The LA Chargers fell to 4-5 on the season despite Justin Herbert and the offense putting up 38 points in Week 10. Ultimately, Brandon Staley's defense let Herbert down again as the Detroit Lions dropped 41 points and 533 yards of offense on the Bolts.
This has unfortunately become a trend for the Chargers, who have sported one of the worst defenses in the NFL since Staley took over as the head coach in 2021. Let's not forget that Staley was hired because of his one-year tenure as the LA Rams defensive coordinator and was touted as a defensive genius prior to coaching for the Bolts.
It has become clear that his one-year success with the Rams may have been aberration and that Staley has only revealed the true version of himself. When there are three years worth of a sample size, it probably means something.
Worse of all, it does not appear that Staley is learning or even getting better on the job. Not only was Sunday's showing arguably the worst of his head coaching tenure but it proved that Staley's defense will make the exact same mistakes over and over again as they have in the past.
Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson exploited that.
Lions expose Brandon Staley's Chargers offense with just one play
Don't get it wrong, the Lions exposed this defense more than just once as evident by the fact the team scored 41 points and ended every drive in Chargers territory. But this one play is the perfect encapsulation of this Chargers defense and what it has been for the last three years.
It is the same mistakes over and over again. The inability to defend the run against a good running team. The cushion coverage in key short-yardage downs. The busted zone coverages because teams know exactly what is coming and where to beat Staley's zone.
For as complex as Staley tries to make this defense, the fact is that it is rather predictable and beatable. Teams know exactly what needs to be done to beat this Chargers defense and as long as someone competent is under center they are going to do just that.
You would think that nearly three years into this thing with these results the coaching staff would implement serious changes; or at the very least, would learn from previous mistakes and recognize an identical play-call from one of the worst losses in franchise history.
Maybe the team did recognize it but it ultimately didn't matter. This defense is built on a house of cards and it easily caves in.