Remember that one? 2004 and yes that’s Steve Foley tackling Vick. I remember after we lost that game I was convinced our season was over. I was sitting alone in my living room listening to “When The Music’s Over” and Sam rightfully ripped into me for being melodramatic. Sure, we recovered and won 12 games that year. But what did it get us? A home playoff loss. I get the hate for Brandon Staley right now, but when people lament the days of “Marty Ball” forget he never won a playoff game. Anyway, back to Staley. After the Denver game, we all knew that this team wasn’t really on a 3-game winning streak due to strong play. Denver has a good defense, but that Monday Night win unearthed a lot of flaws, especially on offense. Seattle is much improved, no doubt. But the Chargers came out to a supportive home crowd and promptly went down 17-0. The defense was good enough to stop the Broncos, who are now in full “sell mode,” but couldn’t do shit against Geno Smith. I don’t know if J.C. Jackson would have turned his season around, but I know that injury was fucking brutal. Mike Williams, who was practically invisible against Denver, was out there at the end of the game trying to make something happen. We literally had no other options. We all know what happened next. I don’t know what his timetable really is to come back. Keenan Allen was at a nightclub after the opener and still isn’t playing. We could spend the entire time here talking about the team’s inactivity at the trade deadline. The reality is that a post-concussion Josh Palmer is WR1 tomorrow. After that, it’s all practice squad players. I don’t know if Telesco should or could have gotten someone to help Herbert or if a pass rusher could have done the trick. The reality is that both Rumph and Tillery are out tomorrow. I’m not sure who is going to get heat on Mariota.
The saddest thing right now is to watch Justin Herbert. There was always a smirk behind his perfectly bland press conference answers. You knew he was at least having fun. We just came off a bye week following a completely flat loss. I’m talking about the type of loss we saw last season against New England and Minnesota. We saw it against Jacksonville as well this year. These are the things that worry me about Staley. The team comes out looking that bad to start. I don’t blame Herbert for being discouraged. We’re all discouraged. We are way more banged up after the bye then when we entered it. Just like we were playing poorly against Seattle BEFORE all those guys got hurt. Josh Kelley, who looked like he was ready to contribute got hurt ON SPECIAL TEAMS. Herbert has been affected by the ribs, no doubt. I’m not going to pull out some depth of pass attempt stat for you. You’ve watched the games. I know guys aren’t really getting separation and that he’s checking down (and getting passed batted down) seemingly every play. We all want him to throw it deeper, but seeing that perception against Seattle should give us pause. It wasn’t that long ago that Herbert (and Rivers before him) was throwing 3 picks and losing. The only reason I think this team wins tomorrow is that they absolutely have to. I know Atlanta has the same record and won that crazy game last week. The Chargers on paper look awful and on the field lately have looked worse. Logically, I don’t know how Herbert airs it out when we have the Uber, DoorDash, and Grub Hub drivers all in the pattern. Our defense has been awful. Mack, Derwin and Tranquill have played well, but…
I would trade for Henry in a heartbeat right now. Parham may never play again and I don’t trust Everett. McKitty doesn’t inspire either. Actually, I shouldn’t make light of Parham’s concussions though Tua seems to survive his. I know, that’s a whole other conversation about Miami and we can dive into it when we play them. We also have Dicker the Kicker in action tomorrow, who Staley is quick to remind us went to Texas. Again, only results matter from a coach. But Stlaey’s “McVay/RainMan” act where he rattles off every person he’s ever worked with or against is wearing thin. The same thing was happening to McVay until he won at the clip he did. I know Rams fans are less than thrilled right now, but they won a Super Bowl. I wonder, despite the title of this site, if that will ever happen for us.
I joked on Twitter that the Chargers at the trade deadline made the Mets look like big time movers. I know that you don’t want to mortgage your future for one season. But this team is 4-3 and sinking fast. There are 10 games left and that feels like an eternity. What is the message to the fans? I credit Daniel Popper for asking Staley about that and specifically about Robert Quinn. Right now, we are looking at 7 to 9 wins which would keep us out of the playoffs AND give us a mid range draft pick. Telesco holds on to these late round picks even though he rarely hits on them. Staley answered Popper by talking about the big picture, but the long range right now looks awful. The injuries have exacerbated it, but the team’s play has been underwhelming consistently.
That won’t stop me from watching, of course. I expect to see a desperate Charger team tomorrow. I don’t know where the points or the stops will come from. But I at least, expect them to play like they want it. If they can’t do that, they might as well pack it in.