The Los Angeles Chargers, as they have done relentlessly over the last few years, gave away a game we would all agree “they should have won”.
It is a phrase we use all too commonly in order to rationalize these agonizing defeats. But I think we are giving them way too much credit. The reality is, they did not win, they did not deserve to win and had no business beating the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday. It is time to say it like it is, the Chargers are not a good football team and they are certainly not a playoff team.
For starters, Melvin Gordon was ineffective and essentially nonexistent throughout the entirety of the game. Austin Ekeler was the lone bright spot on the day, however, he put the ball on the ground which is unacceptable when you are trying to close out a game.
Ultimately, it did not affect the outcome of the game, but it can certainly be blamed for a swing of momentum. He is a rookie however, and deserves some slack. He was the reason the Chargers were in the game in the first place.
Hunter Henry remains on the outside looking in, in terms of the game plan on offense. This makes no sense to me, or to anyone who has been a lifelong Chargers fan. Philip Rivers has thrived over the years targeting his favorite receiver in Antonio Gates. They draft Henry to fill the void of an aging Gates and they refuse to include him. That blame primarily falls on Ken Whisenhunt.
To make matters worse, the special teams allows the Jaguars to run a fake punt that is not only successful in picking up the first down, but that is taken to the house for six. The Jaguars ran the same exact play earlier in the season so there is no excuse for this. Another failure of coaching and preparation.
While the defense has been the strong suit of this team, they made a number of crucial mental errors. First, after the second interception of Blake Bortles in the last two minutes of regulation, Tre Boston foolishly did not attempt to return it back and instead ran out of bounds. Given the conservative nature of the offense, we all knew this meant a three-and-out that would give Jacksonville the ball back with plenty of time to tie the game up with favorable field position.
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Another defensive error was the roughing the passer penalty on Joey Bosa. He was excellent all game, and has been excellent all year, but it was completely unnecessary and unacceptable to throw Bortles to the ground in that situation. We cannot overlook mistakes like this anymore. The Chargers must be held accountable on every play if we ever want to see them improve.
The previous article I wrote was much more optimistic. I was beginning to feel a sense of confidence in this team. With the way the AFC is looking, it appeared that a playoff spot was not too far out of reach. It has become increasingly clear however, that the Chargers do not belong within a thousand miles of the playoffs.
While I hold the players to a high standard, I also believe that a hefty majority of blame lies on the ownership. Leadership starts at the top and it is evident that Dean Spanos does not understand the first thing about leadership. He has been virtually inept in every aspect of owning this team and he continues to drive it into the ground.
Many are still trying to figure out what needs to happen in order for the Chargers to make the playoffs. In my opinion, that is a big waste of time. The Chargers are not going to have a winning season until the Spanos family sells, or is forced to sell, the team.
For those who still believe the playoffs are within reach, ponder this; Bortles threw the ball 51 times, threw two picks in the last two minutes of the game and the Chargers still found a way to lose. If that is not mediocrity, I am not sure what is.