The LA Chargers suffered a terribly ugly loss to the Houston Texans in Week 16 of the 2021 NFL season and ruined their chance to control their own playoff destiny. Following the loss, the Chargers needed help from both the Baltimore Ravens and Miami Dolphins, needing both teams to lose at least one game.
The Miami Dolphins were blown out by the Tennessee Titans in a game that never felt close. The Ravens, meanwhile, controlled an early lead against the Los Angeles Rams in a game that Matthew Stafford played horribly. However, the Rams were able to rally, defeating the Ravens 20-19.
If the Rams would have lost this game then the only player to blame would have been Stafford. Stafford, however, does not deserve the credit for the win. Charger fans should be thanking Odell Beckham Jr., who came up with the two biggest catches of the entire game.
First, on fourth and five from the Baltimore 12 and down by five, Stafford found Beckham in traffic, who made a great contested catch to pick up the first down. One play later, Stafford went back to Beckham, who sprinted towards the right pylon and just got into the endzone.
The Rams defense was able to get the stop on the following drive without allowing Baltimore to even get close to Justin Tucker's field goal range.
The LA Chargers now control their playoff destiny once more thanks to Odell Beckham Jr.
There is still more work to be done as the Chargers have not even played in Week 17 yet (at the time of writing this article). However, the Bolts got the two losses that they needed and now all they have to do is beat both the Denver Broncos in Week 17 and the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 18.
For what it's worth, the Raiders kept their playoff chances alive by beating the Indianapolis Colts in the early slate of games in Week 17. Depending on what else happens in the league, the winner of the Chargers-Raiders game in Week 18 very well could be the seventh seed in the AFC.
The Chargers are favored against the Broncos in Week 17 as Denver is starting Drew Lock and is dealing with a lot of COVID-19 issues. Meanwhile, the Chargers pretty easily beat the Raiders the first time these two teams squared off on Monday Night Football.
There is still plenty of work to do and the Chargers have to get the job done. It is way too early to celebrate. However, it is nice knowing before the Broncos game even starts that the Bolts now control their own destiny once more.