Nobody on the LA Chargers seems to have an elite clutch gene.
The clutch gene. One of the most sacred things in sports that is not totally proven but every sports fan loves to cite. It is not something that every player has, either, as the truly clutch players are few and far between. Unfortunately, the LA Chargers do not have any of these players.
Ben Linsey of Pro Football Focus recently put out his All-Clutch Team using numbers from the 2019 season. Linsey analyzed data from the fourth quarter and overtime in one-score games to create the First and Second All-Clutch Team.
Nobody from the LA Chargers made the 2019 iteration of the team. This is the second time that Linsey has put together this team and the Chargers actually had some representation in the 2018 version. Keenan Allen and Russell Okung made the Second Team while Desmond King made the First Team.
This is not surprising in the slightest for two reasons. First of all, the Chargers only won five games, so that would indicate some poor performance down the stretch of games.
That is particularly true considering that the Chargers were in so many one-possession games this season. The team struggled in these one-possession games and also had a much larger sample size than other teams in the league.
A larger sample size means more opportunities to lower the “clutch” stats, which is exactly what the Chargers did.
What the LA Chargers can take from this list
There is one main takeaway that the LA Chargers can take from PFF’s All-Clutch list from the 2020 season and it has to do with a veteran free agent that every Charger fan seemingly wants the team to sign — Jason Peters.
Peters is viewed as an upgrade from Trey Pipkins at the left tackle position and he undoubtedly would be. Even if the team is confident in Pipkins as a starting NFL tackle, bringing in Peters for just one season not only improves the team now but gives Pipkins a veteran to learn the ropes under.
Of course, you could make the case that live reps are the best thing for Pipkins, and perhaps that is why the team has held off from signing Peters.
Where the correlation exists is the fact that Peters was named as the most clutch left tackle in the league last season. Despite his age, Peters had the second-highest overall left tackle PFF grade in 2019 and only allowed four pressures in 144 pass-blocking snaps (2.8 pressure percentage) in the fourth quarter of a one-possession game.
To compare, Pipkins allowed 15 pressures in 165 total pass-blocking snaps (9.1 pressure percentage) and that included “non-clutch” snaps as well.
For a team that had 11 of its 16 games decided by eight or fewer points, you think a stat like this would make Jason Peters an even more attractive free-agent signing.