To quote the late Dennis Green:”…..and we let them off the hook!”
That’s the feeling of every Chargers fan after the team blew a 21-3 halftime lead to lose to the Chiefs in overtime. It was a gut-wrenching, morale-killing defeat.
The Bolts got out to a fast and promising start as they scored three touchdowns on three straight possessions. Melvin Gordon and the running game got going as he was responsible for the first two scores (both rushing TDs were Gordon’s only scores of his pro career).
Everything looked amazing early, as the bolts swarmed the Chiefs’ offense causing multiple three-and-outs, giving the ball back to the offense who kept scoring, as Philip Rivers would find Danny Woodhead in the endzone for a 21-3 lead.
The only negative in the first half, and it was a huge one, was Keenan Allen went down with a knee injury. Early tests have shown signs of an ACL tear for Allen, who looks to be all but lost for the season once again. Before he went down, he was shredding the reigning rookie of the year Marcus Peters for big catches. Losing Allen creates a huge hole for this offense moving forward.
The second half is where everything just came unglued. One of the huge knocks on last year’s squad was the inability to finish games. I hate to say it, Bolts fans, but it’s obviously carried over into this season. That stout running game seemed to be non-existent, as Gordon barely saw any carries in the second half. That stout pass rush on defense seemed to disappear into the KC sunshine as Alex Smith and company completely worked the Chargers’ defense in the second half and into OT.
The most disappointing thing about this loss is this coaching staff. McNorv, as I will call him from now on, ran this team scared. The play calls were, dare I say, absolutely pathetic and uninventive. Not once in this game did McNorv show any aggression in his second-half playcalling to show this team, “Yes we are all in! This isn’t last year’s team!”; instead on 4th-and-2 in a turning point in this game, McNorv chose a low percentage field goal. Then Lambo proceeds to push it wide right, giving the ball back to a hot KC offense and getting nothing off a fantastic Jason Verrett interception. Had Lambo have made the 54-yard field goal it would have tied his career-long.
Positive players of this game:
Melvin Gordon – It’s not his fault this coaching staff went away from him in the second half. It was great to see the explosiveness and downhill running that Gordon showed today. Keep that up and you may not be the wasted pick I thought you would be.
Brandon Mebane – What a difference this line looks like upfront when Mebane is in the ball game. He had a huge sack on Smith in the first half. Also, he was one of the reasons Corey Liuget looks like he’s gonna be a wrecking machine upfront. I can only imagine what this line looks like when Joey Bosa is healthy and ready to play. Expect bigger things from Mebane this season!
Jason Verrett – Verrett is gonna be a lockdown corner if he isn’t already. Chiefs wideout Jeremy Maclin only caught two balls in the first half and four the rest of the game. Verrett also stole the ball from him, making you think he was in Maclin’s head the rest of the way.
Bums of the game:
Mike McNorv – This is pretty obvious, I mean, I went into it earlier. Here’s the thing, though: with the Chargers Stadium vote on the November ballot, how many losses can the team suffer before it affects the ballot? This is a time where this organization can’t afford any more embarrassment. This loss wasn’t just bad, it’s unacceptable and embarrassing. How long can this go on? It can’t be much longer in a division that’s tough enough as is. Not to mention, with Sunday’s loss the Chargers haven’t won against a division opponent since 2014. If there was a time to make a change it’s now. Do it early in the season so this thing doesn’t go so far south that the ’16 season is lost.
Drew Kaser – So, we knew following in the footsteps of former punter Mike Scifres would be incredibly difficult. In the preseason, Kaser looked sharp, nailing punts and pinning opponents back. That’s only the preseason, though. Kaser had a horrendous day, averaging a measly 28.6 yards per punt. Most notably what sticks out is his 17-yard punt, which rolled into Charger territory, setting up the Chiefs with amazing field position for the game-tying drive. He’s a rookie; I get that; we all get that. He probably had some jitters understandably. The way he punted on Sunday was a vital reason why the Chargers ended up losing this one.
Manti Te’o and Denzel Perryman – Going into this season, I thought both players were a huge strength for this defense. Let’s start with Te’o. Early on, he showed amazing instincts and tackling, busting up some huge plays in the backfield. As the second half began, Te’o began to struggle, missing tackles, taking poor angles and he was exposed in coverage. Can they continue to keep Te’o in on passing situations? It’s highly doubtful. I would’ve loved to see Jatavis Brown or Josh Perry get some more work on passing downs. On to Perryman. This isn’t a game he would want write home about. He was down right sloppy, missing tackles and being completely out of position in pass coverage. It was all bad, overall, for these two inside linebackers. Live and learn, man up and come back strong next week!
Was this a make-or-break game for the Bolts? I hate to say it, but it was. If this team has any aspirations of winning the division and a deep playoff run, winning these games is the everything. The fact that you had a rival on the ropes and you couldn’t finish them off speaks volumes about this team. They aren’t as good as I thought they were. It starts with coaching and this staff did not show the killer instinct needed to win this game; they never have and, guess what, #BoltFam, McNorv never will!
Former Minnesota Vikings and Arizona Cardinals head coach Dennis Green passed away on Thursday night at the age of 67.
“Dennis passed away last night from complications of cardiac arrest,” Green’s family said in a statement per ESPN.com, among other reports. “His family was by his side and he fought hard.”
Dean Spanos released a statement regarding the passing of Green via the team’s Twitter account.
Green left an indelible mark on the NFL, not only for the rant in the video below, but because he was the second black head coach in the NFL — Art Shell of the Raiders was the first.
Personally, I’ll remember Green as much for the 1998 season — where the Vikings went 15-1 while sporting an incredibly dangerous offense, featuring Daunte Culpepper and Randy Moss — as I will for his famous rant.
Prayers and condolences go out to Green’s family and friends.