Now that the dust has settled from the huge disappointment last week, is it time to pack it in for 2016? Are we as fans just setting ourselves up for misery and pain? Not so fast…
Yes, the Chargers again had an epic collapse after getting out to a huge lead over division rivals, the Chiefs. Yes, the Chargers lost their most dynamic offensive threat in Keenan Allen. And yes, Mike McCoy is still the head coach of this football team. With all of that, I do not believe this season will look like last. I expect some more success not only in 2016 but starting with a win this Sunday against the Jaguars a home.
We all know that the Chargers have blown big leads in their openers in three of the past four years. In 2013 they blew a 28-14 lead over the Texans, 2014 blew a 17-6 lead over the Cardinals and the latest fourth quarter choke was 2016 a 24-10 lead over the Chiefs. This has been the verdict for the Chargers history of choking week one. However, what does not get mentioned is their recent history in game two.
In 2013 the Chargers traveled to Philadelphia to take on the Eagles in a week two matchup. The Eagles were coming off a convincing win over the Washington Redskins the week before behind first-year head coach Chip Kelly and quarterback Mike Vick. The Eagles were 9.5 point favorites against the Chargers after the Chargers debacle against the Texans the week before. The Chargers came in and stunned the Eagles with a 33-30 win. Phillip Rivers took over that game passing for 419 yards and three touchdowns despite losing his best receiver Malcom Floyd to a neck injury (sound familiar).
In 2014, the Chargers welcomed in the reigning super bowl champion the Seattle Seahawks. The Chargers were 5.5 underdogs at home but came away with a 30-21 win over Marshawn Lynch, Russel Wilson, and Pete Carrol. Again a shocker for the NFL after the Seahawks dismantled the Packers on opening week. The Seahawks even had extra rest playing the Thursday before; making a Chargers win even less probable. Again the Chargers won behind a strong performance from Phillip Rivers throwing three touchdowns to Antonio Gates.
Now in 2016 against the Jaguars, will the result be the same? The Chargers are 2.5 point favorites at home, they are playing a Jaguars team that is improved but has struggled against the Chargers recently winning against the Jags in three straight years. I expect Rivers and company to play well and capture a victory at home.
The bottom line is the Chargers blew game one, but according to history, the Chargers will rebound. The question needs to be asked was last year an outlier for performance from this team or the new normal? The Chargers should feel like they can at least win 8 with 17 still leading the offense but as was the case last year you just never know. That’s why they play the games. Don’t panic yet, but tune in Sunday to see if history repeats itself week two.