If Sunday was to be the opening chapter of the Chargers Super Bowl season, it might have caught most of us by surprise. Especially after reading the prologue, which only gushed about how the Chargers had finished last season strong and had greatly improved their team during the offseason. You expected the first chapter to be one filled with tales of our hero dominating his foe. Instead, the first sentence was, “The Chargers appeared to be stuck in cement shoes as they bumbled and stumbled in a vain attempt to tackle their adversary. They never got within an arm’s reach of Hill as he zipped by them to their amazement.”
This chapter could very well be titled, “Chargers’ gaffs cost them the day.” And in the chapter, you could go on to read these snippets.
- Jahleel Addae recklessly plunged ahead with the intent to harm his opponent but was left grasping at air as the weight of his foolish angle sunk in and his foe scampered towards 6 points.
- Travis Benjamin cradled his arms in anticipation of the high flying baby to settle gently into them, but as the football slipped between his elbows, he was reminded of those words his coach used to say, “Catch with your hands, Travis. Catch with your hands.”
- The gunslinger ignoring the fact that this play was taking too long and thus becoming too dangerous zipped a football into a crowd intent on making up lost ground but ended up giving away a good chance at putting points on the board.
- Kyle Emmanuel saw the floating object in the sky and became enamored by it. He forgot all about his coverage and stopped and leaped into the air after the object to only see it float over his fingers and into the opponent’s arms who was standing right where Kyle would have been if he had not stopped running.
- JJ Jones so focused on making a big play forgot the first and second rule of being a punt returner. 1. Secure the football. 2. Make sure you did the first rule.
- Caleb Sturgis felt the pressure. This kick would not only bring his team within distance to tie the game, but it would also bring him a feeling of acceptance with his new club. It was the weight of that pressure that threw off his balance causing the kick to sail wide left.
Seven sentences. Seven plays that turned the Chargers’ Sunday into a loss. But every great story is sprinkled with some adversity, right? Does Luke Skywalker give up after OB1 dies? No, he goes on to blow up the freaking Death Star. If this is to be an epic tale than Chapter 1 was destined to bring some adversity.
And like any good story, there was hope to be found in Sunday’s mistake-ridden loss. The Chargers actually played fairly well on offense minus an interception and some dropped passes. The rushing game produced 123 yards and averaged 5.6 per carry. The passing game produced 424 yards of offense and 3 TDs. They owned the advantage in time of possession by 9 minutes and outgained the Chiefs 541 yards to 362 yards. And keep in mind that 28 points is usually going to win you a game on Sunday.
The defense overall did a fair job against what is one of the better offenses in the league. The held Kareem Hunt and Kansas City running game to 106 yards and a 3.9 average per carry.
If there was another villain in this story besides Tyreek Hill, it was the Charger’s special teams, which was responsible for a 17 point swing. They surrendered the punt return for 7 points, fumbled on the 6-yard line which led to 7 points and missed a field goal wide left leaving 3 points on the field. Those 17 points were the difference in the game.
So, where do we find our hero at the end of this 1st chapter? Is he hopeless or just beaten and bruised and a little more aware of some things that can be fixed? I would tend to think the latter. The dropped passes were uncharacteristic. The special teams coverage can be fixed. The fumble was a lack of focus when it counted most. It’s time to look deep inside and find that hero’s heart because that is what comes next in every hero’s journey.
I expect chapter two to feature a comeback for our hero. Until then, look for hope and Bolt Up!