Against the formidable Seattle Seahawks, the Los Angeles Chargers won. Ugly. Again.
The LA-LA Chargers could have been stumbling red-faced and clown-nosed into overtime, except for Jahleel Addae’s finger. But that spectre was entirely created by Caleb Sturgis’ toe.
Addae barely tipped a desperation pass from Russell Wilson with no time remaining, yet that touchdown should have been meaningless — if the Chargers had not lost two points on failed PATs. Sturgis tied a record for kicking ineptitude: the first kicker that missed a conversion (another two in this game) and a field goal in three straight games since 1979.
That might be since 1979 B.C.E. Sturgis, the bus leaves in 15 minutes. Be under it.
Why kick the kicker when he has been cut? But I don’t blame Sturgis. He has been consistently bad from training camp. Blame the coaches. The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and over again expecting a different result.
GOOD: This is the kind of game that, over the last decade, the Chargers routinely lost.
UGLY: It should never have come down to a touchdown and 2-pt convert attempt with no time remaining. Not just the kicker.
UGLIER: Penalties, especially personal fouls, is a chronic infection with this Chargers team. 12 penalties for 105 yards of disadvantage. They were only saved from defeat because Seattle was just as bad.
GOOD: What is the name of a knight’s war horse? A Charger. Melvin Gordon alternately danced, dashed and de-constructed tacklers during his 100+ yard game against a good defense, his third in eight games. He could have had more 100+ yard games, but there were several games where he disemboweled opponents through his receiving game. I was at the Bills game in Buffalo, and what Gordon did to the Bills was like watching the Hindenburg burn. His overall yards from scrimmage this season is in the elite level for the whole league. Magician + Elven = M’elven Gordon.
GOOD: Could become the best wide receiving corps in the NFL. While no one was looking, Keenan Allen made repeated clutch catches. Mike Williams’ touchdown tip-toe along the sideline was unique. Tyrell Williams stacked another Pro Bowl performance. They used to be the Temptations, but now they are the Supremes. Except for….
UGLY: Dropped balls. This was the return of the nightmare from the first game against Kansas City. As good as Gordon was in the run game, his hands were cinder blocks.
GOOD: Desmond King. I wrote during the bye week that King could change a game, and this week he did. He abandoned his assignment when he believed Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson was committed to the sideline route, and jumped it like a tiger on a tourist.
Fix the Fixable
BOTTOM LINE: Who drives along a cliff edge to see how close they can get without falling off?
Fix the chronic penalties. Fix the kicking game. Fix the fixable before you run into the three elite teams coming up: Pittsburgh, Baltimore and of course the juggernaut in Kansas City.
BOLD PREDICTIONS for Next Game: The Dogs of War
Perhaps the above observations sound like a Negative Norval. So here’s the big upside.
The Return of Mini-Austin. Ekeler’s Yards From Scrimmage jumps back up.
Keenan Allen gets keener, and gets his touchdown jam on.
Joey who? The Chargers’ defense cries “Havoc!” — and let slip the dogs of war.
And a Rivers runs through it: 300+yards, 3 TDs, ably assisted by Mike Pouncey captaining the O-Line.