Oct 14, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) throws a pass against the Indianapolis Colts at Qualcomm Stadium. The Chargers defeated the Colts 19-9. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Poll: Will The Chargers Still Make The Playoffs?

We have all had 24 hours to TRY to get the taste of Sunday’s inexplicably awful play calling out of our mouths, which resulted in a crucial loss. Nothing is more maddening than firing a head coach for being a bafoon, and having your newly hired offensive coordinator do the exact same thing. When you are on the road, and you have a chance to punch the ball into the end zone, you just can’t afford to get fancy. It’s already hard enough to win on the road in this league. You shouldn’t overthink your game plan, and keep your best red zone weapon on the bench. But, this article isn’t about Whisenhunt, so I will move on. I only hope that Tom Telesco, Mike McCoy, and the Spanos family feel as embarrassed as we do, and swiftly address this glaring flaw…. again.

Much like the players, it is time for us to put this loss in the rearview mirror, and turn our heads to the next game, and our path to reaching the playoffs. Before the bye week, we held the 6th, and final playoff spot. With that awful loss, we have now plummeted three spots to the 9th slot. Cleveland is right on our heels with a 4-5 record in the 10th spot. Then, if you weren’t already depressed, Oakland is at the 11th spot with 3 wins. The Jets, The Titans, and The Dolphins all leapfrogged us this week with victories. The Jets have the best record at 5-4, and the Dolphins are at 4-4, but have a better conference record. As we know, we blew that game against the 4-4 Titans, AND they have a better conference record. That’s how fast things can change in the NFL, and how important Sunday’s game was. Apparently, The Chargers coaching staff didn’t get the memo.

So, where does this leave The Charger’s playoff hopes? Many fans didn’t have any to begin with, so this shouldn’t be that disappointing to those people. As for the people (including myself) who thought that our coaches had helped this team turn a corner, Sunday’s game only leaves us to guess what they will do to shoot themselves in the foot again. Will it be awful play calling by our coordinators? Will it be Philip chest-thrusting an official, putting us out of striking distance? Will it be Derek Cox giving away big plays, like Halloween candy? Will the players come out like the best team in the NFL, and then finish like a Pop Warner team? Will it be the officials calling phantom penalties, and spotting the ball incorrectly, per their usual routine? We can only hope the Chargers get their act together quickly, and go ballistic for the next 8 games.

Despite having a rag-tag roster of no-names, rookies, depth players, and oft injured vets, this team has shown flashes of improvement against good teams. If the players & coaches can get out of their own way, this team CAN make the playoffs. It’s a long shot, but the race is still on. Let’s assess the damage, and see if we still have a chance. There are 8 games left, and our record is 4-4. Here is our remaining schedule:

Denver, @ Miami, @ Kansas City, Cincinnati, New York Giants, @ Denver, Oakland, Kansas City


What they have going against them:  To make the playoffs, they will need to win 5 or 6 of those games. Unfortunately, 5 wins might not get the job done, even though the AFC wild card race seems a little bit soft. The big problem is that we play Kansas City & Denver twice each during that stretch. Even if we split those 4 games, we would still have to beat out The Bengals, The Dolphins, The Giants, and The Raiders to end up at 10-6. If they can beat Denver in San Diego, beat Kansas City on the road, and beat Kansas City in week 17… then we could lose one of the other non-division games (I’m guessing Cincinnati) and still end up with a 10-6 record.

I hope that this team can beat The Raiders, The Dolphins, and The Giants. If we lose any of those games, we are likely done. The Dolphins game will be especially important, as it is a conference game, and a tiebreaker game with a team that is competing with us for the final spot. The Raiders game is also a very winnable division, and conference game. Unfortunately, of all of the teams competing for the last playoff slot right now, we have the hardest road to the playoffs, and will need a lot of help from bad teams. Hopefully they can beat out our competition. Here are the schedules of the current wild card contenders:

The Jets: @Buffalo, @Baltimore, Miami, Oakland, @Carolina, Cleveland, @Miami

The Dolphins: @ Tampa Bay, San Diego, Carolina, @ NYJ, @ Pittsburgh, New England, @ Buffalo, NYJ

The Titans: Jacksonville, Indianapolis, @ Oakland, @ Indianapolis, @ Denver, Arizona, @ Jacksonville, Houston

Of course if the teams below us like Cleveland, Baltimore, and Oakland come on strong, they could still creep up into the race. Any of the above teams could have an epic meltdown, including The Chargers. But, it’s already hard enough figuring this out, without going down that road.


What we have going for us: If we can split the Denver & Kansas City games, we host 3 out of the 4 non-division games on the schedule. Only the Bengals are above .500 right now with 6 wins. The Dolphins have 4 wins, The Raiders have 3 wins, and The Giants have 2 wins. We are lucky that we host the Bengals, who are the best team of the bunch. They also lost their best defensive player (nose tackle Gino Atkins) to a torn ACL on Thursday night. Not to mention, Miami exposed their offense, holding them to just 20 points in an overtime victory. If we are going to play any of those guys on the road, I’m glad it isn’t Cincy.

As for Denver, maybe we can take advantage of the fact that their first game back from the bye is being played in our stadium, and without their head coach. Jack Del Rio will now take over for the ailing John Fox. Del Rio was a head coach in Jacksonville, but it could play a role in the game. Especially, if they make a few coaching mistakes here and there. It’s not much of an advantage, but one can hope that it throws off the Broncos defense enough to cost them the game. Peyton Manning is hard to stop, so we can pray that we can keep their defense on the field, and tire them out. We need to keep Manning on the sideline, and control the clock, like we WERE doing extremely well before Sunday (I am looking at you, Ken Whisenhunt).

Kansas City is going to be a tough match up, as well. They are on an unprecedented winning streak, as we all know. But, they haven’t exactly gone up against any teams that have their quarterback playing at a pro-bowl level, like Philip is playing. Their defense is on point this season, but they have only faced one QB that can beat them with his arm. We will meet them in week 12 at thunderous Arrowhead Stadium, and will at least have a shot at testing their defense. It is a scary thought, when you look at how their defense is forcing turnovers, and getting sacks. But, if the Chargers we have seen in our victories against Indy & Dallas show up, this is a very winnable game. We would also get the next two games at home. Furthermore, if we fared well during this rough streak of games, we would have home field advantage in week 17, when the Chiefs come to Qualcomm. The Chiefs might sit their starters, having already clinched the division title by then. If they don’t, at least we can smash them in the mouth in front of the home crowd.

Well, that is the best I can do to muster some hope that we might still make the playoffs. This is as scotch-taped a scenario as DX’s knees. But, in week 10, it would be foolish for the Chargers to throw in the towel. They have a long & hard road to the playoffs from here, and only have themselves to blame for it. However, this is the NFL, and anything can happen. Just ask Tim Tebow. The Chargers must persevere, or they will be watching the playoffs from their couches. I have always been a glass half full kind of guy, so I still believe they can pull it off. I know a lot of you are chuckling at me. But, isn’t setting one’s self up for major disappointment the Charger way? One more year doesn’t really make much difference, does it? Actually, don’t answer that. Just vote in the poll below.

Keep Bolting Toward Excellence!

Peter Thompson                       


Will The Chargers Still Make The Playoffs?

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Tags: San Diego Chargers

  • RussinSactown

    In order to make it our secondary has to start playing lights out. I am more likely to say we build to next year.


    If we lose next weeks game our season is over

    • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

      See.. I already have a Denver loss, maybe two penciled in. If we lose to Miami, we are likely done.

    • Gunnar Martin

      I know I’m just getting my hopes up again, but the chips seem to be falling in our favor so far for this first matchup. With Fox out, Julius Thomas nursing an ankle sprain, home field advantage, etc., I’m starting to get optimistic. Plus division games can always go one way or the other (cough Oakland cough). All I hope for is that they won’t build a lead and have another epic collapse.

  • Gunnar Martin

    Hey Pete, can you put in a “Maybe” option in the poll for those of us who know they’ll let us down by exactly one game (after losing their last game of the season, in ultimate Charger fashion), but still want to be optimistic? That’d be great.

    • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

      I had a “maybe” option, but deleted it. It defeats the purpose of the question, to a degree. This way, you are forced to come to terms with your psychotic fandom.

      • Gunnar Martin

        Haha I know, I was just kidding. For what it’s worth, I voted for the enthusiastic “Yes!!!”

        • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

          I know you did. You never disappoint, Gunnar.

  • Cgoodness13

    If we were a NFC team I’d say fo show, but it’s to iffy here in the AFC, and I want to see KC go up against a decent QB before I even think they are decent

  • TheReturnOfMrBlanks

    Until we can beat the tar out of bad teams I’m going to say no, we are a complete draft and FA signing period way from having a true playoff contender & a team that has actual depth. Sure we can win some games when we hog the ball all to ourselves and run & pass but the play calling and defense is killing us.

    • C.Steele

      Don’t Forget about coaching changes… I’m thinking both coordinators are up for evaluation.. !!#GoBolts!

  • Alex Pitrofsky

    The Chargers should be 7-1, but they’re not.

  • 619chargers4life

    Nine times out of ten I try to stay positive and very optimistic . Maybe I’m still butt hurt from yesterday but I’m going to say no . So so sad !!!

  • Daryl Peek

    Tuff, tuff tuff! My heart keeps hope alive but the reality of the task is daunting. This loss was devastating because the field came back during our bye! I said a few weeks back we could afford to lose two games and still get in. The Skins and Giants were the teams because of the Conference losses we already had. That still holds true but we’ve got to handle ours.

    Every game is a must win starting Sunday. I’m just so pissed cause 5-3 looks so sweet right now!

    • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

      Just ask the Jets how sweet… and they DON’T have an MVP caliber QB.

      • Daryl Peek

        The Titans are the team to watch. They have the head to head on us and a better conference record.

  • Pablo Reyna

    Even after the texans meltdown the titans Hail Mary and the redskins goal line fail I still think the Chargers still have a few new ways to lose this year!

  • ECAVILLE/Ace of Spades

    This team could pull it off. Very slight adjustments needed. Hard headed thinking needs to be overcome in the red zone. Coaches need to step their game up a bit. They almost have this team over the hurdle. Find the solution Coach McCoy!

    • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

      Awesome comment!

  • Michael

    If they can’t punch it in First and goal , 2 TIME OUTS, 30 seconds togo,,,,,, they ddon’t deserve to go…….


    Put LaDarius Green and Ryan Mathews in the game more.
    Stop overusing Woodhead, we have a lot of weapons and we need to use them right!

    Don’t do stuff like bench Derek Cox for Johnny Patrick.

    • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

      I was with you until the Cox Patrick part. There was literally no drop off whatsoever. At least Patrick will tackle a running back without being forced to. Occasionally blitz. Cox has been useless in every phase of the game. He’s a prissy, overpaid #6 CB.

      • CALiFORNiAkiD

        Do a better job of coaching.
        We need Derek Cox…That’s probably the first time he ever got benched in the NFL.
        You just don’t do that, playing with confidence is a big part of the game.
        Will see how he responds.

        • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

          Hopefully he responds better than Meachem did.. hahaha.

    • Gunnar Martin

      I absolutely agree that they are overusing Woodhead. Gotta use your toys right. And gosh dang it, put in Mathews!!!

  • I_Bleed_Powder_Blue_801

    this glass was never half full…they will not make post season…..hate it, but that’s what my 2cents r…

    • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

      Awww, C’mon D. You know that is just the disappointment talking. I’ll see you on the open thread on Sunday ; )

      • I_Bleed_Powder_Blue_801

        u shall PT…Coaches need to own the stank of that last one, but I don’t c that….fingers crossed…..

  • Stan Zab

    Well lets see…

    *Toughest remaining schedule in the NFL. Check
    *Losses to the Raiders, the Redskins and the Texans. Check
    *No confidence in your O-line (obviously). Check
    *No pass rush or secondary to speak of. Check

    I can keep going but I’ll stop there. I’ll stick to what I’ve been saying since before preseason. 7-9 best case scenario. I wont lie though, this team could have EASILY been 7-1 if not for some ridiculous decisions along the way. Too bad.

    • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

      Too soon?

    • John Alton

      I agree with you about everything except the O-Line. I have been a bit more generous with an 8-8 finish. This is not a playoff team. The defense is not up to the task. In all of there losses it was the defense that failed each time.

      • Pels04

        I think he was speak more to the fact of the coaches not trusting the OL. Which i agree with. That was obvious in the play calling at the end of regulation

  • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

    Is this a good time to remind people that Bolt Beat’s Super Awesome Staff Writer’s ChargerGirl Cindi & David O’Rourke will be hosting a Bolt Beat Tailgate @ J-1 in the Qualcomm parking lot for the Denver Broncos home game? I think so. Come flash your Bolts! We will be hosting one at the Giants game too! Holla!!!!

  • Alter Ego

    I’m not willing to throw in the towel for anything.
    The Skins got a great win – we suffered an awful loss…such is the NFL.
    I think your article is a bummer…bury your head by yourself.
    I will stand with my team til the end.

    • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

      Luckily, I don’t care what you think. But you already knew that.

  • Tazzster

    It depends which team shows up… the one that play Indy or the one that played Oakland.

    This week, we definatly did not look like a team that had an extra week to prepare. There were times we looked suprised and lost.

  • philiprules

    Until the Charger red zone play calling makes a dramatic improvement, and with McCoy refusing to second guess the awful play calling (like isn’t that your job when things are obviously not working you dumbass?), I have to vote no. They are not going to win much with the remaining schedule by kicking field goals.

  • 1961 Fan

    From day one they did not have the team. Rivers, Woodhead, Allen & Gates has held the offense together.
    Weddle and (when healthy) Butler and Johnson have played well. Novak can still zero in on field goals but the rest (or most) of the others suck. Sucking as in Wisenhut’s play calling on the goal line. The Bolts should be 5-3; instead of going 4-5 after the Broncos game. Perhaps my Chargers will play to an upset as they once “owned” Manning with the Colts in years past.

  • tubbs45

    We seem to have no problem beating good teams. So, if that trend continues we shouldn’t have a problem. But, damn it if you are on the one with the game on the line, 4 downs to go and 2 time outs. Play to win the game on the road. Run Mathews or McClain behind clary and Fluker…

    • Pels04

      Ha. Totally thinking the same thing. We beat the good teams so if that continues then we will finish out the season going 6-2 putting us at 10-6 and a wildcard spot. Sounds good to me!

  • tubbs45
    • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

      Lol.. That is freakin’ awesome!!!

    • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

      Yo Tubbs… Check this kitty video on youtube… pretty friggin funny.. lol.

      • tubbs45

        LOL HAHAHAHAHAHAHA that is classic!

        • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

          “I’m her Mom… No she’s not”… “I have to go potty… psssssss”… hahaha.

  • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

    Don’t forget to check out my facebook page, for upcoming articles & information!