Things look bad for the San Diego Chargers right now. They're third in the division, and closing in on a .500 record after losing three consecutive games. They are also 1-2 in the division and face a legitimate threat in the Oakland Raiders after the bye week.
After maybe the ugliest loss in the last few decades of Chargers football, a 37-0 drubbing at the hands of the Miami Dolphins, San Diegans are more depressed than when it's cloudy outside. Don't worry, though, good news is on the way.
When Nick Hardwick and Danny Woodhead went out for the year, and then serious injuries kept out Ryan Mathews, Melvin Ingram, and Jason Verrett, it was obvious that there is only one way the Mike McCoy's team is going to make it into the playoffs. Luckily for them, they made this blueprint last season.
In 2013, following major injuries to the offensive line and Dwight Freeney, the Chargers lost three consecutive games in the middle of the season. It included losses to the Broncos and Dolphins, and it game San Diego an 0-2 record against the AFC West.
Slowly but surely, the offensive line got healthier and the pass rush got better with the return of Melvin Ingram. The team rode that wave of late-season health to five wins in the final six weeks and a playoff appearance.
The offensive line will continue to face some hurdles, but the upcoming return of Mathews, Verrett, and (potentially) Ingram could be the shot in the arm the team needs to win six of their final seven games and finish 11-5. Even if that's only good enough for third in the division, it should be good enough for a Wild Card spot.
Can lightning strike twice in the same spot?