Ty Long had a bad day at the office, missing two field goals for the Los Angeles Chargers. But blaming him is shortsighted of the larger picture.
The Chargers had an ugly game against the Detroit Lions in multiple areas. But many fans and analysts have come down on Long for his two missed field goals in the second half. The reality is that Long may be the least blameable Charger out there.
Long should have never been kicking, regardless of the injury to Michael Badgley. It was asking too much of the punter to kick and punt in the absence of a kicker. Badgley will be back next week per reports, but the Chargers should have gone out and found another kicker from the beginning. From the beginning, Long was in a position he should have never been in.
The Chargers also had two touchdowns called back on penalties, first from Justin Jackson and then Austin Ekeler. Those are likely game sealers if Sam Tevi and Dontrelle Inman don’t commit an illegal block in the back and an offensive hold, respectively. Speaking of Ekeler on the same drive, he ended up fumbling on what should have been an easy score. He has to protect that football.
Philip Rivers also had a below-average game by his standards. The throw intended for Keenan Allen that resulted in a Darius Slay game-ending interception was a huge mistake. Mike Williams was breaking open over the middle on the same play. Virgil Green also looked relatively open in the moment. Plus, Rivers overthrew Allen a few times on passes that should have been completed.
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The Chargers committed just three penalties for 20 yards last week vs. Indianapolis. This week? They had nine penalties for 70 yards. Being undisciplined will kill a team, especially on the road in important moments.
All of that cost the team Sunday before you even get to the injuries that keep piling up. Adrian Phillips, a pretty crucial part to the Chargers’ secondary especially without Derwin James, went down early in the fourth quarter with a forearm injury. Before the game even started, the team was down Hunter Henry, Russell Okung, Melvin Gordon, Trevor Williams, Michael Davis, Jatavis Brown, Badgley and James.
Long’s field goals were of makeable distance, but it doesn’t change the fact that he was in a position he should have never been in. Penalties, injuries, sloppy offense, and turnovers should draw the ire of fans before Long does.
The front office and coaching staff rolling the dice on Long and leaving it to a punter instead of getting a kicker in the span of this two-week injury to Badgley also deserve blame.