The Los Angeles Chargers (11-4) blow their chances of clinching the AFC West division after struggling against the Baltimore Ravens.
In 2018, the Chargers have had their share of success in primetime football games. Saturday night’s defeat to the Ravens is likely to result in a fifth seed.
The Ravens smothered the Bolts right from the opening drive when Brandon Carr intercepted Philip Rivers. It was a bad day at the office for Anthony Lynn and his team but take nothing away from Baltimore, they were outstanding. John Harbaugh’s team is the first to hold the Chargers to fewer than 20 points in 2018.
The 198 net yards by the Chargers’ offense was their fourth-lowest total since Rivers became the starting quarterback in 2006. The last time they were held under 200 yards was Nov. 2, 2014, at Miami (178) via cbssports.com
Don Martindale’s defense is formidable. The Ravens put the game beyond the Chargers reach when Patrick Onwuasor recovered Antonio Gates’ fumble. Tavon Young then ran the ball 62 yards into the end zone.
It was that kind of a day. In light of the recent defeat is there any need to panic? The Lightning Round Podcast gave a summary of their thoughts on Twitter.
To me, the Chargers looked like the Norv Turner-coached Chargers tonight on offense. Seven step drop, hold the ball, try to push it down field even though it’s clear the OL can’t block the DL. They’ve been too reliant on big plays all year and it finally burned them.
— The Lightning Round Podcast (@Lightning_Round) December 23, 2018
Coach Lynn gave credit where it was due. He spoke to the media after the game.
“We got out-coached today, and we got out-played. We couldn’t get them off the field on defense, and we couldn’t stay on the field on offense. I thought special teams played pretty solid this evening. Our offense and defense – we got out-played, and we got out-coached. It’s just that simple. It’s a good football team. They came in here, and they beat us”.
The AFC West picture
The Chargers travel to Colorado next week for a divisional matchup against the Denver Broncos. The Kansas City Chiefs left the door open on Sunday night, losing to the Seattle Seahawks. Still, the AFC West title is in the hands of the Chiefs, they host the Oakland Raiders in the final game of the regular season.
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Week 17 selection conundrum
The Chiefs will clinch the division if they defeat the Raiders. Kansas City kicks off earlier than the Chargers in Week 17. Coach Lynn may know exactly how his team will be seeded prior to Sunday’s kickoff in Denver. Will we see a change in personnel if the Chargers have to be content with a fifth seed?
It’s a double-edged sword. Resting Rivers and the other pivotal Chargers players reduces the likelihood of missing the post season. However, starting Geno Smith under center doesn’t sound appetizing. Back-to-back defeats isn’t the best way to prepare for the playoffs.
Denver would love nothing more than to rub salt into the Chargers’ wounds, wrapping up a double over their divisional rivals. Rivers and company must regroup after a tough Week 16 defeat. It’s still all to play for, the season is very much alive.