Each season is different than the previous in the NFL, while teams relentlessly attempt to improve from prior years. For the Chargers, it has been the last 32 seasons since they have accomplished what they have not since 1982 ( A historic playoff win by a score of 41-38 in one of the best games ever played). That being said, there is some unfinished business still to take care of this week. Heading into week nine, coming with a vengeance, doesn’t even begin to describe the team’s mission.
The Chargers are set to travel to Miami this Sunday and faceoff against the Dolphins. What many may not know is that the Chargers have not won in Miami during the regular season since 1980; even before many fans were born. It’s been over 33 years, a long and drawn out tenure that needs to be demolished and broken this Sunday. Forget the three divisional games played in a row, forget the loss in Denver after only having four days off, and forget that it’s difficult for a west coast team to travel over four hours to play an east coast team because this game is probably the most significant game of this season up to this point.
After Sunday, the Chargers enter their severely needed bye week. Going into Miami with a record of 5-3 isn’t terrible, but if they don’t leave at 6-3, their season is in tremendous jeopardy. No, the sky isn’t falling, but the Bolts face a tough stretch of games to finish off the regular season. Right now there are five AFC teams with a 5-3 record and three teams with a 4-3 record – Miami being one of those 4-3 teams. Already looking at the playoff picture, the Chargers absolutely need to win and head into the bye week at 6-3. If they don’t, the four other 5-3 team’s chances to snag the only two playoff wildcard spots are favorable, leaving the Chargers with no playoff appearance and some incredible soul-searching. It’s vital, like the desert needs rain, for San Diego to accomplish something they haven’t been able to in 3 decades.
It’s no secret that the Chargers are banged up and injured. Even Peyton Manning acknowledged the fact that the Chargers are in desperate need of their key players that are currently rehabilitating to get back on the field. Yet, the Dolphins don’t care. Why should they? It’s already predicted for the ‘Phins to win while adding a home field advantage to the equation.
San Diego has one of the worst rushing offenses right now; ranking 30th in the league facing Miami’s 16th ranked rushing defense. However, it’s Philip Rivers’ arm that can lead them to victory. The Dolphins given up seven touchdown passes in the last three home games. Rivers and company need to perform flawlessly in order to dismantle Miami’s secondary. With the possibility of Donald Brown coming back, and Branden Oliver continuing to impress with his talents, San Diego also looks primed to have a big rushing game against the Dolphins. Miami has allowed 11 rushing TD’s in their last 10 home games. Additionally, they have allowed 3 rushing scores at home this year. With stats like that, there’s absolutely no reason for the Chargers to not come up successful on offense.
Just imagine the plan ride home if the Chargers can get the job done. Envision the celebratory atmosphere and the utmost satisfaction of achieving something that hasn’t been done in decades. The win in Miami isn’t just needed, it’s crucial. The Charger players know how important this is and how it will pave the way back into back-to-back playoff appearances – something that has not been done since 2009. A moment in history will be made this Sunday, but which instant will occur? Another year added onto the already miserable 33? Or will the slump finally be broken? Stay tuned on Sunday and you will find out.