Kevin Hench over at FOX Sports wrote a niece piece on how this season could have played out.
Here’s to what could have been…
Stripes Doom Bolts
After going 14-2 in 2006 and coming within a game of the Super Bowl last year, the Bolts looked primed to get over the hump this season.
But three plays turned the Chargers’ season upside down. Instead of 9-5, atop the AFC West and readying for another playoff run, San Diego needs help from the last-place Bills if they’re to have any shot at catching the Broncos in their Week 17 showdown.
1. A 14-yard TD pass is not supposed to be a Hail Mary, but when Jake Delhomme fired the ball toward tight end Dante Rosario on the final play in Week 1 against the Chargers it looked like a prayer. But Rosario brought the ball down — his only touchdown of the year — and the Panthers stunned the Bolts as time expired. Turns out losing on the game’s final play in Week 1 was something of an omen for the star-crossed Bolts.
2. The game was over. Jay Cutler had fumbled and the Chargers had recovered to secure a win over the Broncos. But despite seeing the ball fly backward right in front of his face, Ed Hochuli incorrectly ruled the fumble a forward pass and could not remedy his mistake after blowing his whistle. We all know how that one ended.
3. Maybe because it happened in London nobody stateside said much about the second unconscionable call that might have cost the Chargers a game this season. Early in the fourth quarter in Week 8 against the Saints, a phantom pass interference call in the end zone on Cletis Gordon gave New Orleans the ball at the 1 instead of 3rd-and-10 at the 20. The Saints punched it in for a 37-20 lead in a game San Diego ended up losing 37-32. For the game the Chargers had 14 penalties for 134 yards, including another dubious pass interference call on Quentin Jammer on 3rd-and-long.
How bad has the Chargers’ luck been compared to the first-place Broncos? The Bolts have a plus-44 point differential and trail Denver (which has given up 40 more points than it’s scored) by two games. If there were a Bill James of football he could come up with a formula to explain precisely how preposterous this is.
Here is their poll…