Turnovers: The good overall performance of the special teams (blocked punt, amazing placekicking by the punter Ty Long) was spoiled by Desmond King’s uncharacteristic crucial fumble on a punt return.
King took his eyes off the ball and it went through his arms like he was back in Pop Warner. When surrounded by incoming defenders, why not fair catch it? Desmond, when everyone is looking for you to make a game-changing play, make sure it’s not that kind of game-changing play.
Including the endzone interception, the Chargers ended up down two in turnovers. That normally reflects a loss.
The Chargers deserved to lose.
Last season, the Chargers lost a very winnable home game against the Denver Broncos and that loss effectively made them fall short of winning the division, which took away a bye week to rest and prepare for the playoffs – which, after the pasting by the New England Patriots, they evidently could have used.
A loss would have likely happened today, if not for the implosion of the greatest kicker of all time, Vinatieri.
The decline of the great is not always slow, sometimes, like a great tree in a windstorm, it is a sudden, irrevocable fall. For example, just a day prior, in the U.S. Open Women’s tennis final against Canadian teenage phenom Bianca Andreescu, the female GOAT, Serena Williams, could not get it done. In the Chargers vs. Colts opening game, Vinatieri stumbled repeatedly, like a racehorse with a broken forelock. And you know how that story ends. Perhaps the kickers’ GOAT just had an off-day. But if he has one more off day this season, the vultures will start circling overhead.
The ugh-ly truth
The Chargers didn’t win ugly. They won lucky. Vinatieri left seven points on the field.
It wasn’t just the Colt’s (Andrew) luck that had run out on them. If that elderly Vinatieri was his old self, the Chargers would never have gotten to overtime and the win. The Chargers would have lost a crucial and winnable game in the very first game of the season.
The Bolts almost pre-maturely spent their margin-of-error toward winning the AFC West divisional crown — and a playoff bye.
The Chargers won lucky.
And luck runs out.
The best news
The Bolts won’t need luck to tame the Lions next week in Detroit. They will win the turnover battle, stiffen the run defense, and somewhat improve the wobbly pass protection.