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December 1: Kicking the Kicker Woes

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We spend a whole month looking forward to the wonderful presents that December can bring!

This is a great time of year to be thankful for what we have, where we have been, and what the future holds. Although the Chargers have lost their way a bit in recent years, the month of December still holds such incredible promise! This advent calendar is an attempt to hearken back to these days of December joy. Each day will bring a new advent from the Bolts’ history that makes it wonderful to be a Chargers fan.

Dec. 01: Kicking the Kicker Woes in 2018

There’s no need to recap the challenges of the last two seasons, other than to breathe a sigh of collective relief that it is firmly, finally behind us.

It hasn’t been pretty. It has been downright ugly at times, costing the Chargers a playoff berth in 2017 and, surprisingly, not putting a total damper on the first half of 2018.

Since 2016, the Chargers have gone 4-8 in games decided by three points or fewer. When the kicking unit isn’t a solid lock, it puts the entire team in a scary mindset. They know that, if the game comes down to the 4th quarter, getting ‘close’ isn’t close enough.

There was reason to be optimistic in 2017, as Younghoe Koo was a youtube sensation. But after some positive press prior to the season, Koo left quite a stink with the organization that fumbled its kicking competition. This was, however, just another way of maintaining the norm between 2002-2017, as the Chargers ranked 30th out of all teams for clutch kick success. There are some really, really interesting stats at this page if you are quite the nerd and want to find out why the Patriots know they’ve won the game before the ball is kicked (#1, 89.5%), and why the Chargers (#30, 63.6%), Texans, and Panthers are conditioned to chew their fingernails.

The Chargers tried to throw money at the problem in 2018, bringing in Caleb Sturgis to compete w—ohh, right, I said that I wouldn’t need to dig up our sordid past. The point of the matter is that the Chargers, on October 11, 2018 had the right idea in signing Mike Badgley. Ignoring the absolute nonsense of waiving Badgley on October 30 after a perfect game, the Chargers brought him back into the fold on November 5 and both he and the team have prospered because of it.

The ‘Money Badger’ (which is an awesome nickname, btw) has been a perfect 9-9 on field goals and 16 of 17 on extra points. His kickoffs aren’t pretty, but they are improving. Most of the fans would agree that it is more desirable to get those 3-point guarantees at the cost of a few yards on kickoff (the coaches did not agree for one week, but that lesson was learned soon enough).

-Jason “Merry her? I hardly KNOW her!” Michaels