of one of Rivera's Charger linebackers.
Panthers-Chargers All-Time Record
This week's matchup will be the fifth all-time between the Panthers and Chargers.
Carolina owns a 3-1 record in the head-to-head matchup including victories in 1997, 2000, and 2008. San Diego's only victory came in a 17-6 win in Week 7 of the 2004 season.
Outside of the thrilling 2008 finish, there have been several additional memorable moments from the teams' previous matchups.
In 2004 Panthers' fullback Brad Hoover ran the ball a career-high 24 times for 99 yards, the second highest rushing total of his career. Hoover, a fan favorite in Carolina, was primarily known as a grinding, gutsy blocker, but he proved against the Chargers he can also effectively run the ball when called upon.
In 2000 the quarterback matchup at one point featured the immortal Ryan Leaf against the legendary Jeff Lewis. Playing part of the game leading the Panthers offense, Lewis completed 6 of 13 passes for 41 yards. He finished his career with a total of 28 completions for 210 yards, making the 2000 San Diego game one of the highlights of Lewis' career.
The 2012 matchup between two disappointing, underachieving teams - the Panthers are 4-9 and the Chargers 5-8 - may or may not turn out to be memorable, but this we know for sure:
If Ron Rivera's Panthers collapses late in the game once again this weekend, his already warm seat will get much, much hotter.
Andrew Sweat is a die-hard Panthers fan. For more from this author, visit Andrew's archive or check out these articles: