The 2021 season did not go completely as planned for the LA Chargers. While the team made strides in the right direction, they ultimately still missed the playoffs with a 9-8 record after losing to the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 18.
At the end of the day, though, the 2021 season served as a potential launching off pad for the franchise. Brandon Staley instilled a new culture and the old Chargers way finally seemed to subside. With a massive offseason, the 2022 Chargers are one of the most talented teams on paper and are geared up for a deep run.
This is because the front office fixed some of the defensive woes on the team. The defense is ultimately what held the Bolts back last season as the Chargers had one of the best offenses in the entire sport.
In fact, the 2021 Chargers did something on offense that hadn't been done since the 2007 undefeated New England Patriots.
Rich Hribar of Sharp Football Analysis recently broke down each team's red-zone success from the 2022 season and how often they got into the red zone as well. The Chargers ran the most red-zone plays in the league, the second-most players from inside the 10 and reached the red zone the most of any team in the league.
The Bolts reached the red zone 44.79% of the time last season. That is what happens when you have an aggressive head coach and an elite quarterback. The craziest part about this number is that it didn't just lead the league last season but it leads the entire league since the turn of the century.
That is right. The 2021 Chargers have the highest red-zone rate of any team since the year 2000. The previous record-holder? The 2007 Patriots. For those who do not recall, that Patriots team went 16-0 and marched to the Super Bowl only to get bested by the New York Giants.
If that does not prove how much the defense held the Chargers back last season then nothing truly will. As frustrating as this is to learn in hindsight, it should make fans even more excited for the 2022 season.
Why? The Chargers added more talent to the defensive side of the ball than any team in the league this offseason. And better yet: the Bolts also got better offensively as well. If that is not the sign of a Super Bowl contender, I do not know what is.