Sailing into the half-way point of the regular season, the Los Angeles Chargers are already almost sunk. Should fans abandon hope for 2019 and bail out, or bail water? Below are three possible scenarios.
First, what we already know.
The past shrinks the future
No one can be blamed for putting in a “sell order” on the Chargers after their “stock “plummeted from successive terrible performances. In fact, one could have toe-tagged the Chargers as dead weeks ago. At the least, they should have been 3-4 now – if not for an offensive lineman getting a false start penalty calling back Melvin Gordon‘s last-minute touchdown. If not for Gordon fumbling on the goal line; if not for Gordon staring dully at a live backward pass that became a scoop and score for the opponent. Their start has squandered their end.
Injuries are not excuses. They have lost four winnable games, and are setting a low-water mark for turnovers in goal-to-go situations: FIVE already, with nine games to go.
I wrote in my preseason predictions that the Chargers must win their division to get to the Super Bowl, and could not afford to lose an easily winnable game like they did last year when they bumbled away a win against Denver. After seven games this season, they have already lost four games to inferior teams (the Houston Texans earned their win), and several games were literally fumbled away. How does Philip Rivers stand it?!
We know there is an offensive smell around the team, and it comes from the most offensive line the Bolts have produced in decades. Head Coach Anthony Lynn stated that this is the offensive line that the Bolts are going to play with for the rest of the season.
Why can’t the coaches see what almost every fan sees in the offensive line?
Management has Sunk Money Syndrome.
In business, some leaders cannot let go of bad investments. They keep pouring money into a sinking ship because they want their original decision to be proven right. They want to justify themselves.
The Chargers coaching staff has vouched for this offensive line, one of the worst in the league. It told management that Sam Tevi, Dan Feeney, and Trent Scott would improve fast enough to succeed this season.
In the same way, coaches feel compelled to use Gordon when he is a) is not ready and b) cannot remember that ball security is everything at the goal line and c) torpedoed his own ship in a fruitless contract stand that competes with General Custer’s last stand.
Three Sink-or-Swim Scenarios
The worst-case Scenario:
Each returning starter will be hamstrung by more key players going down. The Chargers sink to 5-11, and the coaches face walking the plank. Gordon leaves (for less money than what the Chargers offered last July), and no one in management will admit that he should have been traded in August for a stud offensive lineman.
The sensible scenario:
The Chargers get Derwin James, Okung, Melvin Ingram and other starters back. Lynn, facing a mutiny, backs off his run-first ideology. And the defense and offense find another gear. And the Chargers start stringing wins together… and it’s too late:
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Chargers go 9-7 and miss the playoffs. Coaches get one more year. Tom Telesco has a lot of explaining to do. The rock, All-Pro quarterback Rivers, talks frankly to ownership. And maybe “Big Daddy” Rivers even uses words beyond dadgum, golly and gosh.
The best-case scenario: If, If, If…
As they have only played one divisional game to date, the Chargers can still win their division. If the Kansas City Chiefs hit another rough patch. If the Bolts beat Denver, and if they sweep the unpredictable Oakland Raiders. If the Chargers go 8-1 here-on-in, they should win the division on a head-to-head tiebreaker —IF they beat Kansas City twice. (And if Elvis is alive?)
While almost everyone is abandoning ship, I’m not putting in a sell order. I’m buying in. The heart has its reasons the mind cannot know.
If the Chargers lose Sunday against da Bears, then hang me from the yardarm, mateys. And listen to the lonely sound of Rivers’ biological clock ticking down to midnight.
IN COMMENTS, please predict the Chargers’ final record for this regular season.