We are so close! The NFL regular season is coming to an end and those with the hope of a playoff berth are fighting for their lives. The AFC West has been hotly contested all season, largely in part to the rollercoaster of gameplay by every team. As the dust settled on week sixteen, a message was clear to those hoping to see a young gun make the playoffs.
I am sorry for your loss Los Angeles Chargers, but your season is over.
Looking at the big picture, I think the Chargers bandwagon to make it this far is a success. Justin Herbert overproduced in his rookie season, so now the Chargers think this second-year starter is able to carry the burden of winning the division. He’s amazingly good, just not that good!
Week 16 saw the Chargers line up against the 2021 punchline, the Houston Texans. Money in the bank right? Not so fast. The Chargers, like many other teams, had a COVID list full of star players. Out for this game: Joey Bosa, Austin Eckler, Mike Williams, and Corey Linsley. The COVID protocols took out more than a dozen players on both teams.
Probably the biggest shock in this game aside from losing to Houston was the fact that it was a career day for Rex Burkhead. No disrespect, but unless you are in a sixteen-person fantasy league, Rex has been off your radar for some time. The journeyman RB took care of business with 149 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Careful, that stat line may end up making you a Dolphin in the offseason.
Houston rolled with Davis Mills again and he held his own against a more hyped QB in Justin Herbert. The Chargers defense was very welcoming to the third-round-backup-turned-starter. He turned in 254 yards and two passing touchdowns without an interception, which is more than a solid day at the office. Mills hit Chris Conley on a 41-yard strike just before the end of the first half, knocking the wind out of the gaining L.A. momentum.
Normally a guiding force, Justin Herbert was relatively underwhelming all game. He tacked on a garbage time TD with Joshua Palmer but throughout the game, Herbert was just not able to get it done. He threw a pick-six to Tavierre Thomas to ice the Chargers’ chance of a comeback.
Sure, mathematically, the Chargers still have a shot at the playoffs. Their play in the past few weeks has shown they are an overheating engine. The game plan is demanding too much of Herbert and now he is making more risky passes that result in turnovers. The Ravens are ahead of the Chargers in the playoff standings so that says enough.
Many in our society are crying out for a return to “normal.” Well, the L.A. Chargers and their fans will be experiencing that. The Chargers will just miss the playoffs while the rest of their California colleagues punch their tickets. 2020 was an awesome surprise in the redirection of the franchise. We just expected too much out of the Chargers too soon. Give it time, Bolts fans. Your team will be back to losing divisional round playoff games soon enough.
[Editor’s Note: More Like Loss Angeles Chargers]