The Los Angeles Chargers are coming off the bye week to face the Seattle Seahawks in Week 9. How have they fared in recent years in their first game back from the bye? Well, it is not a glamorous track record.
It is a time to re-charge and re-energize for any NFL team. The bye week gives clubs a chance to evaluate how their season is going, recover from any lingering injuries, and plan how they will attack the next chapter of the campaign.
Some teams and coaches thrive in their first game off the bye week, while others come out lethargic and underperform. The Chargers had their break in Week 8 and return to action in Week 9 against the Seahawks in the noisy confines of CenturyLink Field. And history shows the Bolts are not the sharpest club in their return to action.
Since the 2008 regular season, the Chargers hold a 4-6 record in their opening game off the bye week, which includes a 2-3 mark over the last five seasons. Oddly enough, they have improved since 2013, as they went 1-4 from 2008-2012.
Last season, the Chargers lost a nailbiting 20-17 game to the Jacksonville Jaguars on the road at TIAA Bank Field. This match saw Chargers running back Austin Ekeler record 10 carries for 42 rushing yards to go along with five catches for a team high 77 receiving yards.
L.A.’s last win off the bye week came in 2016 when they defeated the Houston Texans 21-13 in Texas. The Chargers’ defense snagged three interceptions against former Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler. Veteran Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers molded a solid performance together, as he tossed three touchdowns and one interception off of 242 passing yards. He completed 73 percent of his passes.
The Chargers most lopsided post-bye week loss since 2008 came at the hands of the Kansas City Chiefs in 2015 in a 33-3 defeat. Rivers and company amassed just 201 yards of offense in that divisional affair at Arrowhead Stadium. Former Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith completed 20-of-25 passes in his carving up of the ‘Bolts secondary.
Over the previous 10 seasons, the Chargers have been inconsistent in their return match off the bye week. But there is one encouraging sign for the Bolts heading into their Week 9 tilt with the Seahawks.
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Since 2013, the Chargers win-loss pattern in the last five games of this nature goes as follows: loss, win, loss, win, loss. If this trend continues against Seattle, the Bolts will walk out of CenturyLink Field with their sixth win of 2018.
Is looking at this pattern wishful thinking? Quite possibly. But if there is a game that will break the trend, it is the one on Sunday against the Seahawks. Led by dynamic quarterback Russell Wilson, the ‘Hawks have snuck their way into the NFC playoff picture with a much improved rushing offense and strong defense, the bread and butter of any Pete Carroll-coached squad. This all comes after alleged in-house turmoil overshadowed their offseason
Furthermore, Seattle’s rabid football fans are going to be deafeningly loud like they always are. This will also be the Seahawks first home game since the passing of team owner Paul Allen, so the host side will surely play with some extra emotion. Expect the Chargers to go 4-7 since 2008 in their first game off the bye.