It is safe to say that LA Chargers fans have already turned on head coach Brandon Staley. Despite making the playoffs last year and having a winning record as a head coach, fans are sick of the missed opportunities, the blown games and the horrible defense from a defensive-minded head coach.
Ironically enough, the team's Week 6 loss to the Dallas Cowboys was the first that didn't inherently fall on Staley. The defense played well enough and it was the offense that struggled with Justin Herbert under center.
That being said, Staley's defense still couldn't get a stop at the most critical point of the game in the fourth quarter. Los Angeles allowed several third and long conversions, allowing the Cowboys to drive into field-goal range and take the lead. This poor play on third down has officially become a trend for the Chargers and has been a big reason why the defense has struggled as a whole.
Staley was asked about his third-down defense in the game against Dallas and why the team couldn't get on the field. Instead of giving a detailed answer, Staley simply resorted to saying that the Chargers have one of the best third-down defenses in the sport. This, of course, sent Chargers fans into a frenzy.
Brandon Staley is making more enemies out of Chargers fans
Staley likely knew this question was coming and he had the ultimate trump card in his back pocket. Heading into this game, the Chargers had the third-best third-down conversion rate (as a defense) this season. After the game, the Chargers rank fourth.
Yes, by that statistic the Chargers are one of the best third-down defenses in the sport and that is a welcomed change considering how bad it was for the team in prior years. However, that one statistic does not tell the entire story.
While the Chargers seem to thrive in third and short situations, the team is absolutely terrible in third and long situations. According to Stathead, the Chargers have the second-worst conversion rate allowed on third and 10 or longer this season (30%). Only the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been worse.
Additionally, the Chargers have been downright awful on third down in key moments. The Chargers have allowed the team to convert 52% of their third-down attempts in the fourth quarter or overtime this season. That, once again, is the second-worst mark of any defense in the entire sport.
So while the overall number looks great on paper, the fact of the matter is that on third and long, or in key moments of games, the Chargers allow teams to extend drives more than almost any other team in the entire NFL.
But sure, keep falling back on that singular number that does not tell the entire story, Staley. That will definitely win the fanbase over. It definitely isn't winning football games.