It’s the night before the game and I still haven’t even commented on the last one. Honestly, I’m not sure I’ve recovered from it yet. Going into the game at Arrowhead, I had already accepted that there would be an overreaction no matter what. Still, the Chargers found a way to surprise me and not necessarily in a good way. The defense looked fantastic and kept Mahomes in check about as much as you could hope for. The penalty that negated the first interception was frustrating. It reminded me of the end of the half in the playoffs at Indianapolis in 2008. I figured that we just had to play through it. Peyton Manning got those calls even if it wasn’t fair. I didn’t have a problem with Staley kicking the field goals, either. If they were getting shredded by KC I doubt he would have done that. Last year’s Thursday Night game saw him go for it every time and we kept the game too close as a result. Remember the forced fumble by Bosa at the end of the first half? Being aggressive meant we went into the half with no points as a result.
Of course, that was the biggest storyline of Thursday’s game. We didn’t have any turnovers. Samuel may very well have held onto that first one. But he also had a chance to catch it cleanly and not leave it up to the refs. He also had a shot at the second one and that could have been a 100 yard touchdown. But he didn’t and instead Herbert threw to a gasssed Everett that became the biggest play of the game. Actually, the biggest play of the game was Herbert getting hit in the ribs. Lindsey and Pipkins being out for the second half was enormous. I’m not saying that Herbert can’t get sacked unless those guys are out of game. But we wouldn’t have been down by 10 without that happening and he wouldn’t have been in the situation he was. It could have happened in the final game of last season the way Norton was getting abused. There were other storylines. JC Jackson, who may miss tomorrow’s game, was victimized on the long touchdown. Staley says Jackson wasn’t at fault and was expecting help over the top. But Staley also says Donald Parham is day to day and I don’t buy that. Staley took responsibility for the Everett play as well. He said that he saw Everett motion to come out. Then why not call a timeout at least. Like Cook last season, Herbert looks to him in big spots. Clearly Everett didn’t finish his route, but Herbert threw in his direction. It was just a perfect storm of awfulness.
The one area I am confident is that Herbert won’t be on the field if he’s in serious pain. I know we wonder why Stick is on the roster and taking up a spot that could address another need. I get that Daniels isn’t that good, but if Stick can’t see the field in this situation I don’t know when he would. Chase Daniel was good enough to keep the Chargers out of the playoffs in 2014, when Rivers was being shot up every week just to play. The one thing people forget with the toughness of Philip Rivers is that there were times that him being out there hurt more than helped. I don’t for one second think you could have kept him off the field in the AFC Championship. However, he threw three picks because he couldn’t push off at all. Gates wasn’t seen as soft for missing that game and yet LT was. There is a narrative that Tomlinson was set up to be vilified that day. That’s criminal since the team let him down the season before. If he hadn’t sat on the bench with his visor on, I don’t think people would have blamed him. But I digress. I don’t know if Herbert plays but I know they can’t risk his long-term health or there is no season.
I don’t think the Chargers took the Texans lightly last year. They had a bunch of COVID cases and they also played horribly. I don’t think they take Jacksonville lightly either. We just lost a heartbreaker and they blew out Indy. If we lose, it will be because we were outplayed. Even if Jackson misses the game, the defense has to be able to step up. There is no question the offense won’t be at full strength regardless of who is under center. I don’t think the Chargers can squander opportunities early in the season, especially at home. We were .500 last season at SoFi. I also don’t think you can put guys out there and watch them get hurt. It’s a long season, but it’s longer if none of your key pieces can play at the end. There has to be some middle ground. As usual, I don’t know what this team will do. However, it’s a must win AND they need to manage all these guys’ injuries. It’s both things at once. All we can do is enjoy the ride as much as we can.
PS You cannot let Mike McCoy walk out of that building with a win, even as QB coach.