While I know I said that the “most Chargers” thing to do would be to beat Green Bay and lose to Oakland, I did not expect them to dominate the Packers like that. The game was more than a little reminiscent of the playoff game at Baltimore. The Chargers were stout on D, but kept settling for field goals. To his credit, Mike Badgley made them all. The only one he missed was at the end and while it would have put the game away earlier didn’t seem to get him too upset. With kickers, you don’t want them getting to “think” about their misses. I have seen a lot of people question Melvin Ingram’s contributions. I was one of them until last season. He really excelled, especially when Bosa was out. Yes, he occasionally doesn’t bring down the QB. I can’t remember if he was responsible for that Trubisky run. I was already superstitiously looking away from the TV at that point. But I think Ingram has been responsible for his share of clutch plays. When he and Bosa are both clicking, it can make the rest of the defense look pretty good.
Rayshawn Jenkins’ penalty, along with settling for field goals, is the kind of thing that normally sinks the Chargers. But every time you thought they’d revert back to their old ways, they wouldn’t. Hayward looked great against his old team, although the aforementioned heat from Bosa and Ingram no doubt helped. We’ll see if Denzel Perryman plays this week but it seems virtually impossible for him to stay healthy. I fully admit that for one day I was wrong about Melvin Gordon. He went from looking flat (and fat) to being a punishing runner. He absolutely lit a spark under the offense and Lynn’s decision to take points off the board and go on 4th was a testament to how well he looked.
Lynn showed similar balls against Cincy last year and shocked us all with the decision to go for the win in KC. To line Gordon up there especially after his pratfalls in Nashville, was impressive. At the time, I thought it was insane, but Lynn clearly wanted to make a statement. He challenged the line, still saddled with Scott and Tevi (who left via injury and was missed by nobody) to step up as well. I know a lot of people were saying that the team might have found a diamond in the rough with Quessenberry and they might be right. Pouncey, who got a new deal despite his self-proclaimed “s—load” of money, won’t be back this year. It will be interesting to see how this team plays in its final visit to Oakland.
They seem to understand that they essentially have to win every game. Anything less than ten wins will mean they miss the playoffs. The Raiders have been much better than anyone expected so the Chargers have no reason to underestimate them. They have beaten Oakland all four times in Lynn’s tenure. Last year, the Chargers got hot and went on their intercontinental road trip. I won’t even dignify the London rumor from this week with a response except to say that at least Dean showed some balls in denying it. I saw that Bosa’s mom Tweeted “classy” when he was reported to have said they weren’t leaving for London. I urged her to convince him to stay with the Chargers because he clearly is worthy of whatever insane contract he demands. I didn’t mention the new OC last week, but he did a pretty impressive job in providing a “flow” to the offense.
Beating the Raiders is always the most important thing to me. That may be because of how and when I became a Charger fan. But at least the Bolts know this is a game that they cannot drop. Derek Carr can talk about them “taking care of business” at home, but at least we know the Chargers aren’t afraid to play in that stadium. I don’t know if they can really string together wins but they’ve put themselves in the same position they were last year going into the Cleveland game. If they win, they stay hot and relevant and have extended time before leaving the country. I would assume that Mahomes would be back by the time of the game in Mexico but a loss tomorrow would make that game almost irrelevant. I know I declared this team dead after the loss to the Titans. They survived Chicago and destroyed the Packers. Now they have three games in a row against the rest of the division. All three are away from that soccer stadium everyone loves to talk about. If it’s gonna happen, it can only happen now.
Much like Gordon, I would love to be proved wrong on Sunday. Ekeler didn’t get nearly as many reps as I had hoped for, but they did use him. He was fresh when they needed to kill the clock to win the game. They haven’t been able to do that when given the opportunity many times. Think about Indy in 2017 or even Hunter Henry, who has also looked amazing of late, trying to get that one yard in Chicago. I finally binged watched all the “Backstage Chargers” episodes and saw that there is good camaraderie between Gordon and Ekeler on the sidelines. I certainly don’t think we can let Ekeler go, a la Sproles. Remember how many people wanted us to keep Turner over LT? But even with Derwin not definitively returning this year this is the healthiest they’ve been thus far. The Raiders need to be put down in order for this season to mean anything.
Nut up or shut up.