At 4-7, a win over the 2-9 Patriots was about as needed by the Chargers as it gets. They had already matched their total losses from a season ago entering Week 13 and with six games remaining (most of which are against divisional rivals), they needed to go on some type of run or else they'd risk missing the playoffs altogether. Now, following a 6-0 shutout of New England, the Chargers have at least a chance to string some wins together in an attempt to control their destiny down the stretch.
The only thing fans can rightfully complain about after this win is that it may have been one of the most-boring contests to watch this entire season. The constant downpour in Foxborough made it tough for both passing attacks and the Patriots were the only team that looked capable of running the football. In all honesty, if Patriots running back Rhamondre Stevenson did not exit the game early following a tackle for loss by Tuli Tuipulotu, New England might have been able to pull this one out.
In the end, the Bolts did what they needed to do to win. It wasn't pretty, which is why CBS Sports NFL analyst John Breech could only give the Chargers a "C" grade for their performance.
Here's what he had to say:
"The Chargers finally figured out how to fix their defensive problems: All you have to do is play the Patriots. The Chargers pitched their first shutout since 2014 and a big reason they were able to do that is because they continually harassed Bailey Zappe. The Patriots QB was sacked five times, with two of those coming from Khalil Mack. The defense also came up with two big fourth-down stops in the fourth quarter. The Chargers offense struggled on a wet day in New England, but L.A. did do just enough to set up Cameron Dicker for two field goals inside 38 yards. This was a game the Chargers couldn’t afford to lose and they saved their season by getting the win here."
With Week 13 coming to a close tonight, the Chargers are not as far out of things as they could be. However, they still need somewhat of a miracle to find their way into a wild card spot. Six teams outside of the division leaders currently have a better record entering Week 14: the Texans (7-5), Bills (6-6), Broncos (6-6), Browns (7-5), Steelers (7-5), and Colts (7-5). After a quick scan of the remaining schedules, most of these teams could very well finish 10-7 or 9-8. The Chargers would essentially need to win out in order to solidify a place in the conversation. If they lose more than game from here on, I'd say it's officially on to draft season for everyone.