The LA Chargers are fresh off a beating they took at the hands of the Ravens, but why exactly did the Bolts suffer this kind of shellacking in the first place? Was it cockiness? Was it complacency? Were the Ravens just that much better? Here are my thoughts on it...
There's one glaring thing about this Chargers team that has been apparent ever since Justin Herbert came on scene, and that is that this team plays to the level of its competition.
As an up-and-coming team, it has no choice but to do no different since it has not forged it's own path yet in this league. Herbert came aboard last year and the Bolts stood their ground with the league's top teams while stumbling a bit when it came to some of the more beatable teams.
This year hasn't been much different for the LA Chargers.
If we look at how they've played as the underdogs, the Bolts are 2-1 against the spread with this past week's Ravens loss being their only flaw. They knocked off the Chiefs in Kansas City as dogs and they also took down the Washington you-know-what's on opening day, though that line was shifting back-and-forth, so that could've been a favored game for the Bolts depending on where you looked.
Bottom line with that, though, is that the team that plays in Washington came into his season with a full head of steam after winning the NFC Least last year with a fantastic defensive front to flaunt. The Bolts went into this season off a winning streak from last year, but they didn't have playoffs to show for it like the you-know-what's did.
On the flip side as favorites this season, the Bolts handled their business against the Raiders, but wound up getting lucky on their cover and win over the Browns because that easily could've gone either way at 47-42.
Their spread loss as favorites came by way of the Cowboys game where they also lost outright.
So, as it sits right now, I'd say we're seeing similar behavior out of this team to what we saw last year. When underestimated, they play up. When favored, they play down. Even though they covered the Browns game, they could've easily failed to do so.
That brings us to last week's Ravens debacle.
Here's my point with what I just took you through. The Chargers, and Chargers fans as well, have caught on to the fact that this team as the underdog is known to pull off the surprise- whether they outwardly acknowledge it or not.
The energy going into the Ravens game, from all angles on the betting front, was that the Bolts were going to pull off the upset because the spot was the perfect fit for what we've grown to learn about this Chargers team, which is that they upset the big teams at least in the spread.
I think the fact that so many people were on the Bolts in that game, and also the fact that the Bolts kind of knew they had momentum on their side is what did them in.
So, it was cockiness and complacency on some level for the Chargers and Chargers fans mixed with a matchup where they were on the road against a better team in the Ravens.
This division race is not wrapped up yet, less you forget. The Chiefs are struggling, but how many more losses do they have in their arsenal after losing to these Chargers, the Ravens, the Bills, and the Titans?
"Not many" is the correct answer there, but the energy around Chargers circles is that they have won the division and Justin Herbert is the MVP.
The most valuable lesson I hope the Bolts have learned from their Ravens beating is that they are not as special as they think they are......not yet anyways.
Herbert is a big-time quarterback and he may indeed come out of the Mahomes battle one day as the victor. But as it sits right now, this division race is just getting started and the Chargers better be ready to roll coming out of their bye because expectations kill. They kill the Raiders every year when they start off hot, and they can do the same thing to this Chargers team.
Don't get soft. Get back out there and keep up the good work, boys.