Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE
We close out our 2 vs 7 seed matchups with an all special teams failure.
These start getting a little more difficult to call tomorrow when we get to the middle seeds, but for now we have one more 2 vs 7 seed and they both highlight some spectacular special teams failures. Check out the whole bracket by clicking here.
Our matchup: (2) Nate Kaedng misses three field goals in a playoff loss to the Jets vs. (7) the 2010 Chargers are a special teams disaster.
(2) Poor Nate Kaeding. He's the most accurate kicker in NFL history for most of his career (he might even still be, but that's not important here) and yet he'll be remembered almost exclusively for his playoff misses. I suppose that's life. This game on January 17, 2010 was just incredibly tough to watch. Despite not allowing a first down in the first quarter, the Chargers were unable to take a lead thanks to a missed Kaeding field goal. The offense would manage 7 points in the second quarter and even give Kaeding a chance at 57-yard field goal at the end of the half that he would miss. The defense would let New York on the board with a field goal on their first drive of the half. They would then allow a touchdown when a Rivers interception gave the Jets great field position and finally they would.
After punting the defense would allow a very memorable 53-yard run by Shonn Greene in which Antonio Cromartie ultimately punched his ticket out of town. Down 10 points the offense would get Kaeding in position for an average length field goal that he would miss. The defense and offense would respond by forcing a punt and scoring a touchdown, but a failed onside kick by the Chargers and a successful 4th down conversion by the Jets would ice the game.
(7) The 2010 Chargers gained more yards on offense and allowed fewer yards on defense than any other team in the league despite using an NFL record-tying number of players thanks to injuries and holdouts. Unfortunately, there are three phases to the game of football and they were historically bad in that third phase. They allowed four blocked punts, three kick off return touchdowns and one punt return touchdown. They were the fifth worst special teams unit ever measured by Football Outsiders and they killed any chance the Chargers had of making the playoffs and making a run at a championship.
Which was worse?
One was a season of futility while the other only seemed like it last that long. Both were horrible. Pick your poison. Vote in the poll. Let us know why in the comments.
Which was worse?
(2) Kaeding's three missed field goals (162 votes)
(7) The four blocked punts & four return touchdowns (53 votes)
215 total votes