The Chargers won their third consecutive game, furthering their push into the NFL’s top 10 teams.
They’re now bound for the playoffs and now can spend the next two weeks getting as healthy as possible while knowing they are no longer needing to scratch and claw their way into the postseason.
I’m not sure what the next two weeks will look like, but you can sure bet they’ll be the two least-stressful weeks of the entire season.
With that said, let’s go ahead and take a look at where the Bolts ended up in this week’s power rankings roundup.
Sports Illustrated - #7
“The Chargers clinched their first playoff appearance since 2018 on Monday night. It should deflect some lingering questions about the direction of the franchise for now, especially when their situational running game works as well as it did against the punchless Colts.” - Conor Orr
NFL.com - #8
“The Chargers are in the playoffs for the first time in the Justin Herbert era. Monday’s 20-3 win over the Colts was far from a thing of beauty, but the Bolts deserve credit for taking care of business and removing any anxiety ahead of the final two weeks of the regular season. (This was hardly presumed given the sordid history of the franchise in similar situations.) Austin Ekeler scored two more touchdowns, and the Los Angeles defense held a tepid Colts attack to just 173 total yards with seven sacks (a season high for the Bolts), three interceptions and zero first downs on 10 third-down conversion attempts. If the Chargers can get both sides of their game synced up, they will be a very tough out in January.” - Dan Hanzus
Bleacher Report - #8
“The Los Angeles Chargers entered Week 16 playing some of their best football of the season, winners of three of four to climb back into the thick of the playoff chase.”
“Improved defense has been part of that surge, and inside linebacker Drue Tranquill told Daniel Popper of The Athletic that weekly players-only meetings have helped fuel the defensive turnaround.”
““It’s personal accountability,’ Tranquill said. ‘It’s us saying, ‘Hey, this is what we’re supposed to be doing, and, look, you’re not doing it.’ Because we all want the same thing. We all want to be great. We want to be the best run defense. So I just think the communication, the clarity, the expectation for one another, I think it’s great.’”
“‘And I think if you’ve seen anything the last two games, it’s swarm and strain. It’s been nothing more. Go watch the number of guys getting off blocks the last two weeks as opposed to other weeks, and then go watch the number of guys attacking the ball on the ball carrier as opposed to weeks prior. We’re getting two, three guys to the ball, and a big part of it is these meetings.’”
“If Monday night’s dismantling of the Colts was any indication, the Bolts should keep having the meetings. Los Angeles allowed just 173 yards of offense and forced three turnovers.”
“The win puts the 9-6 Chargers into the postseason, and with the Rams and Broncos on the schedule to close out the regular season, hitting the playoffs on a five-game win streak is a real possibility.”
“We saw just last year with the Cincinnati Bengals what a peaking team can do in the playoffs.” - NFL Staff
Pro Football Talk - #9
“If they fully unleash Justin Herbert, they can hang with anyone.” - Mike Florio
Sporting News - #9
“The Chargers are surging at the right time with Justin Herbert and have also find more of a running game to match their passing juice with Austin Ekeler and others. Watch out if their defense can keep making more of an impact.” - Vinnie Iyer
The Ringer - #9
“The Chargers clinched a playoff berth with their convincing win over the Colts on Monday Night Football. Justin Herbert is as good as any quarterback in the NFL, and now Brandon Staley’s defense is gaining steam (though it helps to play an inept offensive team like Indianapolis). It’s not outrageous to imagine the Chargers as a legitimate Super Bowl threat if they can continue to produce on both sides of the ball.” - Austin Gayle
CBS Sports - #9
“They are going to the playoffs, where they will be a tough out with Justin Herbert as their quarterback.” - Pete Prisco
USA Today - #9
“No messing around until Week 18 this year. Bolts are playoff-bound for the first time since 2018 and, as they continue to get healthier, will continue to loom as a team few will want to face.” - Nate Davis
ESPN - #9
“After undergoing several roster upgrades during the offseason, the Chargers seemed destined for a deep playoff run. But that goal appeared largely upended by a plethora of injuries on both the offense and the defense. A late-season two-game losing streak looked like it would turn into three against the Cardinals, until — with 1:48 remaining in the game — quarterback Justin Herbert put together a seven-play, 38-yard touchdown drive to pull L.A. within a point at 24-23. With 15 seconds left, coach Brandon Staley elected to go for a 2-point conversion and the win, and Herbert connected with tight end Gerald Everett. That drive proved the Bolts were not ready to merely fade into the background but were instead willing to fight for a first playoff berth since 2018.” - Lindsey Thiry
The Athletic - #10
“If the Dolphins finish the season without another win and the Titans don’t win their next two games, the Chargers will enter the playoffs without defeating a team with a winning record. That’s OK. They’re playing their best football of the season when it matters most, with the majority of their most important players getting healthier at the right time. One aside — if the emphasis point on hits like the one that disqualified Derwin James Monday night is about eliminating those plays from the game, maybe we don’t need to see the replay 15 times.” - Bo Wulf