The LA Chargers-Minnesota Vikings Week 3 game has not gone as advertised. Sloppy plays and turnovers have kept these two offenses from exploding against each others' bad defense, making every single score in this game that much more important.
That is why Chargers fans have every right to be outraged with what might be the worst call of the season thus far in the second quarter against the Vikings. Alexander Mattison took a rushing attempt up the middle and was quickly stripped three seconds after Kirk Cousins handed him the ball.
Even better, the Chargers made a clear and concise recovery. There was absolutely no doubt that the ball was ripped before Mattison hit the ground and the Chargers recovered. Yet the Bolts didn't get the ball. Why? The referees ruled that the play was ruled dead due to forward progress before the fumble happened. Remember, Mattison had the ball for all of three seconds before the fumble.
Luckily, the Chargers defense was able to buckle down and keep Minnesota from finding the endzone. But in a game that is so closely contested, the referees gifting the Vikings a free three points is absolutely horrendous.
Chargers getting robbed vs Vikings is eerily similar to an old blown call
Earlier this week, we compared the 2023 Chargers to the 2008 Chargers, who started the year 0-2 and is one of four teams in franchise history to allow more points in the first two weeks than the 2023 Chargers. Just like this season, the 2008 Chargers lost the first two games by less than one score.
Another similarity has been drawn between these two teams. That 2008 team was absolutely robbed in Week 2 on another controversial fumble call. Then-Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler fumbled on goal-to-go late in the fourth quarter and the Chargers made a clear and concise recovery.
However, the referees ruled that they "blew the play dead" after Cutler fumbled. So the fumble stood, but because the play was "blown dead" the Chargers were not gifted possession. Denver would score a touchdown and convert a two-point conversion to win the game.
Hopefully, this horrendous call by the referees won't end up having an impact on the final score. But if it does, the 2023 Chargers' season will essentially be over at 0-3 and they will have the refs to thank for the third loss.