Injuries, O-Line, and poor play calling, lead to Chargers’ heartbreaking loss

Featured image credit:

Jon Robichaud/Cal Sport Media/Si via New York Times

It was blood, sweat, and tears for QB Justin Herbert and the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday. The Chargers’ defense and Herbert shined on Thursday Night Football, unfortunately the late game woes were not enough to overcome defeat against the Kansas City Chiefs, 27-24.

Whether it was injuries, poor blocking and play calling, the 4th quarter slump became too familiar for Chargers fans. Yup, they are still the Chargers.

You couldn’t ask for a better performance than the Chargers’ defense displayed on Thursday Night. Against arguably the best quarterback and offense in the NFL, the Chargers were able to hold Patrick Mahomes and company to just 7 points at halftime.

The defense kept the Chargers in the game and it was up to Herbert to lead them to victory. The Chargers were controlling the momentum all game long until the 4th quarter.

Play of the game

Chiefs’ CB Jaylen Watson pick-six from the 1-yard line changed the game.
Arrowhead Pride // Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

With just over 10 minutes left in the 4th quarter, the Chargers had the ball on the 1-yard line and were ready to take the lead, until an interesting play call turned for the worse. Herbert threw a pick-six on the goal line, intended for Tight End, Gerald Everett.

Chiefs’ Rookie Cornerback, Jaylen Watson, stole the show, and took the football to the house with a 99-yard interception. This obviously was a game changer, and gave the Chiefs the lead, 24-17.

Wether it was a poor route ran by Gerald Everett, or a bad throw by Herbert, throwing the ball on 1st & Goal was a questionable call by Chargers’ Head Coach Brandon Staley. Staley also surprised viewers with his conservative fourth-down decisions throughout the game.

With Staley as Head Coach last season, no team in the NFL went for it on fourth down at a higher rate than the Chargers (31.5 percent), according to The Chargers were also quite effective on their fourth down opportunities, converting an impressive 64.7 percent clip.

The Chargers had several 4th and short opportunities that Staley chose not to go for. Staley explained his decision after the game, “just wanted to give our defense a chance to compete.”

Yes, the Chargers’ defense were playing lights out, but at the same time, your playing against Patrick Mahomes. If your Staley, you need to take the ball out of Mahomes hands, rather than give him more opportunities.

Things got even more dramatic after the game changing pick-six. Justin Herbert got hit hard time after time on the ensuing drive, trying to tie the game.

Justin Herbert citing a rib injury after several hard hits late in the game. Photo by Denny Medley-USA TODAY // CBS Sports

Herbert clearly was hurt, and now he will undergo tests after suffering a rib injury.

Still, while wincing in pain, Herbert willed his team to another touchdown, only trailing the Chiefs by 3 points. While the comeback was too late for the Chargers, the team alongside their quarterback showed true resiliency.

There is so much to like about this Chargers team, but are they truly a playoff contender?

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