Nail in the Coffin: Week 10 vs. Buccaneers

Al Messerschmidt

Oh I'll show you some negativity...

Before we get too concerned with how many people complain on the Internet, let's take a look at the four plays that cost the Chargers a victory against the Buccaneers. I bet you remember at least one of them...here's the winning probability graph this game produced.

Key Play #1: 4th and 1 at 50, 21-17 Chargers

Winning Probability Before Play: 68%

J.Freeman up the middle to SD 46 for 4 yards (S.Phillips)

Two things to note before we look at the play: 1) this is a very short 4th and 1, 2) the Chargers have stacked the strong side of the formation, leaving just one down lineman to the left of the center as you can see below.

After the motion, the Bucs essentially created a four vs. one situation (five if you count Freeman). The Chargers were so unprepared for this sneak that Freeman gains four yards on a play designed to gain three inches. There's no one in the area to even deliver a hit on him as he flies through the pile.

Winning Probability After Play: 58%

Key Play #2: 1st and 10 at SD 46, 21-17 Chargers

Winning Probability Before Play: 58%

J.Freeman pass deep left to V.Jackson to SD 15 for 31 yards (E.Weddle)

This is the first down resulting from the previous 4th down conversion by Freeman. At the snap, Weddle FLIES to the deep middle zone, leaving Cason one-on-one with Jackson. However, it looks like Cason thinks he has help over the top, as he bumps Jackson and then lets him run. Meanwhile on the other side, the safety has bitten on play action, leaving the Chargers with only two defenders that are more than ten yards beyond the line of scrimmage. Freeman's toughest choice to make on this play is which throw is going to be the prettier highlight.

Winning Probability After Play: 52%

Key Play #3: 1st and 10 at SD 15, 21-17 Chargers

Winning Probability Before Play: 52%

(Shotgun) J.Freeman pass short middle to T.Underwood for 15 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

After the long pass to Jackson, Freeman comes out throwing again. The Chargers initially have good coverage on this play, though there's hardly any pass rush as Freeman has a clean pocket in front of him. However, the coverage breaks down when Tiquan Underwood just kinda...runs around Demorrio Williams. I don't know who else Williams thought he had to pick up in the area, but alas he doesn't turn his head and it's a TD for the Bucs.

Winning Probability After Play: 37%

Key Play #4: 3rd and 4 at TB 23, 24-21 Buccaneers

Winning Probability Before Play: 52%

(Shotgun) P.Rivers pass short right intended for E.Royal INTERCEPTED by L.Johnson at TB 17. L.Johnson for 83 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

I go through a roller coaster of emotions every time I watch this play. It starts off promising, as Rivers finally gets good protection! Except it appears the habitual lack of protection takes its toll, as Rivers starts his gallop out of the pocket (missing Gates for an easy first down conversion). As Rivers lumbers to his right, Eddie Royal DOES get behind the secondary, and I DO see what Rivers is trying to do, but sadly his heroic journey in the open field falls short, and he ends the game with a backbreaking pick.

Winning Probability After Play: 13%

Links to previous editions of Nail in the Coffin:

Week 8 vs. Browns

Week 6 vs. Broncos

Week 5 vs. Saints

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