Open Thread: Chargers Head East to Miami

By Peter Thompson

Nov 17, 2013; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; San Diego Chargers defensive end Sean Lissemore (98) sacks Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) during the second half at Sun Life Stadium. The Dolphins won the game 20-16. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Last Season, the Chargers went to Sun Life stadium, and were handed a crucial loss. They put up a measly 16 points, even though the defense kept the Dolphins to 16 points. The loss (at the time) meant that the Chargers were going to need a miracle to get into the playoffs. The Chargers got that miracle, as the Dolphins, Ravens, and Steelers all sputtered down the home stretch. The Chargers received another miracle in the final game of the season, from Kansas City Chiefs kicker Ryan Succop, putting them in the playoffs for the first time in three seasons.

This season, they can’t keep relying on miracles. They need to control their own destiny.

The Miami Dolphins have had the Charger’s number… plain, and simple. We have not won a game in Miami since the 80’s! I’m not sure if it is, but it has to be one of the longest streaks of not beating a team in the NFL… nor do I want to look that up. I know the Browns just beat the Steelers, so that one is done. All I know, is that it is time for this team to put the past behind them, and get rid of this baggage. That needs to happen today.

To say that this is a “must win game” would probably be premature. But, this game is just about as important a game as there is all season. The Chargers have managed to get off to a pretty decent start, despite two horrible performances over the last two weeks… three, if you count a narrow win over the win-less Raiders, where they let their rookie QB play like Tom Brady, notching a 4 TD game. The Miami Dolphins, once again, appear to be in the hunt for a wild-card spot, and the team that wins this game will hold the head-to-head tie breaker, should it come down to that.

Going into the bye week with a 6-3 record, owning the Miami tie-breaker, and being 5-2 in the conference would most definitely give this team a huge boost of confidence. Conversely, losing this game would sit in their stomach’s like a bad night at Taco Bell, after a bar crawl. It would also force them into having to play flawless football down the stretch, where they face the Ravens, the Patriots, the 49’ers, the Broncos, the Chiefs, the Raiders, and the Rams. Even the Rams and Raiders should not be overlooked. The Raiders hate us, and are probably going to beat somebody this season. The Rams have a great defense, and can upset the teams in their own division, on any given Sunday.

The Chargers can’t afford to lose this game! If they win today, they will have a chance to get some players back healthy, and will probably be 7-3 (if they beat the Raiders in San Diego). They would have a 6-2 conference record, and gain some ground with their divisional record, as they head into the meat & potatoes portion of their schedule. That is exactly where they need to be, as other teams start losing players to injury, and fatigue. The healthiest teams are usually the ones that play well down the stretch, and the Chargers seem to have gotten their injuries out of the way, and are now close to being back to 100%. This game will be the deciding factor of what our chances of making the playoffs will be.

The last time we went to Miami, their running backs took turns gouging us for 4-5 yards a play. The tackling was awful, and they didn’t even need 3rd downs. It was only taking two plays to move the chains. The few times they seemed to face 3rd & long, we gave up an easy completion. There is a lot of talk about the offensive line needing to play much better, which is true. But, if this defense can’t make some plays, and get off of the field on 2nd & 3rd down.. like last time… the offense won’t even get the chance. Ryan Tannehill can NOT be allowed to run free. Sean Lissemore needs to step up, get pressure up the middle, and stop the run at the point of the attack! This defensive front MUST stop the run. The secondary MUST keep Mike Wallace in check. They MUST find a way to get pressure on, and contain Ryan Tannehill. The season may depend on it.

If this is your first open thread here on Bolt Beat, please feel free to sound off in the comments section below. Take this opportunity to meet some of the awesome regulars on the site, discuss Charger Football, and cheer for our favorite team! Everyone’s perspective is respected in here, unless you are just a trouble-maker. We may not always agree, and we may get a little down about the team / performance. But, at the end of the day, we are all fans. We want to see the Chargers make the playoffs this season. We can agree to disagree on the points where we don’t see eye to eye. Overall, this is the best place to be on game day, so let’s all kick back, and enjoy the ride!!!!

Go Chargers!!!!!!! Show Miami that they are not going to control your destiny!