The past 12 weeks for the Los Angeles Chargers are proof enough that the team is capable of making a run in the playoffs; after all, 6-1 record on the road (if you count the London game as an away game), boasting a top ten offense and defense, and coming off a historic victory against an AFC powerhouse all point to Super Bowl contention.
However, for as good as this team has been, they’ve been almost equally lucky.One simply has to look at the remaining schedule to see how fortunate the Bolts are becoming.
After perennially being lauded as one of the most injury-ravaged teams in the NFL, the Chargers now have a chance to be the “healthier” team facing diminished rosters, due to either significant injuries or moves within the organization. Some include:
- Week 14 vs Bengals: QB Andy Dalton (thumb) and WR A.J. Green (toe) out for the season
- Week 15 at Chiefs: RB Kareem Hunt released from the team
- Week 16 vs Ravens: QB Joe Flacco losing job to Lamar Jackson (it appears)
- Week 17 at Broncos: CB Chris Harris Jr. (leg) and WR Emmanuel Sanders (Achilles) out for the season
Some are clearly more significant than others, but it does pave the way for the Chargers to have a few potentially easy wins. The Cincinnati Bengals, this week’s opponent, were once 4-1 atop the AFC North. Now at 5-7 and without two of their most important players, they’re no longer that same threat. Each of the preceding injuries make the job of Anthony Lynn and the rest of his coaching staff that much easier.
The Chargers appear to be one of the healthier teams in the league with injuries to positions filled by depth, much to the credit of general manager Tom Telesco. Rather than losing their star players at this key point in the season, the Bolts got back superstar defensive end Joey Bosa and are potentially awaiting the return of ball magnet, tight end Hunter Henry. It’s as lucky as a team can expect to be at this point in the season.
But this good fortune can be attributed to more than just the health of the team and its opponents. Throughout 2018, the Bolts have been beneficiaries of some advantageous moments that have propelled them to their 9-3 start:
- 2018 NFL Draft: Saftey Derwin James falls to the team at 17.
- Week 6: The Chargers’ false start on offense, it goes uncalled, touchdown Tyrell Williams. Not that they needed it, though.
- Week 7: The Tennessee Titans decide to go for two points down 20-19 to the Chargers and lose.
- Week 13: Two missed calls on the Chargers propel team to win over Steelers
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As much as the Sunday night collapse can be attributed to a bad choke from the Steelers, the Chargers were undoubtedly fortunate to have some non-calls go their way.
Despite having multiple penalties favor the Steelers, the Bolts came away with two huge touchdowns from wide receiver Travis Benjamin and punt returner Desmond King due to lack of a false start call and a missed block in the back, respectively.
Do the Chargers fans care one bit? Nope. At least, they don’t mind having a few breaks finally go their way for once. Two years removed from having a 0.0000034 percent chance of losing the four games they actually ended up losing, the Bolts are back with luck swinging their way.