Chargers’ Loss to Hawks Shouldn’t Hamper 2014 Expectations


Aug 15, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; San Diego Chargers cornerback Shareece Wright (29) and Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Phil Bates (88) exchange words during the first half at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

The San Diego Chargers faced the Seattle Seahawks Friday in what was a night to forget.

With the first half coming to a close, I  tweeted, “I wish I could get back the last hour and fifteen of my life.” It was words of frustration. With my hand on the remote itching to change the channel, I remembered what had happened the year before.

Let us go back in time to the 2013 NFL preseason (cue time machine effect). In Mike McCoy’s debut as head coach, the Seahawks came to town and dominated the Chargers, 31-10. This was coming after a dreadful 2012 season where Rivers was sacked 49 times and change was imminent.

Then week two of preseason came, as the Chargers traveled to Chicago to take on the Bears.

“Same old for the Chargers,” NFL Network’s Shaun O’Hara said after the game. “They cannot protect Philip Rivers.”

He was right. After six up-and-down years and three playoff trips with Norv Turner , Rivers was getting acclimated to McCoy’s new scheme. It involved getting the ball out of his hands a lot quicker than what he was used to. Then came what actually needed to be fixed: the offensive line. The line did not hold up well at all against the Bears’ defense. They constantly harassed Rivers, forcing him to throw an interception and get sacked from the blindside, which resulted in a fumble recovery for cornerback Major Wright.

It seemed as if there was a recurring theme that hindered above us: the Chargers are years away from being a playoff-caliber team. As I watched that game, my friend (who’s team is the Dolphins) said to me with a smirk, “The Chargers aren’t going anywhere this year.”  I uttered back, “We’ll see. It’s only preseason.”

I think I can vouch for everyone that those first two preseason games lowered any expectations we might have had going into the 2013 season. We turned our heads in disappointment and wondered if anything even changed. Experts were saying the Chargers did nothing to improve their line but reach for D.J. Fluker in the draft.

Now let us fast forward to November 2013.

Look at that. A team who played below average in the preseason, predicted to finish 7-9 at best (6-10 at worst), was now a team experts believed could take the final Wild Card spot.

Now it’s 2014. The second preseason game has passed and many have begun to jump to conclusions. Yes, the effort was not there which ticked off a lot of fans, but this scenario we find ourselves in is all too familiar. We have witnessed this before; it is not anything new.

With that being said, let’s not take away what occurred. The defense is not on the same page, and there are weak spots in the defensive line. We need to see better performances from our defensive ends and tackles, because if they can’t hold down the line, the rest of the defense will falter. Second-year pro Manti Te’o looked like he was playing a second behind, and the outside linebackers were over-pursuant in attempting to sack Russell Wilson. Also, a blown coverage by  Marcus Gilchrist/Donald Butler in which led to a 37-yard catch by tight end Zach Miller cannot happen. As for the refs..there will always be bad calls. The Chargers need to make sure they can get passed that and continue momentum.

This team has the talent. As long as they fix these mistakes and pay attention to detail, they will go further than they did last season.

Even the bad can be turned into a positive. There is no “right” or “wrong” answer to last night’s performance. In Peter Thompson’s article, he wasn’t being pessimistic or negative, he was saying what he–and everybody else–saw: the Chargers played awful. That’s perfectly okay.

What I’m saying is that you can look past it. I’m not being optimistic. I’m being a realist. I won’t give up on this team until season’s end and neither should you.