Okay, what on earth was that Sunday? Just when you think the NFL is starting to make a little bit of sense, days like yesterday happen. I mean, we must be in some kind of alternative universe when MARVIN JONES JR has four touchdown catches. Don’t get me wrong – he’s a good receiver, earned his spot as a weapon for the Lions, but that was crazy. Especially when you consider that the Lions didn’t even win that game. Kirk Cousins beat the Lions on the road. Huh?! Then you see the Seahawks be made to look anaemic, with Russell Wilson actually throwing an interception?! Someone has done something really wrong to the planet… I can only hope it carries over to Monday night and Sam Darnold finds a way to beat Brady and the Patriots. We can have hope, right?! But there’s one most confusing of conundrums that trumps all others…
I just cannot figure the Chargers out. The San Di- sorry – Los Angeles Chargers are the most frustrating conundrum in the NFL right now, and they’re not even my team. For all the talent they have, it’s outrageous that they stand at and are one of the top 5 embarrassments in the NFL. Obviously the Washington team are number 1, because of course they are. Everything about them is an embarrassment. Change the name. Number 2 are the Broncos because if Joe Flacco is your quarterback then you’re embarrassing by default, and that’s before we even mention the names Trevor Siemian, Chad Kelly, Paxton Lynch or *whisper it* Brock Osweiler… The Dolphins are number 3 only because they at least have a direction and are not even trying to conceal their tanking which I kind of appreciate. If you’re gonna try to lose every game, at least let us know that from the outset, which they definitely did Week 1 against the Ravens. Number 4 is the Bengals because they’re simply awful but NUMBER 5 IS THE CHARGERS. HOW? Phil Rivers, Keenan Allen, Melvin Gordon, Austin Ekeler, Mike Williams, Hunter Henry, Joey Bosa, Derwin James, Thomas Davis… How much talent does a franchise need to be successful? Their record is 2-5. It’s insane. Everyone around the league seems to think Anthony Lynn is a good coach, and I don’t disagree, but it’s incredible how the sum of these parts is often significantly less than the supposed value of them.
I was all in on the Chargers before the season. I thought they’d bounce back nicely from their capitulation in Foxborough in January. But instead, Melvin Gordon decides to hold out for the first 5 weeks of the season and it’s been a disaster from start to finish. But yesterday’s Titans game was something truly special. Down 23-13 with less than 6 minutes to play, it looked like the Chargers were dead and buried. Then, they started stirring. Philip Rivers hit Austin Ekeler (who had made a fool of the Titans linebacker) for a 41 yard touchdown; a beautiful play, built with speed and guile and a cunning double move from Ekeler, who continues to look like a very useful player when he’s given the chance. The Titans were just stopped on 4th and inches and the Chargers had the ball back. Game winning drive incoming, right? WRONG.
The Chargers again snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Look, I know they were unlucky. Ekeler was maybe three inches short of breaking the plane and winning the game on the pass from Rivers. But then along came the bad part. The Chargers false started, got a defensive pass interference penalty, ran for no gain and then fumbled the ball into the end zone on four straight plays to lose the game. Melvin Gordon looks a shadow of his former self – maybe holding out through pre-season wasn’t a good idea? He looks rusty and has surely now decreased the value of his next contract for looking so inept in his first few games back. All in all, it was an absolute shambles. Yes, they have some injuries that are hurting them on both offensive and defensive fronts, but this should be better than it is. Rivers deserves better. He’s not got many more years in him, and I think he deserves one last deep run to try and win the Lombardi trophy he desires. But – for now – it seems like the Chargers embarrassment might continue… they face a wounded, hurting and angry Chicago Bears defence next weekend. Yikes. Bears by a billion. (I’m trying to reverse jinx the Chargers into playing well… you’re welcome Mr. Rivers)