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Chargers Power Rankings Roundup: Bolts take step back after loss to Cowboys

The Chargers came out of the bye looking unlike themselves in their 20-17 loss to the Cowboys on Monday Night Football.

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Dallas Cowboys v Los Angeles Chargers Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

The Chargers dropped their first primetime game of the 2023 season on Monday night 20-17 to the Dallas Cowboys. Justin Herbert and the offense had a chance at the end to either tie or win the game in regulation but Kellen Moore’s unit fell flattest when it mattered most.

The loss drops the Chargers to 2-3 on the season with a road trip to Kansas City coming up on a short week. The immediate outlook isn’t looking all that bright, but the schedule does soften up a bit through the middle parts of the season.

Let’s go ahead and take a look at where the Bolts landed this week!

Sports Illustrated - #11

“I promise this is the last week I keep the Chargers irresponsibly high in my power rankings. But, the loss to Dallas on Monday showed—I think—how close this team really is. Los Angeles played really well against the run and forced Dallas to shift into a kind of jet sweep suite of plays to move the ball on the ground. It worked, as Dak Prescott led the team in rushing. Again, I know that this is going to be a tough sell for most, especially since the Chargers continued to struggle and again eschewed significant points for a broken fourth down play call on the goal line. But I am willing to wait it out.” - Conor Orr

The Ringer - #12

“Monday’s performance probably wasn’t what Chargers offensive coordinator Kellen Moore was hoping for in a revenge game against his former boss, Dallas’s Mike McCarthy. Moore’s Chargers offense scored just 17 points in the loss to the Cowboys, and when it mattered most late in the fourth quarter, L.A. couldn’t handle Dallas’s pressure, and quarterback Justin Herbert threw an interception that killed their attempt at a game-winning drive.”

“But as has been the case throughout head coach Brandon Staley’s tenure with the Chargers, the defense continues to be the weak link. On Monday night, the Chargers had few answers for Dallas receiver CeeDee Lamb, and while they contained the Cowboys run game, running back Tony Pollard had 80 receiving yards.”

“Until the Chargers can win a big game against a good opponent this season—next week against the Chiefs would be a good start—it’s hard to take Staley’s team seriously.” - Lindsay Jones

ESPN - #14

“It doesn’t matter if it is the Aidan O’Connell-led Raiders or the record-setting Dolphins offense; the Chargers have found ways to be in close games each week. All five of the Chargers’ games have been decided by seven points or less. It’s a point coach Brandon Staley has attempted to dismiss. “It’s not college football where, you know, Georgia is playing UAB, you know, or, or Austin Peay,” he said. But at some point, this team will need to become more consistent and put opponents away. Until then, the Chargers will always be a step below the contenders in the AFC.” - Kris Rhim

Yahoo Sports - #14

“Monday night’s loss was the quintessential Chargers game. They had chances to win but somehow lost yet another close game. It’s uncanny how all Chargers losses seem to go that way. The Chiefs are up next on the schedule and L.A. is in danger of digging itself a big hole by the end of October.” - Frank Schwab

Pro Football Talk - #17

“The vultures will be circling for a chance to coach Justin Herbert, soon.” - Mike Florio

USA Today - #19

You can argue they stole defeat from the jaws of victory yet again. Now? Better regroup quickly for a short week that will end in Kansas City against the rested Chiefs … in a game the Bolts really need.” - Nate Davis

The Athletic - #21

“The Chargers defense, which gave up conversions on third-and-19, third-and-6 and third-and-9 on the Cowboys’ go-ahead drive Monday night, is 30th in the league in yards per play allowed (5.8) and 27th in defensive success rate (55.8 percent). The Chargers are a disappointment at 2-3, and it’s particularly acute considering they have only beaten the Vikings and Raiders” - Josh Kendall

CBS Sports - #21

“When will Brandon Staley learn it’s OK to take field goals to tie games? It cost him again against the Cowboys. Typical.” - Pete Prisco