The LA Chargers and Denver Broncos both entered Week 3 of the 2023 season with an 0-2 record. One of the AFC West teams was able to climb out of that hole and win a close game. The other team allowed 70 points to the Miami Dolphins in what is the most embarrassing loss in quite some time.
The Chargers still have a lot of things to figure out themselves but it is always nice for Chargers fans to see rivals struggle on a big stage. Los Angeles beating Minnesota at the same time as Miami dropping 70 points on Denver created a perfect storm for Chargers fans.
It goes deeper than a rival struggling, though. Miami routing Denver does somewhat vindicate LA in a multitude of ways.
How the Dolphins routing the Broncos vindicates the Chargers:
First, we can touch on the elephant in the room: Sean Payton. Many Chargers fans petitioned for Payton all of last season and wanted the team to move on from Brandon Staley after the 2022 season to bring in Payton.
Staley's seat is still very hot three weeks into the 2023 season but the Bolts are at least vindicated for not going after Payton. Denver had to trade a first and second-round pick for Payton and all he has brought them so far is three losses. Payton, predictably, has not fixed any of the Broncos' issues from last season.
Would Payton have had a better record in Los Angeles? Sure. But he probably would not have fixed this Chargers defense and he also would have probably kept Joe Lombardi on the staff (considering he is Denver's offensive coordinator). Not trading any picks and hiring Kellen Moore is a far better alternative to trading picks to hire Payton (while keeping Lombardi around).
This offensive outburst also vindicates the Chargers' defense somewhat. Don't get us wrong, the Chargers still have one of the worst defenses in the sport and something needs to be fixed sooner rather than later. But Miami proved in Week 3 that it is arguably the best offensive team in the sport by hanging 70 on the Broncos.
The Chargers allowing 500 yards and 36 points to the Dolphins might not be that rare of an occurrence when the 2023 season ends. They may end up being the first of many teams to allow such an occurrence, which helps put that game into perspective.
Again, this is not to make an excuse for the Chargers' defense as it still needs massive improvements. But if Payton just let up 70 points with a much more talented Denver secondary then he probably would not have done much better than Staley did in Week 1 against Miami.
Payton was never the answer for the Chargers and it has only taken three weeks of the 2023 season to prove that.