It is hard to admit, but the Los Angeles Chargers beat themselves. Terrible decisions on special teams and suspect coaching decisions gave New England enough breathing room to beat the Chargers 21-13.
Heading into the bye week at 3-5, the Chargers aren’t out of the playoff picture. The Bolts will need to play a near-perfect second half, but hope still remains.
The line came into this game banged up. Joe Barksdale was ruled out and Matt Slauson suffered a torn pectoral last week. Thankfully, the line was able to hold their own against New England.
Gordon exploded for an 87-yard touchdown with 6:15 left in the first. Gordon’s turf toe appeared to be behind him. Sadly, the Chargers went away from Gordon and leaned on Branden Oliver for a few drives. After rushing for over 100 yards in the first quarter, Gordon ended his day with an impressive 132 yards.
This was by far Rivers’ best game throwing the ball this season. He was on the money today. Bad drops and a pair of penalties brought back a pair of would-be touchdowns. Rivers stepped his game up against the best in the game. He now has to deal with another painful loss at Foxborough.
With less than a minute left, Rivers manufactured a great drive to get at least one last ditch effort to score a touchdown. Rivers threw for 212 yards and a touchdown. In his best effort, his teammates and coaches let him down.
Addae had an awful game. He made some nice stops up front, but he missed crucial tackles throughout the ball game. Aside from his inability to make a one-on-one tackle, Addae got beat in coverage multiple times. Addae has yet again proven that he is nothing more than mediocre.
Benjamin’s might have had the worst punt return in NFL history today. After muffing the catch, Benjamin ran backward into the end zone and got tackled for a safety. His play changed the momentum and led to an embarrassing defeat. Benjamin then tried to play the hero by refusing to get out of bounds after a nice catch with less than a minute left.
Benjamin’s fourth quarter touchdown catch is the only reason he isn’t in the “ugly” category.
Travis Benjamin’s boneheaded punt return aside, the Chargers special teams units were horrendous. Terrible kick return decisions and awful kick coverage were just a start. Add in Nick Novak’s missed field goal, Los Angeles looked terrible in the special teams department.
After Anthony Lynn elected to attempt a 51-yard field goal after Los Angeles’ first drive stalled. Instead of taking a chance on fourth-and-one, Lynn went the conservative route. That was the signal that this would be a long contest for the Chargers.
Along with Lynn’s early miscue, Ken Whisenhunt not feeding Gordon throughout the game was mind-boggling. Gordon was dominating the Patriots front seven and he rarely touched the ball. Hunter Henry was also not involved in the game plan, which has been an issue before.
The Chargers played a very soft coverage against New England today. They allowed the running backs room for easy completions. That isn’t a problem when linebackers and safeties can tackle. That isn’t a skill that Los Angeles possessed on Sunday.
Hayes Pullard, Addae, and others consistently lost one-on-one situations, giving up east first downs for Tom Brady and the Pats.