The LA Chargers are playing an extremely sloppy game against the Las Vegas Raiders and at the time of writing this, are trailing 20-14. With a 17-14 deficit in the third-quarter, Brandon Staley desperately tried to get the momentum to swing back in favor of his team and made easily the worst fourth-down coaching decision of his short career thus far.
The Chargers had a fourth and one from inside the Raiders' 20-yard line and went for it. The Chargers handed the ball off to Austin Ekeler and were stopped behind the line of scrimmage, turning the ball over on downs and giving the Raiders a very short field.
Luckily, the defense was able to keep the Raiders from picking up even a first down and held the Raiders' offense to a field goal to keep it from turning into a two-possession game. However, that does not change the fact that it was a horrible decision by Brandon Staley.
The decision to go for it at that point in the field is definitely bold, and quite frankly, the Chargers have won games because of that boldness this season. That is not what makes this his worst decision to date (although it does make it a questionable decision).
What made this such a bad decision was that Brandon Staley went completely against the entire reason why the Chargers go for it on fourth downs. Staley has said before that he makes these calls because he trusts the offense, and more importantly, trusts Justin Herbert to make a play. That's great and it makes sense. However, Herbert didn't do anything in this play. He simply handed it of to Austin Ekeler.
So the Chargers are going for it because of Herbert... but don't let Herbert make a play. Not even an RPO? At least let him make the decision! Instead, the Chargers took the play away from Herbert and the offensive line crumbled.
Chargers fans were not happy on Twitter.
Some fans brought up a good point, that Staley is not the one calling plays on offense, that duty goes to offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi, who has gotten a lot of flak from Charger fans this season.
Joe Lombardi does call the plays but if Brandon Staley is going to go for it in that situation then he has to be part of the play-calling decision. So there are two different lines of thinking. Staley was either not part of that play-calling decision, which is simply bad coaching if you are not going to contribute to a decision that big. Or he was part of the play-calling, and was fine with the Chargers running the ball... which is also bad coaching.