The LA Chargers barely scraped by with a 30-28 victory over the Cleveland Browns in Week 5. Cleveland certainly had a chance to win the game with a 54-yard field goal attempt but rookie kicker Cade York missed his second field goal of the game to give the Chargers the win.
Setting up that field goal attempt was an interesting decision by Brandon Staley to go for it on fourth down in Browns' territory. This decision has been dissected every which way, with many disagreeing with Staley's call to go for it.
Staley has caught a lot of flak for the call over the last week and one of his assistant coaches is now attempting to take the blame instead. When speaking to the media on Friday, Joe Lombardi took responsibility for the failed fourth-down try, ultimately blaming his play call.
The Chargers attempted a slant to the right to Mike Williams with Denzel Ward out of the game. The referees may have missed a defensive pass interference, but the Browns were able to break up the play regardless and take over on downs.
Regardless of whose fault it is, the Chargers need to clean up their operation.
What is interesting about this is that earlier in the week Brandon Staley confirmed that their plan was to target Williams as they like the matchup against Martin Emerson. Of course, Staley is never going to come out and bash his offensive coordinator, but we have already gotten confirmation that they liked that matchup.
The play call was uninspired, sure, but that does not make the decision to go for it any better for Staley. Some like the aggressiveness and the analytics favor the decision, but Staley didn't factor in the quarterback on the other team and the fact they would have to drive 50 yards in under a minute with no timeouts.
Staley was passive against the Chiefs earlier this season and it worked. I don't understand why the team saw Brissett and suddenly that passiveness changed to uber-aggressiveness, especially when a field goal would have lost the game.
If the Chargers are going to go for it there they have to have a money play call. Honing in on one option, a Mike Williams slant, is not going to be successful. As good as Mike Williams is, the team has to get more than one option and allow Justin Herbert to make a play.
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Fortunately, this isn't just a learning experience for the Chargers as they still won the game. If you can learn a big lesson, and win the game in the process, that is a huge plus for the long-term success of the team.