By Dave Thomas
If you thought the San Diego Chargers were in danger of missing the playoffs before their 20-16 loss in Miami last Sunday, well, the danger level has risen quite a bit in the last week.
With their third straight loss last weekend, the Chargers pushed their record to 4-6 on the season. While that mark has not eliminated them from AFC playoff contention by any means, it has left them on the outside looking in at the moment. Given the Bolts have five of their final six games against AFC opponents, one more slip up could in essence end the season for them.
San Diego’s attention now turns to this Sunday’s visit to Arrowhead Stadium and a meeting with the 9-1 Kansas City Chiefs. Coming off of a 27-17 loss at Denver (their first of the season) last Sunday evening, the Chiefs will look to keep pace with the 9-1 Broncos who play Sunday evening at New England.
For the Chiefs, last Sunday’s first loss of the season meant no one will further challenge the 1972 Miami Dolphins as the only team to go from start to finish with a perfect record. More importantly for Kansas City, getting back on the winning track against the Chargers would be good considering that the Chiefs will entertain the Broncos the following weekend.
Where Has It Gone Wrong?
Meantime, the Chargers must be thinking only “what if” when they look at the first 10 games of the season.
After finishing September with a 2-2 record, San Diego had the chance to come into the meet of its schedule in November and December with a winning streak and some confidence. Instead, the Bolts have dropped three straight games, two of which were to teams (Washington and Miami) below .500 at the time they met San Diego.
Starting with their trip to Kansas City this weekend, the Chargers will play three out of four games against teams tied for or leading their respective divisions. Although Denver would own the tiebreaker against Kansas City today in having beaten the Chiefs, the two are essentially deadlocked. San Diego’s Dec. 1 opponent, Cincinnati, currently stands atop of the AFC North.
Along with inconsistent play on both sides of the ball this season, the Chargers (specifically head coach Mike McCoy) have been called into question at times as it relates to their play calling. The most obvious situation was the overtime loss earlier this month versus Washington, a game wherein the Chargers had a first and goal at the one yard line late in the game. After a run and two failed pass attempts, the Chargers had to settle for a game-tying field goal (Washington would go on to win in overtime).
Not only has inconsistent play and questionable play calling been an issue at times, but also injuries.
Yes, all teams inevitably have to deal with injuries, but the Chargers have had a sizable problem putting a healthy offensive line out on the field week in and week out. As a result, the team’s running game and quarterback Philip Rivers have struggled at times.
If the Chargers are to keep their marginal playoff hopes alive, a win is a must this Sunday in one of if not the toughest venues in all of the NFL, Arrowhead Stadium.
INJURY REPORT AS OF THURSDAY:
- Safety Jahleel Addae (Ankle) full practice
- Wide receiver Keenan Allen (Knee) full practice
- Wide receiver Vincent Brown (Shoulder) limited practice
- Tackle King Dunlap (Neck) did not practice
- Defensive end Lawrence Guy (Toe) full practice
- Center Nick Hardwick (Neck) limited practice
- Linebacker Jarret Johnson (Hand) did not practice
- Running back Ryan Mathews (Hamstring) full practice
- Corner back Johnny Patrick (Concussion) did not practice
- Wide receiver-kick returner Eddie Royal (Toe) did not practice
- Linebacker Manti Te’o (Elbow) full practice
For more Chargers news and updates, visit Chargers Central.
Dave Thomas has been covering the sports world since his first job as a sports editor for a weekly newspaper in Pennsylvania back in 1989. He has covered a Super Bowl, college bowl games, MLB, NBA and more. His work can be found on Examiner.com.