It began as a Devastating Upset.
It ended as a Devastating Defeat.
No one could believe what we were seeing in the Chargers-Jaguars playoff game.
Not how well the Bolts played in a dominant first half.
Not how freaked out QB-Trevor Lawrence looked in that first half.
Not how the Chargers LBs and DBs compacted all the throwing lanes
Not the creative packages that Brandon Staley-Renaldo Hill put together early
Not the Bolts starting drives at the 6-16-18-and 42-yard lines in the half.
The 5-takeaways including 3-picks by Asante Samuel in 2-quarters
That a team would blow a (27-0) lead on the road.
That Trevor Lawrence, at one point would be (4-16) with 4-picks
No one could believe what happened late.
When Jags coach Doug Pederson pulled his tight ends in to become blockers
When the protection packages gave Lawrence the time to get receivers open
How tougher and tougher the Jags defense became in the 2nd half
That Jacksonville would score on 5-straight possessions halftime on.
No one could imagine how messy a game it would become for officials.
That no flags were thrown on Asante Samuel for holding-pass interference
That a bunch of the picks came in the wake of interference flags not thrown
That the Joey Bosa double penalty should have including offensive holding
That there should not be some criticism-sanctions against Shane Smith’s crew
That there were at least 7-calls-non calls that should have been made
There were so many issues during that 4-quarters of mayhem in Jville.
A bunch of the problems came from the loss of personnel.
There was no Mike Williams there-he of fractured back fame.
Then Gerald Everett got hurt leading to a bunch of nobodies at TE
Then DeAndre Carter went down with a lst half injury
There was no trust worthy running game either.
Good luck Justin Herbert-doing it by yourself facing constant pressure.
Not much from Austin Eckeler coming out of the backfield.
Only 6-catches by double covered Keenan Allen
In the fatal 2nd half the Chargers had messy drives:
..2-for-2 passing offset by a big sack
..A 13-play drive negated by a missed field goal
..A 3-for-6 passing series slowed down by a sack
..A 2-for-5 throwing series
..A 3-for-6 series with a sack
5-series…26-snaps..136-yards in all wrapped around QB sacks and OL- penalties.
And if Herbert didn’t have enough trouble with a fired up Jags defense, then he lost his LT-Jam Salyers with a calf-ankle..Zion Johnson took 2-penalties…and there were 3-sacks, 10-hits and 8-pressures . It just got worse and worse.
Meanwhile the Jaguars had a 13-play 89-yard drive that got them a Marvin JonesTD.
Another drive of 68-yards with a Zay Jones TD catch.
A 10-play drive for a Christian Kirk TD, aided by a pass interference flag.
And the 10-play game winning field goal drive.
Add in the Bosa double penalty meltdown that wiped out a sack
And then Trevor Lawrence’s quick count 2-point reach over the goal line conversion against a front that was not ready for the snap.
It was gruesome. Khalil Mack’s first half dominance was negated when he disappeared in the second half. Bosa played so well then fell apart.
Samuel checked off all the boxes, the 3-picks, a pass interference call, a deflected pass and a TD allowed. And that did not include what could have been 4-penalty flags that could-should have been called. Guess if you don’t get caught, it’s not a crime.
Bryce Callahan, Alois Gilman caved in too in the second half.
And then Doug Pederson engineered a 3-fullback look on a 4th and one and Travis Etienne ripped off a 25-yard run, another big gash gain by a running back, something we have seen all year long.
It was awful, victory turned into defeat. Hope dash. Hard-heated criticism to follow.
It must have been devastating to walk into the tunnel and then get on the plane for that awfully long trip home-Jacksonville to Los Angeles, so much misery.
I guess I am in the minority. All these national beat guys think Brandon Staley should be ousted, for all these mistakes made. Yes Doug Pederson, old dog coach, out-schemed the young pup coach Staley.
And yes Staley has the Denver disaster stapled to his resume, playing his starters in a meaningless game, getting Mike Williams along with 2-other starters. I don’t buy the crap, keep the offense in rhythm by playing them in Denver. Hell during bye week you don’t put them in pads and let them scrimmage to keep them in rhythm.
And no one has forgotten the horrid Bolts final game loss to the crummy Raiders last year that kept the Chargers out of the 2022 playoffs. Staley owns that one too.
Yes Sean Payton-Justin Herbert would be quite a coach-QB matchup.
But that means money troubled Dean Spanos would have to eat 3-years of Staley’s contract plus all of his assistants.
And Payton wants full player-roster control, and do you think Dean would remove his son John as President of Football Operations? Doubtful
And by the way there is the size of a Payton contract, maybe 10M a year with an organization that is viewed as cheap when it comes to coaches’ pay.
And the Bolts would have to air mail draft pick compensation to the Saints to hire Payton.
Staley is (9-8) and (10-8) in two seasons, ravaged by injuries. They just need a dose of healthy players to reach the peak of what they could be. Maybe they need to analyze their training staff and try to explain if these are just football game injuries, or something deeper.
And then there is the social media condemnation of Spanos all night long, this horrid loss coming 6-years to the night Dean turned his back on 55-years of loyalty in San Diego to move to Los Angeles.
This goes down as a bad loss, probably as bad as a few others in history..
..Steve Young’s 6-TD win vs the Bolts in the Super Bowl.
..Dan Fouts throwing 4-interceptions to Vern Perry in a playoff loss to Houston
..Marlon McCree’s interception-fumble that allowed the Patriots to win
..Nate Kaeding’s missed 3-field goals in a playoff loss to the Jets.
The Chargers need to get back in the room, find a more physical run game, get tougher defensively upfront, answer the health problems, and keep on building. You have to learn how to win, and the coach and the QB are right at that doorstep.
The despair in LA probably isn’t as great as the rage-hate that resurfaced in San Diego towards ownership.
I say you continue to ‘Believe in the Bolts’, they are on the brink. Screw Spanos for all the people he screwed in San Diego. Maybe he should give the game ball back to the coach. He deserves all he is getting.
Sucks to have the last name Spanos right now. Sucks to be a Charger right now after all that just happened, a 27-0 lead to a 31-30 loss.
Crushing game. Crushing defeat.