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#pounditThursday, February 2, 2023

Articles tagged: Los Angeles Chargers

Wild playoff scenario could unfold in Week 18 if Jaguars beat Colts

Derek Carr with a helmet on

The Jacksonville Jaguars are about to wrap up yet another disappointing year, but that does not mean they are playing an insignificant game in Week 18. In fact, they have a chance to potentially create chaos ahead of the postseason.

The Jaguars are hosting the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. For the Colts, the road to the playoffs is simple — win and get in. If Jacksonville wins, however, things could get very interesting. Why? Because that would set up a scenario where the Las Vegas Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers, who will play each other on Sunday, would both get into the playoffs with a tie.

As luck would have it, the Jaguars and Colts play in the early window and the Raiders host the Chargers in the late window. That means the latter two teams will know before they play if a tie would get both into the playoffs. The big question, then, would be how they handle the situation.

You might think the Jaguars have almost no chance of beating the Colts, but history favors them. The Colts are 0-6 when playing at Jacksonville since 2015. Granted, some of those Jags teams were better and Indy teams were worse, but anything could happen.

As Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk notes, the NFL prohibits efforts by teams that undermine the integrity of the game. There may be no explicit rule that teams can’t agree to play to a tie, but commissioner Roger Goodell could punish the Raiders and Chargers if it were determined that they colluded.

The NFL is probably hoping the Colts just beat the Jaguars, that way there are no questions. But if the Jags are looking for one last piece of motivation as they close out a disastrous season, they definitely have something to play for.

Photo: Sep 13, 2021; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) before playing against the Baltimore Ravens at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Chargers-Raiders game could feature absurd playoff scenario

Justin Herbert throws

The Los Angeles Chargers and the Las Vegas Raiders face off against each other in Week 18, both teams looking to clinch a spot in the AFC playoffs. By the time they take the field though, a truly wacky scenario could be in play.

Pro Football Network’s Adam Beasley pointed out Monday that the Chargers and the Raiders can both get into the playoffs with a tie if the Indianapolis Colts lose to the Jacksonville Jaguars. That means that the Chargers and Raiders could just take turns kneeling all game and both will clinch.

The Colts, Chargers, and Raiders are all currently 9-7 with two spots still up for grabs in the AFC. A 9-7-1 finish by both the Chargers and Raiders would beat out a 9-8 finish by the Colts. Granted, the Colts are 15-point favorites against the lowly Jaguars. But Jacksonville upset Buffalo earlier in the season, so you can never assume.

Of course, it is highly unlikely from a purely competitive standpoint that the Chargers and Raiders would agree to play for a tie, even if the Colts do lose. They are division rivals and might revel in the opportunity to ruin it for the other team. But then again, not actually playing and going for the tie would essentially allow both teams to have a week off, limiting their wear and tear heading into the playoffs. The point is that it is a possibility!

In any event, the Chargers and Raiders do not exactly like each other. If the Colts, who play several hours earlier, manage to beat the Jaguars, we should be guaranteed an entertaining game between the two AFC West rivals.

Photo: Nov 14, 2021; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) warms up before the game against the Minnesota Vikings at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Chargers issue Donald Parham health update

Donald Parham on a stretcher

Los Angeles Chargers tight end Donald Parham left Thursday night’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs after suffering a frightening injury, and the team has issued an update on his health.

The Chargers revealed on Friday that Parham spent the night at the UCLA Harbor Medical Center, where he was diagnosed with a concussion. The positive news is that he is expected to be released at some point on Friday.

Parham was running across the back of the end zone in the first quarter against the Chiefs on a fourth-down play. He got his hands on a pass from Justin Herbert but dropped it as he went to the ground. He appeared to hit his head on the turf. Parham was taken off the field on a stretcher, and his hands appeared to be trembling.

While a concussion is always a concerning injury, it’s promising that doctors feel Parham can be sent home after less than 24 hours.

Parham, 24, entered the game with 190 receiving yards and three touchdowns on the season.

Brandon Staley defends 4th down calls against Chiefs

Brandon Staley on the sidelines

Brandon Staley has faced some criticism in the wake of his team’s overtime loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday night, but the Los Angeles Chargers coach stood by his aggressive approach after the game.

The Chiefs beat the Chargers 34-28 on a walk-off touchdown in overtime. L.A. was plagued by poor execution in the red zone, and they turned the ball over on downs three times deep in Kansas City territory. A lot of people questioned whether Staley should have gone for it on fourth down in all of those situations. He said he didn’t feel like any of the calls were risky.

“From where my mindset is, I know that the quickest way to win a game like that is to score touchdowns, not field goals, especially considering who’s on the other side,” Staley said, via NFL.com’s Kevin Patra. “To me, when you feel like you’re in an advantage situation, when you don’t feel like it’s a gamble, and you feel like this is an advantage for you, then that’s going to be our mindset. I don’t think that any decision that I made tonight was a gamble. We felt like it was an advantage situation for us. That’s why we did it. If we didn’t feel like that was the case, then we would have kicked a field goal or we would have punted.

“That’s the way that we’re going to do things around here. I know that our team embraces that mindset. We’re going to continue to do it every game we play moving forward.”

Execution and playcalling were much bigger issues for the Chargers than decision-making. The first time they turned it over on downs was on their first possession of the game, when they threw four straight incompletions from the Chiefs 5-yard line. They then went for it and were stopped on 4th-and-1 from the Kansas City 1-yard line with just 1 second left in the first half. L.A. was leading 14-10 at the time, so you could argue that taking the points in that situation and going up a touchdown would have been a better choice.

Then in the second half, the Chargers went for it on 4th-and-2 from the Kansas City 28. Again, the pass fell incomplete.

Staley is right to defend the calls. He knows teams typically need touchdowns, not field goals, to beat a potent offense like Kansas City’s. If the Chargers want to win important divisional games, they need to be better on fourth down.

Photo: Oct 31, 2021; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Chargers head coach Brandon Staley looks on during the second half against the New England Patriots at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Tyrann Mathieu had classy response to close win over Chargers

Tyrann Mathieu

You never know quite what you’re going to get out of Tyrann Mathieu at any given moment. We’ve seen The Honey Badger kicked off the LSU squad, get in the face of Tom Brady and disparage his hometown fans. We’ve also seen him dedicate time to feeding those in need.

Following an electric game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday night — a game won by the Chiefs — we saw a subdued Mathieu tip his cap to the Chargers.

Mathieu hit Twitter in complimentary fashion, praising Los Angeles for heading in the right direction.

In addition to his nod toward the Chargers, Mathieu also singled out their quarterback, Justin Herbert.

The Chargers may have fallen on Thursday night, but there’s no denying they are in good hands with Herbert and headed in the right direction. They have the look of an early-exit playoff team right now, but the foundation is being built. Everyone can see that, including Mathieu.

The Chargers and Chiefs have played twice this season, splitting those games. Los Angeles previously picked up a 30-24 victory in Week 3 before losing 34-28 in overtime on Monday night.

Don’t be surprised if Mathieu and the Chiefs meet Herbert and the Chargers one more time this season.

Image: Jan 27, 2020; Miami, FL, USA; Kansas City Chiefs strong safety Tyrann Mathieu is interviewed during Super Bowl LIV Opening Night at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Chargers blow game after multiple 4th-down failures

Brandon Staley on the sidelines

The Los Angeles Chargers lost a great game against the Kansas City Chiefs 34-28 in overtime on Thursday night in Los Angeles after blowing multiple fourth-down situations.

The Chargers turned the ball over on downs three times against KC. The first time came on their opening possession. They got a 75-yard kickoff return to the KC 24 and came away with no points. They ran the ball successfully to the five, and then threw four straight incompletions — three intended for Mike Williams. They didn’t even try another run.

Then before halftime, the Chargers were leading 14-10 and had the ball at the KC five. They had three tries that didn’t result in a touchdown. Then on 4th-and-1 from the 1 with two seconds left, they went for it instead of trying a field goal. They threw yet another incompletion.

It was more of the same for the Chargers in the second half.

They got the ball near the red zone on their first possession of the third quarter. They had a 4th-and-2 at the 28, went for it, and threw it incomplete.

Then on the possession after that, they fumbled at the KC 1. At least they got a turnover back that they turned around and punched in for a score anyway, but the Chargers had way too many frustrating failures to convert.

With the exception of maybe the decision to go for it before halftime instead of trying for a field goal that would have nearly been a guaranteed three points to make it 17-10, nobody should be questioning the Chargers’ decisions to go for it. What they should be complaining about is the failure to execute, as well as the certain play calls.

If the Chargers want to win games — key divisional games at that — they have to be better on fourth downs.

Since we only focused on the Chargers and not the Chiefs, KC’s receivers deserve recognition. Tyreek Hill had 12 catches for 148 yards and a touchdown, while Travis Kelce was even more impressive with 10 catches for 191 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winner.

Photo: Oct 31, 2021; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Chargers head coach Brandon Staley looks on during the second half against the New England Patriots at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Philip Rivers explains origins of his infamous bolo tie

Philip Rivers bolo tie

During some of his later years with the Los Angeles Chargers, Philip Rivers made an interesting fashion choice. He suddenly started donning bolo ties — a decision that quickly went viral and became a regular topic of conversation.

As it turns out however, Rivers didn’t switch to bolo ties simply because he likes them. Rather, he did so in a silent protest against head coach Mike McCoy.

Appearing on Monday night’s ManningCast, Rivers explained.

“I was just trying to buck the system,” Rivers said.

Under Norv Turner, Chargers players had to dress nice on the road. But it wasn’t an overly strict rule and “slacks and a collared shirt” would suffice. That changed under McCoy, who enforced a much more strict dress code.

“When McCoy got there (in 2013), he said, ‘Coat and tie, no exceptions.’ And Charlie Whitehurst and I got in the quarterback room and he said, ‘Hey, you ought to go bolo tie. He didn’t say what kind of tie.’ So that’s where that originated and then it kind of took off from there,” Rivers said.

Although many got a kick out of Rivers’ bolo ties, his wife, Tiffany, did not.

“She hates the bolo tie. I even teased her about it, I said I should go bolo tonight (on TV). She said you’re crazy,” Rivers said, getting a laugh out of both Peyton and Eli.

Ironically — and perhaps intentionally — Eli was wearing a bolo tie.

“You should have. We could have been matching. That would have been awesome,” Eli quipped.

Instead of the bolo tie, Rivers, who is the head coach at St. Michael Catholic High in Fairhope, Alabama, wore a red shirt with his school’s name and logo on it.

Bill Belichick’s defensive gameplan caught Chargers by surprise

Bill Belichick

The New England Patriots picked up their most important win of the season on Sunday in Los Angeles, and Bill Belichick’s gameplan was a big reason for their success. Just ask Justin Herbert.

Herbert completed just 18 of 35 passes for 223 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions against New England. The quarterback was asked about the Patriots’ defense following the 27-24 loss, and he indicated that Belichick threw some things at the Chargers that they didn’t prepare for.

Belichick always seems to make life miserable for young quarterbacks, and that is exactly why. They’re inexperienced to begin with, and he manages to confuse them even more by throwing in looks that they probably haven’t even prepared for in the week leading up to the game. It sounds like that is what happened with Herbert and the Chargers.

Herbert held his own better than some other young QBs have against the Patriots. Obviously, the result was not what he hoped for.

Photo: Dec 29, 2019; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick on the sidelines during the second half of their loss to the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James has quick turnaround after attending Chargers-Browns game

LeBron James

LeBron James was definitely trying to pack as much action as he could into his Sunday.

The Los Angeles Lakers star attended the Week 5 showdown between the Los Angeles Chargers and his hometown Cleveland Browns at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif. The CBS broadcast of the game showed James cheering in a suite towards the end of the first half.

What is notable about James’ appearance though is that the Lakers had a scheduled preseason game against the Phoenix Suns tipping off just hours later. SoFi Stadium is roughly ten miles away from Staples Center, which can make for a seriously lengthy commute in Los Angeles’ notorious traffic, especially on the Columbus Day long weekend. Seeing as the Chargers-Browns game had an afternoon kickoff time, that made for a pretty quick turnaround for James to arrive in time for the Lakers’ game, including warmups and going through his pregame ritual.

Of course, it is only the preseason, and James probably left the NFL game early anyway. But if that was the case, he sure missed one great ending.

Was Justin Herbert’s forward progress stopped on controversial play?

Justin Herbert forward progress

The Los Angeles Chargers were on the wrong end of a controversial call late in their game against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, and it cost them a chance at a touchdown.

The Chargers were trailing 17-14 and had the ball at the Dallas 7-yard line with just over five minutes remaining. Justin Herbert dropped back to pass and ended up being chased way into the backfield by several Cowboys defenders. It looked like he was able to throw the ball away, which would have resulted in a 3rd-and-goal from the 7. Instead, an official ruled that Herbert’s forward progress was stopped. The result was an 18-yard loss.

Here’s the play:

Instead of 3rd-and-goal from the 7, the Chargers wound up with 3rd-and-goal from the 25. They were forced to play it safe and take the field goal to tie the game at 17-17.

Herbert’s forward progress was certainly stopped, but even CBS rules analyst Gene Steratore agreed that the play should not have been blown dead. Herbert was still trying to make a play, and no defender had him in the grasp. We’ve seen similar plays where the whistle hasn’t been blown, so you can understand why the Chargers were upset.

The play actually was not the only one in Week 2 where a controversial call was made regarding forward progress.