“Chargers-Why They Are-Where They Are”
Two weeks to go in his NFL season, and the Chargers are on the brink of doing something, no-one thought imaginable.
Win the AFC-West.
Yes a few things have to happen. The Bolts would have to win the final two games of the season, very doable considering they are playing the downtrodden Broncos and the Baltimore Ravens, who don’t play all that well on the West Coast.
That coupled with the fact Kansas City has to play next weekend at Seattle, with a beaten up team, and a pitiful not-so-championship like defense.
There are so many other storylines in this (11-3) Bolts season. Follow the notes:
NFL… The league office says even if the Chargers get to host a post season game, it will be at the Tiny Stub Hub Center, not moved to the LA Coliseum. It’s not much of a home field advantage, play in that futbol stadium, and there is still a fear factor, that if the Chargers host a home game, out of town fans will buy up the tickets.
STANDINGS: Unless the Chargers catch Kansas City and win the division, they will more than likely have to go back to Pittsburgh, where they would face the 4th seeded Steelers, the likely AFC-North winner. It brings up the argument, why shouldn’t the Chargers, with 11-wins, be seeded higher than the 8-win Steelers? It’s because Pittsburgh won in a mediocre division. Doesn’t seem fair, but those are the rules.
MATHCUPS: If the Bolts were to go (13-3), they could be the top seeded team in the entire AFC-how about that? Hidden fear, would LA fans come out of the closet to buy up hi priced tickets, or would we have a repeat of home games this past year where Chiefs-Broncos-Raiders fans overwhelmed the stadium. An NFL embarrassment coming ?
EARNED IT: No one, outside of people who work in the Chargers building, would have told you on Labor Day Weekend, as the season was starting, this team would win games this year at Seattle, at Pittsburgh, at Kansas City. Each game had a different personality, a different game plan, and an afternoon of adjustments during those games, that changed everything.
HEROES: In this very successful season so far, there are lots of people responsible for this season. Heading the list, the guy who put these players in place, GM-Tom Telesco. In a span of 3-seasons, he upgraded this defense with a cast of speed acquisitions, Joey Bosa, Derwin James, Desmond King. And they’ve all made plays, week by week that were important. Add to that wide receiver Mike Williams and the discovery of running back Austin Ekeler.
UNSUNG HERO: It’s not sexy, the signing of Mike Pouncey has made all the different in the world. Coming off hip surgery, the Miami Dolphins let him walk His arrival, his leadership, his toughness has made a massive difference in the protection packages infront of Philip Rivers.
UNSUNG HERO II…..The coordinators, Ken Whisenhunt and Gus Bradley deserve blue ribbons. Bradley designed defensive game plans that made Russell Wilson in Seattle hold the ball till he took sacks, hits and threw incompletion. In Pittsburgh, they defended the deep ball and made Ben Roethlisberger into a check down thrower, unable to get the ball in the end zone. And in Kansas City, after Philip Rivers took a beating in the first half, Whisenhunt unleashed his kid running backs, and they combined for (138APY) and they changed the entire game.
SPECTACULAR SEASON: Rivers heads into the final two weeks of the year with stunning stats (3,951P-31TD-8 Int-112QBR). His audibles, line calls, repositioning people at the line of scrimmage, is artwork at work.
IN & OUT…That’s what they got from Melvin Gordon-Austin Eckeler before they got hurt. The duo combined for (2,155) all purpose yards thru 12-weeks of the season. What they did allowed Rivers to open up a deeper passing game.
KICKING IT WITH BAGS…Field goal kicker Michael Badgley has given them what they haven’t had in years, trustworthy field goal kicking. He’s (14-of-15) on field goals, has hit 23-point after kicks, better than the team has seen in the last 3-years of disappointments. They’ve decided they can live with his kickoffs being five yards shorter for what they get at the other end of the field in critical kicking snaps.
SCARY;…Too see Keenan Allen hobble of the the field with a hip injury in Kansas City, brought flashbacks to the same type of end zone injury he suffered three years, that left him with a lacerated kidney that ended his season.
COMING OUT PARTY….That’s what the big plays Mike Williams made in Kansas City accomplished. He’s big, physical, fast once he gets going. He could be a matchup nightmare problem in the post season, if he can become consistent, and if they go to him more.
NEXT MAN UP….Some couple of weeks for the kid running backs, Justin Johnson had 4-1,000-yard seasons at Northwestern. He can run it up in there, gets yards after contact, and does catch the ball. An impressive start. And Dex Newsome, did much the same coming off the bench to backup Johnson.
LOSSES…..If you said in September this team would be without Corey Liuget, Brandon Mebane, and Denzel Perryman on defense, and would still be playing well, no one would believe it. Losing tight end Hunter Henry changed the passing game a bit, but the catches the tight end would have made, have been replaced by the catches the running backs have made.
CULTURE….Anthony Lynn has changed so much from a culture standpoint in that locker room. They are tough, fast, physical, and demanding of each other. A lot different than the two prior coaches who led the San Diego Chargers, Casper-Milquetoast Norv Turner, and an overwhelmed and intimidated Mike McCoy.
TEAM SPANOS….The TV ratings remain half of what they were when the Chargers were winning in San Diego. Fans here are conflicted, I run into them all the time. They want Rivers to win, but refuse to root for Spanos and his sons. In Los Angeles, the picture that flashes back into your mind, a stadium dressed out in Orange with Broncos fans, or Red with Chiefs fans, of Black representing the Raiders, that and empty blue Charger seats. Maybe that will change in a playoff game, but maybe it won’t. The Chargers still don’t rate equal share media coverage in the LA Times, matching the Rams-LeBron’s Lakers, the Clippers or the Dodgers.
JUST WONDERING….Is it possible, a Rams-Chargers Super Bowl. A lot of things would have to happen in the next 6-weeks in the end of season and playoff games. It might have sounded far-fetched, but so did saying wins in Seattle, Pittsburgh, and Kansas City could happen too.