Everything was going right for the LA Chargers on Saturday night against the Jacksonville Jaguars... until it wasn't. After taking a 27-0 lead behind Asante Samuel Jr, the Bolts decided to allow the third-largest blown lead in NFL playoff history.
It was one of the most gut-wrenching losses in Chargers history. Chargers fans are used to dealing with horrible losses but it didn't help the pain of this loss. Fans have not felt this much pain since the Marlon McCree game against the New England Patriots. That is how you know it is bad. It is compared to that game.
It might be hard to realize in the moment but this loss — and the way it happened — might be the best thing for the Chargers long-term. There definitely is a bright side to this loss and knowing that can help fans cope with the pain.
This loss opens the door for the Chargers to hire Sean Payton.
Before the Wild Card Round, I would have told you that Brandon Staley did enough to secure his job next season. Even if the Chargers lost a hard-fought game, he navigated the team through countless injuries to be the top wild-card team in the AFC.
Obviously, allowing the third-largest blown lead in playoff history changes things. Playing Mike Williams six days before blowing a 27-0 playoff game also changes things. In six short days, Staley has done everything he can to be fired by the Chargers.
And thus, Sean Payton becoming the head coach of the Chargers is actually possible. That likely would not have happened if the Chargers would have held on and won this game, even with the extremely ugly second half.
Let's just say the Jaguars missed the game-winning field goal or didn't convert on fourth and one. The Chargers would have scraped by the Jaguars in ugly fashion only to likely lose to the Kansas City Chiefs or Buffalo Bills next week (if this happened against the Jaguars, there is no way the Chargers would have beaten those teams).
Because Staley made the playoffs and won a playoff game he would probably be safe. Payton would have had the opportunity to join another team and the Chargers would have likely just fired Joe Lombardi and called it a day.
In one world, the Chargers have just one playoff win and would give Staley a third season. In the real world, Dean Spanos and ownership may have had enough and will part ways with Staley, prompting the team to make its biggest splash since coming to Los Angeles.
At least there is that, Chargers fans.