In last week's Throwback Thursday post, we went over arguably the greatest backfield of all-time. This week, well, is pretty much the opposite. It's really hard to put into words how special the 2010 San Diego Chargers special teams unit was. By special, I mean Murphy's Law. It got to a point early in the season where if there wasn't a blunder on special teams in the game, it was a relief. If you don't want to continue, I understand. Feel free to check out some scouting reports from players in the 2014 NFL Draft or take a look at the new 2014 schedule that was just released.
From a DVOA standpoint, the 2010 Chargers were the 2nd worst unit in the NFL. No, not of 2010. Yes, dating back to 1989. It didn't take long for the Special Teams unit to show their true colors.
Week 1: The Monday Night Massacre
The Kansas City Chiefs finished the game with 160 punt return yards. To put that into perspective, the '13 Chargers had 166 punt return yards for the entire season. Go Chargers!
Week 2: The Blocked Punt
The attempt on the end by #88, Kris Wilson, is awful. The classic "ole block."
Not to be outdone by the whiff was the one and only Larry English. Good job, good effort, guys. This was a slopfest all around. The game had a combined 6 interceptions and 3 fumbles. So, it was fitting that there's a special teams blunder.
Week 3: The 2 for 1 Special
This one probably sticks with me the most. I remember watching this game with my dad, who's the most even keeled, low key guy you'll ever meet. He rarely shows emotion. I've never seen him get so mad over something he had no control over.
When you see #30 Donald Strickland come into the picture, tell me what was he doing? Did he think this was flag football?
Unfortunately, the tackling efforts get worse.
My dad was so mad, I was afraid to laugh. I thought it was hysterical. Him, not so much. He was so mad, he didn't know who to blame. He settled on the atrocious tackling, but make no mistake, he was beyond heated at the fact they 1) Kicked it to Leon Washington again 2) Nate Kaeding for the life of him couldn't kick it out of the end zone.
Week 5: Why Even Bother Punting?
Two more blocked kicks. This time, against Oakland. Even as cynical as I am, I refuse to show something that gives Raiders fans dignity. The fact that San Diego managed to have punts blocked on back to back possessions to begin the game has to be some sort of historical football folly. San Diego also had two penalties on special teams. A little cherry on the top.
Week 7: The Missed Field Goal
After the defense got a huge stop on 4th down to get a turnover, San Diego took over the ball late in the game against the New England Patriots. Two completions to Antonio Gates later and the ball is on the 27 yard line. The score is 23-20. Kris Brown comes in and it just felt like the game was headed to overtime. But of course, nothing is ever that simple.
False start, Louis Vasquez. The replay looked like it was on Brandyn Dombrowski, either way, huge 5 yard penalty. Now, Brown has to attempt a 50 yard field goal. I'm no math major, but the odds of a 45 yard field goal compared to a 50 yard field goal are probably different.
5 yards closer, the ball doesn't hit the uprights, right? Thought so.
Week 8: Continuing the Hot Start
Another possession to start the game, another drive that ended in points. A safety. Off of a blocked punt. You wonder at what point do you consider going for it on 4th down? I would be remiss if I didn't mention the 3 penalties on special teams. All holding calls by 3 different players.
Will We See This Again?
There weren't many blunders in the 2nd half of the season, aside for a week 17 kickoff return by the Denver Broncos, that was probably for good measure. As a unit, the 2010 Special Teams racked up 19 penalties and 22 missed tackles. It would be really, really tough to see this duplicated again. The 2010 season was an all-time low. They were 4th in DVOA on offense, and 7th on defense.
This was the year Rivers played at a ridiculously high level throwing to guys like Patrick Crayton, Craig Davis, Seyi Ajirotutu(before we knew him) & Kelley Washington. On defense, it was the year Ron Rivera got career years from guys like Antoine Cason, Antonio Garay, and Antwan Barnes. The fact that the Chargers went 9-7 despite the special teams is pretty impressive. It would take some sort of miracle for any team to put on a "show" like the Chargers special teams unit from 2010.