Being a fan of the LA Chargers is brutal. There was a great run there in the mid-to-late 2000s where the Chargers were one of the best and most entertaining teams in the entire sport. But even those years ended in disappointment.
The last decade has been rough for the Bolts with just two playoff berths. Yet year after year the Chargers put together what looks like a really talented team on paper only for it to come crashing down in a clamity of errors.
That is the sentiment right now for just about every Chargers fan, who watched the team lose an ugly game to the Las Vegas Raiders on Week 13 that puts a huge dent in the team's playoff chances. This is a game that has drawn out a lot of emotion as there certainly were a lot of observations to make.
x observations from the Chargers loss to the Raiders:
1. Justin Herbert is an alien.
That is all. This guy is special. Justin Herbert makes throws that very few players in the league can make and when everything else is going bad, the Chargers are still in a game that they did not deserve to be in because they have one of the best in the entire sport under center. At least Chargers fans have that.
2. The Chargers need to run Joshua Kelley more
Justin Herbert was being pressured at an absurd rate with four of his five starters missing on the offensive line. Joe Lombardi did him absolutely no favors, especially considering he ignored what could have helped the most.
The one decision that I could not get behind was the lack of running the ball, especially with Joshua Kelley. Kelley averaged 4.3 yards per carry and has been the best guy running the ball this season. The team really could have used him on the second-to-last drive to give Austin Ekeler a break and run the ball on first down.
3. Keenan Allen's smack talk came back to bite
Keenan Allen called the Raiders' secondary barbequed chicken in the days leading up to this game and that does not look great in hindsight. While he was on the receiving end of the massive Herbert touchdown and his overall numbers were decent, he could not get open in key spots in this game when Herbert needed him to. And he was being manned up. And it often wasn't with Nate Hobbs.
4. Joshua Palmer has it
Joshua Palmer came up big on third down several times in this game and over the last month-plus, he has really blossomed as a wide receiver for the Chargers. This is still a unit that needs speed but it is hard not to like the future of Palmer in LA.
5. The Chargers were insane not to double Davante Adams
The Chargers' defense did a relatively decent job in the game even though they let up 27 points. The one glaring area where they struggled was slowing down Davante Adams, which is the same problem that they had in the first matchup between these two teams.
With virtually every other starting pass-catcher hurt for the Raiders, it is really hard to justify why the Chargers left Adams one-on-one as often as they did. They did the same thing with Travis Kelce and spoiler alert: Kelce killed them. This is poor coaching.
6. The Chargers absolutely have to draft a safety in the top 50 in the 2023 NFL Draft
Nasir Adderley isn't very good. Plain and simple. We have seen too many examples of this being the case throughout his rookie deal and there is no reason to re-sign him after this season. The Chargers are going to pick in the teens and they are going to have to draft a safety in the first two rounds. It is a legitimate issue.
7. Of course Jerry Tillery and Chandler Jones have good games
Jerry Tillery made more of an impact in the Chargers' first drive then he maybe ever made in a single drive of his entire Chargers career. But then again, that it what happens when you are playing with your preseason offensive line.
Chandler Jones also made the Chargers pay. Jones has been bad this season, is still over the hill as a pass-rusher but did a good job of making the most of this matchup. At least it will get Raiders fans' hopes up just so he can let them back down again.
8. It is going to take a miracle to make the playoffs
Ten wins. It is going to take 10 wins to get into the playoffs as an AFC team. The Chargers are now 6-6. They have to finish 4-1 in order to make it and it is going to take a miracle. On paper, the Chargers should be able to win their last three games of the season against the Colts, Rams and Broncos.
However, that is assuming that they win all of those games, which knowing the Chargers, might not even happen. Even if they do, it is really hard to see them beating either the Dolphins or the Titans over the next two weeks. They essentially have to win both games and it is more likely that the season is over by Christmas.
9. And finally... Keenan Allen should have gotten a penalty marker.
Keenan Allen was tackled in the biggest spot of the game before the pass was even thrown. No flag. But let's not forget the soft holding penalty the refs called on Derwin James on a key third down two weeks ago against the Chiefs.