Across the room, teammates packed up and hugged each other goodbye. The equipment staff carried out the cart. They muttered insults in quiet tones. One of his Chargers muttered to his teammates, “That’s something we’ll have to answer for the rest of our f——life.”
The Chargers have endured heartbreak in the playoffs, so it only takes one image to open that wound. Nate Kading’s shank, Marlon McCrea’s fumble, Philip Rivers’ torn his ACL. Saturday night at TIAA Bankfield may have topped it all.of Chargers lose 31-30 to Jacksonville Jaguars, despite building a 27-0 lead in the first half as he intercepted Trevor Lawrence four times. Blessed with Herbert’s ballistic quarterback, they scored just three points in his final 34 minutes. With the pass rushing prowess of Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack, they scored 24 points after halftime.
The chargers quickly melted and folded under the weight of their own history. They committed one undisciplined penalty after another, including flipping their helmets over during the Botha match. They defended Jacksonville’s uptempo offense like the Jaguars did alchemy. They missed a 40-yard field goal. They produced one final drive, highlighted by Travis Etienne’s 25-yard run on fourth down that set up Riley Patterson’s 36-yard game-winning field goal.In terms that stick to them now more than ever, they charged.
“I’ve seen this movie many times,” Chargers tight end Gerald Everett said.
The future is now a matter of Los Angeles. Coach Brandon Staley entered the game under attack for his decision to play the starter in the Week 18 game, which had nothing to do with the standings. That decision, combined with Saturday night’s disaster, may persuade Los Angeles to seek out a new coach. Starting with Sean Payton, he has the potential to coach Herbert to a top contender.
Especially for a franchise that is a home stadium tenant and is building a new practice facility, firing Staley is easier said than done. Staley still has two years left on his contract. Securing Payton will not only require draft payouts to the New Orleans Saints, but also a contract that will likely reset the coaching salary market. There is one thing a charger owner wants to do is he. What it can afford may be another.
If Staley survives, he will enter the 2023 season under great pressure. herbert’s gift, a quarterback on a cheap contract that his peers could even dream of throwing, but didn’t materialize. However, the quarterback of his lineage thrives by that stage if properly supported. Patrick Mahomes wins Super Bowl his third season.draft classmate Joe Burrow made the Super Bowl his second. Herbert suffers a devastating loss in his only playoff appearance. This manifests itself as an organizational failure, from team his owner Dean Spanos to General his manager Tom His Telesco and Staley.
“This is the hardest way to lose in the playoffs,” Staley said. “Certainly, the way we started the game, we know that’s the team we can do. We just didn’t finish the game.”
The Chargers’ barrage of self-harm could be repurposed as an instruction manual for how to waste a season. The Chargers should have built a bigger lead from the start. Herbert kicked two field goals from inside the Jaguars’ 5-yard line in the first half, including one after he missed Keenan Allen wide in the zone. And blowing away that lead began with what seemed like a harmless gaffe.
Leading 27-0 late in the second quarter, the Chargers had a chance to control the ball going into halftime. On the 3rd and his 1st, they called a play containing a “kill” to another play. Unless Herbert sees a particular defensive arrangement at the line, they run up the middle. In that case, he switches to his second play—end-around the moving receiver.
I had a problem and my play choices were confusing. The Chargers practiced all week with veteran wideout DeAndre Carter taking handoffs. So the Chargers instead ended up on his Bundy, his 5-foot-10, 190-pound wide receiver from the University of San Diego, who had never made a handover in his two-year NFL career. Tried around.
In a nutshell, the Chargers are: It’s a misguided coaching decision built on a lack of depth in premium positions. Bundy collided with Herbert, muffed the handoff, and dove into the ball five yards behind the line. The resulting punt allowed the Jaguars to possess with enough time left before halftime and was used to score their first touchdown.
On the Jaguars’ first possession of the second half following the Chargers’ stalled drive, Bosa lined up in the neutral zone and should have been a sack that killed Mack’s drive. Etienne carried a first-down reception on the next play, and Lawrence hit wide receiver Marvin Jones, Jr. three plays later. Punk suddenly became a two-possession game.
“That’s the swing at halftime,” Jones said. “That was all”
The Chargers looked steady with a nearly 7-minute drive into the fourth quarter while maintaining a 30-20 lead. Staley dodged his trademark 4th-down attack and picked his goal out of his 40-yard field where Cameron’s Dicker hooked the goal to the left of his post.
“Time just freezes,” Everett said. “They’re rallying, they’re back, their morale is up. Their confidence is up. All we can do is sit back and watch.”
The Jaguars again ran down the field, using a fast game-changing tempo until Lawrence found Christian Kirk for a 9-yard touchdown. Botha slammed his helmet as he left the field, causing his second personal foul of the game. The penalty earned coach Doug Pederson two. Lawrence jumped the line from 1. This meant that Patterson’s field goal would win the game instead of sending it into overtime.
The Chargers managed 5 yards on a three-and-out in response. The Jaguars used Etienne’s burst near the right end as the cornerstone of their game-winning drive. By the end, the Chargers had no answer to the Jaguars’ fast-paced offense. This challenged Staley’s reputation as a defensive guru. Safety Drue Tranquill said it exposed Los Angeles’ poor conditioning and tackling.
“We were able to get the cleats into the turf and they didn’t break down,” Tranquil said. “We have to let them win,” said coach Staley earlier in the week. we beat ourselves up.
“When we’re 27-0, we fully expect to win games on defense. ”
The Chargers’ failure hit Lawrence head on, 23 years of research, elasticity and the virtues of a high-quality hair conditioner. He completed four of his first 16 passes and threw four interceptions, three of them to cornerback Asante Samuel Jr. After his fourth interception, Lawrence completed 24 of his last 31 passes for 258 yards and four touchdowns.
“I knew he was going to be okay because he’s that type of person,” Jones said. “If he throws four picks or throws 500 yards, he’s the same guy. He has that poise. So it’s easy to back him.”
Victory will probably come to Herbert, but Saturday night he had to work through the shock and disappointment. Eventually he rose from his seat, drenched in sweat. He walked into the post-match press conference with his head up. “Sorry to keep you waiting,” he said.
“We value our team so it’s really hard,” said Herbert. “That’s a special group in the locker room. They deserve better but it just didn’t turn out the way we wanted it to. it won’t.”
The Chargers must decide which coach, starry or rookie, will lead them next year. Late Saturday night, Staley was carrying a black backpack with the Chargers logo. His wife squeezed his shoulder as he walked through the tunnel from the locker room. He pulled himself out of another Chargers debacle, headed toward an uncertain future, to the team bus, past equipment trucks and ambulances.