The Chargers After 6 Games
By Michael Norton
Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Cautiously optimistic… A phrase every Charger fan knows well. We fans have been burned more than marshmallows at a sixth grader’s birthday party. So it is understandable that although we remain forever “all-in” with our team, it is well known that we’ve have had many years with good rosters, great potential, and high hopes. Charger fans approach each season like a tourist approaches the waves at the beach, with trepidation. We’ve been knocked on our ass before, so we tend to keep our mouths shut. We cringe because so many of our opponents’ fans have “the ring” argument stowed for the final coup d’état; the crushing blow that most Charger fans laugh off but secretly hate with such venom that we would gladly suffer through 10 years of Raider-like futility just for one stinking Super Bowl ring.
So as this current season began the mood was cautiously optimistic. Then the Arizona debacle happened and frankly that loss was as heart-wrenching as any loss historically because of the expectation of this season.
“Oh no, here we go again.” We played poorly and it took a myriad of mistakes to end up losing by a single point. Heck, any regrouping at all and we win an ugly game. Instead, a sour 18-17 loss reminded many Charger fans that we should temper our expectations.
Fast forward to the cusp of week 7.
The Chargers are, by more than one nationally syndicated publication, the number one team in the NFL. Most say at least top 3. Why? Because this team has done something that it typically doesn’t do: namely win trap games—games we are SUPPOSED to win. The Chargers tease us because they often beat the best teams and then stumble against the woeful teams. As we walked into the stadium for the Seahawk game, my buddy said, “Watch, these are the type of games we win.” Damn if he wasn’t right. Then, when the same buddy was preparing for the walk into the Jets game, “Even crappy Jets teams have a history of upsetting us in these trap games.” Thankfully, my buddy isn’t Nostradamus and that “prediction” failed to materialize.
Good teams win in different ways but the bottom line is that they WIN. That team in New England is 4-2 and is winning ugly for the most part. It is not the dynasty that NFL teams once feared, but it is still finding ways to get the “W.” A quick glance at the Bolts’ victories shows that we have won decisively (Jets and Jaguars), we have won tough battles (Seahawks and Bills), and we have won ugly (Raiders).
We didn’t exactly play poorly in the Raider game, but the defense has looked better and a few decisions– let’s just say– “didn’t work out as planned.” Our offense saved the day and we won in comeback fashion. And perhaps more than any game thus far, the Raider game gives us the confidence to win any game we are in.
I’m not quite ready to drop the “cautiously” in “cautiously optimistic,” but 5-1 does look pretty darned good at this point. Optimism runs rampant in Charger-ville and as players seem to be dropping like flies to injuries, the next guy up is stepping up and the Chargers are winning. Isn’t it good to be a Bolt fan?