These are my weekly Chargers Power Rankings. They should be taken very seriously.
Here are some good Chargers (from best to less best):
1) Knowing the Chargers will lose (Last Week: Not Ranked). Impress your friends with unchecked negativity. The Chargers are up by 13 points with eight minutes left? You knew that lead wasn’t safe, and you let everyone in the bar know it. People will respect your sports pessimism. Never change.
2) Philip Rivers (LW: 2). It’s Feel-Sorry-For-Philip-Rivers week. Should he be traded from this terrible franchise? Is his career being wasted? Answers: No and Yes. Most Sundays, he’s one of the few reasons to tune in to the game, much less buy a ticket to Mission Valley’s outdoor drunk-fest (the Murph is made of concrete so they can just hose down your puke later. Perfect!) And no, don’t trade your best player. Find a replacement for Orlando Franklin.
3) Dontrelle Inman (NR). The Canadian Football League product had his best game as a Charger, with seven catches for 120 yards against the Saints. Ask Inman if this season is over. His Toronto Argonauts went 9-9 in 2012 (yes, they play 18 regular season games up there) before winning the 100th Grey Cup.
4) Finding other things to do on a Sunday (NR). You’re not giving up on the Chargers just yet (there’s only two NFL teams with a positive point differential and a losing record, you might tell your friends. Answers: Cardinals, Chargers). But, Bolts games get solid TV ratings in San Diego, so take advantage. It’s never too early to have some activities lined up. Learn a new instrument (there’s untapped talent inside of you waiting to be shared with the world!) Develop an appreciation for post-impressionism art (dude, Paul Cézanne). Take a cooking class and become the next Guy Fieri.
5) ESPN’s Football Power Index (NR). It’s fairly optimistic! A metric that attempts to measure overall team strength and project going forward, the FPI ranks the Chargers 16th in the league (completely average, hurray). And that’s down four spots. Meanwhile, the Raiders are just 13th and the Chiefs 15th. Of course, the Broncos are No. 1. … Looking for positives this week, folks.
6) Jatavis Brown (LW: 3). Led the team in tackles (seven) against the Saints. Small for an inside linebacker at 5-foot-11, 221 pounds, but he looks like a player. (Solid analysis, you’re welcome).
7) Second Quarters (LW: 7). The Chargers have now outscored opponents 58-10 in the second stanza this year.
8) Sunsets (NR). Chargers defeat got you down? Sunset is still after 6 p.m. this time of year. Get down to the beach and contemplate the Earth’s spin in relation to the sphere of hot plasma that delivers us light and life.
9) Spencer Pulley (NR). Another free agent rookie find by the Chargers front office, Pulley, a three-time SEC Academic Honor Roll selection out of Vanderbilt, has received solid marks filling in so far this year. (Don’t they have to put a certain amount of Vandy guys on the SEC Academic Honor Roll? It’s the Stanford of the South, you know).
10) Basketball season (NR). College and pro practices started this week, so get excited. Locally, SDSU’s men’s team looks like a Sweet 16 possibility once again. Or just buy a Kevin Durant Warriors jersey and see what a winning team feels like.
Here are some bad Chargers (from worst to less worst):
1) Dean Spanos (Last Week: -1). Welcome to stadium purgatory, people. There’s almost no chance Measure C gets two-thirds of the vote this fall. There’s very little chance Dean will move the team to Los Angeles to be the junior varsity. Which means … even with the endorsement from the man ranked below, fresh stadium negotiations in 2017. In the words of Bart Scott: Can’t wait!
2) Kevin Faulconer (NR). He waited all this time for this? The San Diego mayor got some concessions from the team and endorsed the convadium this week. Only he knows what was accomplished by waiting until late September to make a decision. The real question is what kind of stance he takes in negotiations after this election.
3) Travis Benjamin (LW: 6). Let’s hear from FOX analyst Ronde Barber on Sunday’s telecast about Benjamin’s costly fourth-quarter fumble: “He just dropped this. … I don’t even know how to say it. An uncontested fumble. Nobody even hit him.”
4) Melvin Gordon (LW: 8). Of course, Gordon fumbled late, too. The Chargers defense had just forced a fourth-quarter punt (yes, you read that correctly) and Mel promptly turned it over. With 6:50 left in the game, even three running plays for no gain would’ve run the clock down to five minutes and allowed a punt to flip the field. Through 18 games, he’s fumbled seven times (and lost five). Let’s hope TV cameras don’t find his mom in the stands the next few weeks.
5) Mike McCoy (LW: -2). Can’t blame McCoy for this one. A conservative, fourth-quarter game plan (with no turnovers) would’ve won this game.
6) Win probability (NR). With 4:53 left in Sunday’s loss, and still ahead 34-21, ESPN’s win probability metric gave the Chargers a 98.3% chance of winning. No team defies the odds like this one. No, really. There’s not another NFL team that’s blown a 13-point, fourth-quarter lead this year. The Chargers have twice.
7) Fourth Quarters (LW: -7). The Chargers have now been outscored by opponents 51-19 in the fourth stanza this year.
8) Joey Bosa (LW: -8). Missed games count: 4.
9) Kevin Acee (NR). It only took four weeks for the local columnist to throw Mike McCoy overboard, penning a “fire McCoy” missive this week (does he have the “Fire Coach X” columns pre-written?) Good news for Chargers fans: Last year at this time, Acee recommended that SDSU axe Rocky Long right before the Aztecs ripped off 10 straight wins to close out their season. That kind of prescient analysis deserves a platform at a major daily newspaper AND as a late-night radio host.
10) Earthquakes (NR). The Los Angeles Times recently described “a swarm of seismic activity at the Salton Sea.” Which is 1) good alliteration, and 2) ominous. Could it portend a “Big One” along the San Andreas fault? Might there be a “double fault” quake that affects other parts of Southern California? Is it finally time to retreat to that cabin in the woods and live off the land? All we have are questions. The future is a mystery.