Wow, things certainly have not gone as expected for the Los Angeles Chargers this season.
Following a tough loss to the Oakland Raiders on Thursday night, the Chargers are sitting at 4-6 on the season and it seems like a stretch to consider them a playoff team at this point.
There are several reasons why the team hasn’t played up to expectations this season, so it’s hard to blame it on one thing. It’s tough to even come up with a place to start.
Philip Rivers is looking every bit of 38 years old. Rivers is among the most beloved players in team history, but many fans are reluctant to give him a pass at this point. It seems that if the team faces any sort of pass rush, Rivers eats a sack or makes a hurried throw. For evidence of this, just watch the Chargers’ final drive on Thursday night. A field goal would have won the game, but Rivers went 0-for-7 throwing the ball on the drive. The chains moved only due to a penalty against Oakland.
Still, many fans place blame on the offensive line, which has dealt with injuries to both tackle positions and starting center Mike Pouncey. The line could be a lot better, but would a younger, more athletic quarterback make a difference? That’s a fair question and the answer is almost certainly yes.
A more mobile quarterback could escape the pocket and make plays outside of it, something Rivers is never going to do. Because of Rivers’ diminishing skills, the line looks really bad.
Then there was the holdout of Melvin Gordon. The running back is finally beginning to hit his stride, but he did his team no favors by holding out for more money and his return was detrimental to the team’s chemistry at first. He also fumbled at the goal line late in the game against the Tennessee Titans, a play that hurts more and more with each loss.
The Chargers have six games remaining on their schedule and four of those will be against opponents from the AFC West. Many analysts expected the Chargers to contend for the division title and much more.
The staff here at Bolt Beat had high expectations as well. Take a look at these predictions that were made prior to April’s draft. Not one member of the staff had the Chargers finishing any worse than 11-5. Now, even if they won out, the best they could do would be 10-6.
Knowing what we know now, it’s time to take a look at the final six games and determine how this team might finish this season. You may want to do so with your Chargers glasses off though, as it won’t be nearly as favorable as those preseason predictions.