Should we believe in these Los Angeles Chargers?

CARSON, CA - NOVEMBER 19: Keenan Allen
CARSON, CA - NOVEMBER 19: Keenan Allen /

Like most fans, I am wondering where this roller-coaster season of the Los Angeles Chargers will end.

I was certainly ready to get off the ride when they started 0-4. I could just distance myself from the season and watch from a far and not get too invested.

But then the Chargers being the Chargers decided to breathe some life into the season and won three straight. So when our interest was renewed and our hopes were high, they dropped two stinkers on us and we distanced ourselves from them and started pondering the draft.

Then came the Bills game and the continued collapse of the AFC West and the AFC in general. On Monday we looked at the standings and realized the Chargers are still in this thing. Heck, they could win the AFC West. The Broncos are a total train wreck and the wheels are coming off in both Oakland and Kansas City.

Playoffs? Playoffs? How far should we let our hopes carry us? Is this a playoff team?

I want to say the Chargers could be a playoff team but don’t expect them to go very far. I mean, they cannot compete with the Patriots and Steelers, right? Except they played a horrible game in New England and in Chargers fashion just snuck out of there with a loss. I don’t understand. This team has too many problems to compete at that level… don’t they?

After watching Sunday’s game against the Bills, these are the reasons that I came up with on why the Chargers will make the playoffs and contend:

Denzel Perryman is back. And he is a huge difference in that defense. Did you see the open-field tackle on Tyrod Taylor in the second half? No one on the Chargers’ D can make that play but Perryman.

Throwing the ball on 1st down. After nine games, coach Anthony Lynn appears to have realized that it is not against the rules to throw the ball on first and even second down. The Chargers’ offense looked a lot better throwing the ball to Keenan Allen instead of riding Melvin Gordon.

Keenan Allen is fantastic. I don’t know where Keenan has been, but he showed up big against the Bills. The Chargers need more of Allen if they are going to make a stretch run.

The Chargers converted third-and-1 twice on Sunday. This normally should not be a big deal, but the Chargers have struggled big time converting third-and-short, and that is big reason why the Chargers’ offense has been anemic in the first nine games. If they can keep this squared away, look for the Bolts to score a lot more.

A scoring defense? While we really cant expect the defense to score touchdowns every game,  how cool was it that they scored two on Sunday? If the defense continues to play aggressive and frenzied like they did against the Bills, they are going to wreak a lot more havoc on the league.

No dumb penalties. Dumb penalties have been a trademark for the Bolts through the first nine, but this element of their game disappeared on Sunday. Finally.

Clock management. Did you see Lynn put together a two-minute drill to end the half with a FG? Breakthrough game for Lynn.

Austin Eckler is special. That move on Hughes was video game like. This guy is Danny Woodhead improved.

Tyrell Williams played well. No drops and he leaped over a dude. Leaped … over … a dude … like he was a middle school track hurdler. Cool Stuff.

So for those of you saying, “but Tazz… but… but,” we have the following list, which is reasons why the Chargers won’t contend:

Special Teams. Nick Novak missed another FG. The kicker situation has been a disaster since Denver. Also, the Bills almost pulled off two onside kicks. The Chargers looked totally unprepared on how to handle an onside kick. On the second one, someone needs to call for a fair catch and get under the ball. Special teams coaching appears to be non-existent.

Tre Boston, the back peddler. Boston’s run defense is miserable. Twice on Sunday he back peddled away from LeSean ,McCoy and Taylor waiting for someone else to come up and make contact.

The dancing feet of Melvin Gordon. Hit the hole and go! Melvin is 10 times better when he hits the hole with authority. He is big enough and strong enough to move the pile if need be, but when he starts dancing, it’s over. Dancing = three-yard loss.

Red Zone Woes. The Chargers settled for a lot of field goals on Sunday.  A couple of these were drops in the endzone, but whatever it is you need to get it fixed because you need sevens, not threes, if you want to make the playoffs.

Run blocking is inconsistent. The offensive line has been improving but their lack of consistency leads to negative plays, and negative plays kill drives.

Mike Williams has been meh. We all keep waiting for that breakout game from this guy. Now, I am just hoping for at least a breakout play. He was given a jump ball in the endzone on Sunday and came away empty.