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Chargers fail to show up against Broncos, earn abysmal game grade


Los Angeles Chargers v Denver Broncos Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

It was a must that the Chargers go into Denver and come out with a victory if they wanted to keep some form of distance between them and the Raiders and Broncos that are both hot on their heels in the AFC West.

I always make it clear that games in the division are competitive, but that’s actually not what this was at all. It was a self-inflicted a**-whooping. The Broncos offense really only left the field when they wanted to. They went 8-of-11 on third downs, consistently getting to their best matchups and exploiting the squeaky wheels on the Chargers’ defense.

On the other side, the offense was uninspiring from the jump. The Broncos were without several key starters and at moments, you would have thought they were facing the defense of that 2015 Super Bowl team.

It was just an ugly performance from top to bottom and it’s no surprise they received an ugly game grade for it. Per CBS Sports’ John Breech, the Chargers deserved a lackluster “D” grade for what they put out there on Sunday afternoon.

“This game was just one disaster after another for the Chargers. Every time it looked like they might be able to get back in it, they would end up shooting themselves in the foot. The most glaring errors came during a second half that included a missed field goal and a pick-six thrown by Justin Herbert, which was one of two interceptions he threw in the game. The Chargers’ offensive line was completely overmatched, which led to a long day for Herbert, who was sacked three times. Defensively, the Chargers biggest weakness is that they can’t stop the run and that weakness was on full display in Denver.”

It’s really frustrating to know that the Chargers’ offensive line was outmatched against a Broncos defensive front that was also shorthanded. It’s never the Chargers unit that’s overachieving. It’s always the opponent that shouldn’t be playing well, that’s finding a way to play above themselves.

Senio Kelemete should likely never see the field again for the Chargers. As a starting lineman or an extra body in heavy personnel packages, it shouldn’t happen. Brandon Staley said postgame that Brenden Jaimes will play when he’s ready, but there’s absolutely zero chance he’s as bad as what the team got out of Kelemete. That was Trey Pipkins-level bad. He was a one-man drive-killer.

Several key drops only further extended the Bolts’ grasp on the league-lead in that category. While Ekeler made up for his first drop with a touchdown catch on the very next play, it was the second ball that ricocheted off his hands that turned into the game-sealing pick-six for the Broncos.

All of this is to say that I agree with Breech’s game grade. Things were just so bad and I already cannot wait for an opportunity to wash off this gross, icky feeling.