Thank God the bye week is over so we can get back to the thing we all love to do: Talk Chargers football.
The Bolts were at home this past Sunday hopefully getting enough rest and relaxation to really attack their remaining schedule, starting with the Patriots inside SoFi Stadium this Sunday.
While they were off, the NFL still had another week of games. In week seven, the both the Broncos and Chiefs lost to the Browns and Titans, respectively, while the Raiders beat up on an underperforming Eagles team.
Since there was no game this weekend, I wrote about three takeaways I had from this past week regarding the Chargers or either of the other teams in the division.
The Chargers are aware of their non-existent return game
When the bye week arrived, we all knew the Chargers would benefit from making some sort of addition. A big-time trade for a veteran defensive tackle would have been nice, but other needs were also very apparent. Instead of breaking the bank or trading away draft picks, the Chargers decided to make a move to reinforce special teams by signing veteran wide receiver/returner Andre Roberts. Roberts was recently released by the Texans and the Bolts were smart to snatch up a guy who led the league with an average of 30.0 yards per kick return just last year.
I know you may be thinking, “If he’s so good, why did the Texans release him?” While that’s a fair point, the Texans are also one of the worst teams in the NFL and it’s possible their special teams are also pretty bad which means Roberts may not have gotten a fair shot behind a decent coverage unit.
“But Michael, the Chargers also haver a pretty bad unit.”
Again, fair point, but the team also wasn’t putting any kind of reasonable returner back there. It was either a wide receiver who ran a 4.60 or a running back who also ran close to a 4.60. Roberts is a a whole other breed of returner that the Chargers haven’t had since maybe Desmond King, but even he wasn’t as fast as Roberts.
Of course, there’s always a chance for these moves to amount to nothing, but at least the front office was aware that something needed to be done, so I’ll give them kudos for not sitting on their hands during the entire bye week.
Raiders might actually be legit this year
When the Chargers smacked the then-undefeated Raiders earlier this year by a score of 28-14, it was easy to see Las Vegas shrinking back into the team they’ve always been this century. However, the Raiders are now 5-2 after their latest win over the Eagles and are now officially first in the AFC West over the Chargers. If the Bolts want to keep pace, they must come away victorious over the Patriots (3-4) this Sunday to move to 5-2 and tie them at the top of the division heading into week eight.
While the Chargers most certainly have an easier schedule the rest of the year, the Raiders do as well. Las Vegas will get the lowly Giants after their bye while the Bolts travel to Philadelphia to face the Eagles. The next two games for the Chargers are then the Vikings (3-3) and Steelers (3-3) while the Raiders get a sturdier challenge in the Chiefs (3-4) and Bengals (5-2).
Either way, the Raiders have started this year off hot enough that they can withstand a lull in the middle of the season and still realistically finish near or at the top of the division depending on if the Chargers can also take care of business in the meantime.
Has Patrick Mahomes’ luck finally run out?
The past few seasons have been loosely defined by the immense talent of Patrick Mahomes and what he’s been able to accomplishment so early in his career. I mean, the guy has won an MVP award, has been to the last two Super Bowls (and won one of them), and essentially has thrown the most touchdowns of anybody in NFL history through however many games he’s played in up to this point. It’s been incredible. So incredible, though, that the old “regression to the mean” has always been right around the corner for him and the Chiefs offense. As of Sunday, it might be safe to say that the regression is hitting and hitting HARD.
Through the last 16 games Mahomes has played, he’s thrown 16 interceptions. Until this year, he had still yet to throw an interception nor lose a game in the month of September. Both of those facts are now a thing of the past.
I should note that one only of Mahomes’ interceptions this year have come while he was throwing from inside the pocket. Normally, that would tell us his increased turnover rate could simply be due to fluke circumstances, but that’s how Mahomes has built his legend. He’s known for running around, throwing no-look passes, and making the impossible look easy.
Unfortunately, it just looks like all that magic spewing from his arm just run it’s course.