Beyond Philip Rivers’ future, or lack thereof, there has been a lot of talk this week among the remaining Chargers fans as what we even want to have happen tomorrow. At this point the only team I really care about not getting into the playoffs is the Raiders. Of course, it wasn’t so long ago that we were playing them with the chance to keep them out with a win. We did and all it got us was more Norv. When Dean Spanos announced shortly after that New Year’s win against Carson Palmer and Co, I wondered if it was worth it to keep Oakland out of the postseason. At this point, I have to wonder if the 2013 was worth it after the three that came afterwards.
Does this mean that making the playoffs and winning a game last year will keep The Organization from moving forward? Is Anthony Lynn part of the problem? I’m not ready to give up on him. I wanted to see Melvin Gordon play in Miami, but it was Lynn who announced him as the starter the following week. You could argue that that forcing Gordon into the offense against the Texans, Broncos, and Steelers was what really killed the season. You could also make the case that after wins against the Bears and Packers that it was the 7 interceptions in 2 games against Oakland and Kansas City that did us in. What’s frightening is that Rivers was almost picked on the goalline in Oakland and another interception was negated by a penalty. In Mexico City, Honey Badger dropped an easy one.
So where did the season go all wrong? The Detroit loss was a bad one for sure, but it could have been an isolated “stub your toe” loss like the Denver one from last season if not for stretches of similar losses. This was a team that hadn’t lost consecutive games under Lynn after those first four in his first season. Even Koo seems to have rebounded from that, by the way. I have no idea if he’s any good since Atlanta isn’t playing for any real stakes. Then again, neither are we. The Chargers were blasted for signing Koo, replacing him with Lambo only to let him go. Badgley isn’t that great but considering where we were he seems like a Godsend. Of course, we’ll never know what went on with his extended absence this season and why the team kept him on the roster.
So the three games where Lynn shoehorned Gordon back were killers. The Tennessee game could be the true nadir considering how Gordon played and not being able to gain an inch. Watching him do so with ease at Jacksonville last week was a sad reminder of how far this team has sunk. As much as Gordon has looked like his old self since then, there is no way the Chargers can give him a big contract. That has to go to Ekeler, who I can’t imagine would cost as much as Gordon would have. This SI piece alludes to the team’s options and also suggests Phil might just retire.
At this point, I’d love to see it. However, he’s such a competitor I don’t think he will. The viral clip of him talking trash last week reminds everyone of what they love and hate about him. This was a meaningless blowout against a shitty team. Phil loves to chirp, but where was his decision making in the games that mattered? The blocking has been shitty all year long and maybe it just caught up with Rivers, but I have to disagree with Mark Schlereth that Rivers had some bad games because Henry fell down in Oakland. No, these were bad decisions that have always been a part of Phil’s game. Wisenhunt turned Rivers into a short passer in 2013 until Reich came in the following year. The Oakland game was Rivers at his worst. He didn’t even seem to care about protecting the ball. Of course, the defense could have won the game by keeping Derek Carr out of the end zone with four minutes to go.
The KC game was more of the same. The team quickly raced down the field but didn’t get more than a field goal. After his debut against the Packers, Shane The OC hasn’t been really impressive. He didn’t use Gordon or Ekler well in Mexico when a big lead could have really helped at the start. That was one of the things that Wisenhunt was faulted for–he didn’t make use of the running game. Well, neither did his successor in Mexico City and it came back to bite us in the end.
Of course I will be watching tomorrow but I seriously don’t even know if I want them to win. But what I want rarely happens anyway. All it would have taken was one or two less meltdowns and this team would still be in it. Virgil Green made a comment recently that players were too full of themselves after last year. That was Lynn’s message all summer. Clearly, it didn’t take. I don’t see him getting fired, nor do I think he’s the problem. Yes, he says stupid shit about Tillery, Jenkins, and Perryman. But I am not so worried that he’s why this team isn’t returning to the playoffs. I worry that this is not a place where Bosa, Derwin, etc will want to stay. If Telesco or Dean want a real shot in LA next year they need to keep Bosa. LT was on with Adam Schein this week wondering if the team would get a chance in LA or whether the NFL would step in. Last I checked, Tomlinson was still on the Chargers’ payroll. I don’t know he reconciles those comments with his job. If the NFL is letting them move into SoFi stadium I can’t imagine the leash is that short.
Which brings me back to Bosa. As he watches his brother lead his team into the playoffs in his rookie year, he has to wish he had another shot at the postseason. He’s worth every cent and the Bolts better pay it.
Oh yeah, we play the Vikings tomorrow