The Los Angeles Chargers lost a game that should not have been even close.
The fake punt? The whole game was a fake punt, as too many of the Chargers stood around. Or, worse than standing around, they lounged in beach chairs and sipped Chargeritas.
People blessed with the gift of prophecy are also often cursed, in that no one believes them until the prediction comes to pass:
I wrote after almost every game this season that penalties were going to be the difference in a game, and would bite the Chargers in the bolt.
Matt “Money” Smith said here that penalties have not been particularly an issue. On this issue, “Money” is passing counterfeit bills.
Team Penalty Ranking shows that, as of last week, in terms of penalties taken per game, Chargers rank 30th, third from dead last. And what team do you suppose is number one in earning the fewest penalties?
The New England Patriots. Let’s compare their playoff record with the Chargers — no, let’s not.
I’m not good at remembering team jersey numbers, except Philip Rivers’ number, and Antonio Gates, and other superstars. But I also know Jahleel Addae’s number 37. That’s because I so often see his number writ large on his back as he chases after running backs and wide receivers and chases after tight ends — and chases after the boat which he metaphysically misses most games. There was a lot of sloppy tackling against the Denver Broncos, but number 37 is getting regularly picked on by opponents.
To be sure, the Broncos played well, and Von Miller made a brilliant interception that changed the game. But beyond penalties there was also a general lack of focus.
FOUR FAILURES TO FOCUS
1. Tackling. Defenders did not want to pay the price of victory. They weren’t tackling, they were doing TSA pat-downs.
2. Pass Protection. Four sacks. The kind of pressure that creates interceptions.
3. The secondary playing so far back that they were in Oregon, thus they give up two huge receptions that allowed for a last second — killing — field goal. Bend but don’t… win?
4. Rivers throwing the ball away instead of taking the sack and keeping the clock ticking. The clock management of the coaching staff is right up there with the special teams circus.
The ugliest of the ugh, however, is the likelihood that the Chargers, as I predicted at the start of the season, will end 11-5 instead of 12-4. This loss to the Denver Hobby Horses will likely cost the Chargers the divisional championship, and put them on an incredibly difficult playoff path with zero home games
Wait! Aren’t all their games like road games?
And this one loss, this one winnable game, was fumbled, bumbled and dumbled away.
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My Bosa’s back and there’s gonna be trouble.
1. They have one more game to integrate Joey Bosa before they play against adults.
2. They have next week vs. Arizona to adjust to life A.D. (After Denzel) in run defense.
3. Melvin Gordon will figure out his right from his left.
4. The Chargers will finally devour a team, and the Cardinals are what’s for din-din.
The Chargers run up the score against Arizona and win by 20+ points.
Austin Ekeler is rediscovered. Keenan is “The Slayer”. Bosa goes on rampage mode, which frees up Melvin Ingram and the “Black Panther”, rookie Derwin James, to total four or more sacks.