The Chargers have lost four of their first six games. The last two losses came at the very end of the game. The Bolts did what they needed to win three of the four games just to end up losing.
Before getting into this season, let’s look at another season that they were really good at losing.
The 2000 season!
Yes, that was the year that the Chargers went 1-15. San Diego had a horrible offense and a solid defense. The offense was “led” by Ryan Leaf, Jim Harbaugh and Moses Moreno (oh yeah, that guy). Not exactly a high-quality trio of quarterbacks. They were unable to secure wins, partially due to 30 interceptions, 53 sacks of the team’s quarterbacks, eight missed field goals and only 31 touchdowns scored.
The defense, led by the great Junior Seau and Rodney Harrison, kept them in the games with a total of 16 interceptions, 39 sacks and four touchdowns.
The Bolts had three blowouts that year, but they were never shut out. In fact, nine of their 15 losses were by 10 points or less. An even crazier stat, six of their losses were by three points or less. Let that sink in!
So here we are in 2015, and the Bolts are pretty much the exact opposite of the 2000 Chargers. They have a great passing offense, which is ranked 1st in the NFL, led by Philip Rivers and his 2,116 passing yards. While it is great that the Chargers rank first in total offense and in passing yards, they are ranked 29th in rushing. The offense is just not balanced with the lack of a good running game. Being balanced is more important than passing for a lot of yards.
The defense is also unbalanced. They have shown some good plays but also some stuff that has Chargers fans throwing their arms in the air in anger. They are ranked 14th overall thanks to their pass defense, which is ranked 7th. The rush defense, on the other hand, is ranked 29th.
So as you can see, they can’t run the ball on offense, and they can’t stop the run on defense.
The second game of the season against the Bengals was the first game of the year that the Chargers “did a good job of losing.” Keenan Allen muffed the punt return on the Bolts’ first drive which lead to a Bengals’ touchdown. Down 7-3 in the 1st quarter, the Chargers recover a fumble by running back Jeremy Hill just to have Rivers fumble the ball on 3rd and 2.
Two more opportunities were given to the Chargers with a missed field goal by Bengals’ kicker Mike Nugent and another fumble by Hill. San Diego answered those opportunities with a field goal and a missed field goal. In typical Rivers’ fashion, Philip threw 20 straight completions in an attempt to take the lead and the win. Down 19 to 24 and 1:09 left on the clock, No. 17 threw an interception to end the game in a loss.
The Chargers got beat fair and square by the Vikings, so there is no need to look at that game as a missed opportunity to secure a win. They deserved every second of that beating in Week 3.
In Week 5, the Chargers hosted the Pittsburgh Steelers at home. Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was out with a knee injury and Chargers’ tight end Antonio Gates was back after a four-game suspension. The Bolts came out strong, scoring a touchdown to No. 85 on their first drive in under three minutes.
The first half ended up being a little boring, as the Chargers kept a small lead of 7-3.
The pass defense kept back-up quarterback Michael Vick one-dimensional and the rush defense was able to keep them out of the end zone in the first three quarters.
A pick-six by Antwon Blake put the Steelers ahead and the home team answered with a field goal to tie the game. The 4th quarter came and the Bolts took at an early lead with another touchdown to Gates.
Vick was having a terrible passing game until his 72-yard touchdown pass to Markus Wheaton once again tied up the contest.
The Chargers then took the lead with a finger-crossing 54-yard field goal by Josh Lambo. The game was put in the hands of the defense with just a little over two minutes left. The defense then allowed them to drive 80 yards. Fans watched is utter disbelief as Le’Veon Bell got the tip of the ball to cross the plane just as the time ran out, giving the Steelers the victory.
Another game that the Bolts should have won but somehow found a way to lose.
The team from America’s finest city traveled to Green Bay in Week 6, making the trip as the underdogs to a 5-0 team led by quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
The first quarter was ugly. The Packers were leading the 17-3 after a 65-yard run by running back James Starks. Rookie running back Melvin Gordon fumbled the ball in that quarter, but the offense was able to recover it and get a field goal.
On the next drive they got into the red zone and went for it on 4th and 3 on the Green Bay 12-yard line; a gutsy move by a usually conservative Mike McCoy. They were unable to score.
A second fumble by Gordon in the second quarter, recovered by Green Bay, put a stop to the Chargers’ running game.
The Air Coryell days were back with Rivers taking to the air, trying to win the game. The Packers had no answers for Rivers’ passing game even with a sketchy offensive line. The Chargers defense did alright, allowing the offense to have 38 minutes of possession and forcing a Packers field goal to make the score 27-20. San Diego’s signal caller was having a hell of a game, carrying the team on his back and once again found the red zone.
The upset of the year was in the making with the Chargers with a first and goal on the Packers three-yard line with only 33 seconds on the clock. The Packers defense that had allowed Rivers to pass for 503 yards without an interception, stopped the Bolts from getting into the end zone on four downs.
A defeated Rivers laid on the field in disbelief. We would never know if the Chargers could have won the game in overtime. San Diego once again had shown most of the country how to lose in the final seconds of an NFL game.
There are a lot of factors that lead the Chargers to lose games that they could/should have won. Interceptions and fumbles by the offense never help in securing a win, and neither is not gaining points when the defense causes a turnover. Missed field goals, missed tackles and missed opportunities from the defense leave a lotto be desired, negating any positive work done by the offensive side of the ball.
The season is still early, and the Chargers have the easier part of their schedule coming up. If the Bolts can eliminate stupid penalties, turnovers, cause turnovers and find some semblance of a running game, they could win their next five games.
The hearts of the fans are always beating at such a rapid pace at the end of these games. Save our hearts and secure these wins early.
Thanks for reading.