By Dave Thomas
Safe to say, you’ve probably heard this story a time or two before.
The Los Angeles Chargers found yet another way to drop a game, losing 26-24 at home to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday afternoon. In doing so, the Bolts dropped their ninth straight game dating back to last season, falling to 0-4 for the 2017 campaign.
Despite going up against an Eagles’ squad that has played better than them through three games this season, the Chargers were down only two points late in the fourth quarter. Come up with a key stop here or there and the Bolts would have had a chance to possibly move into range for a game-winning field goal. As it turned out, Philadelphia (3-1) converted a few key third downs and left Los Angeles feeling even worse about its fortunes to date.
Winless on the season, the Chargers will make the cross-country flight to New Jersey and play the New York Giants next Sunday. While this season is all but done for the Bolts, there are obviously still goals to shoot for. Finishing with a .500 record would be one of the first things that comes to mind.
The Bolts also need to have a decent season in order to up their season ticket numbers for next season. Playing in their temporary digs in Carson, California, the Chargers can’t afford a 6-10 or worse season.
As was evidenced on Sunday, there were plenty of Philadelphia fans cheering on their Eagles. If the Chargers continue to play the way they have, those visiting fans could certainly increase over the final five home games of the season.
Despite Los Angeles coming up on the short end yet again, veteran signal caller Philip Rivers did not have a bad day under center. Rivers, who tossed three interceptions a week ago in a home loss to Kansas City, finished this day 22-of-38 for 347 yards and a pair of scores.
Meanwhile, the Chargers continue to try and compete without much of a running game. With starting running back Melvin Gordon still dealing with a knee injury (finished the day with 22 yards on 10 carries), it was rookie back Austin Ekeler who got the team’s lone rushing TD. Ekeler finished with 35 yards rushing on one carry and a touchdown.
In the air, top wide receiver Keenan Allen had five catches for 138 yards, showing once again that when healthy, he’s one of the better receivers in the NFL. The big play of the day on offense was Tyrell Williams (five catches for 115 yards) catching a 75-yard TD pass from Rivers. Tight end Hunter Henry had the Chargers’ other score, that after replay showed that he did in fact get his feet in bounds and keep possession of the ball while falling in the back of the end zone for the team’s final score.
While Philadelphia’s Carson Wentz is certainly not the best quarterback in the NFL, he has shown in only his second year that he is gaining more and more confidence with each week. Los Angeles held Wentz to 242 yards passing and a touchdown, but it was the Philadelphia running game that did much of the damage.
Running back LeGarrette Blount finished his afternoon with 136 yards on 16 carries, with Wendell Smallwood adding 34 yards and a touchdown. Holding a precarious two-point lead late in the game, Philadelphia was able to ground out a couple of first downs via the run game to ice the contest.
While Los Angeles does not have even close to the worst defense in the league through four weeks, it has to tighten the screws if the team wants to get its first ‘W’ of the year. In only the last two games, Los Angeles has now allowed 50 points (24 to Kansas City a week ago). On the day, Jahleel Addae tallied 11 total tackles, and the Bolts only sacked Wentz once on the day (Darius Philon).
Special Teams: B-
Being in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons in the first two games (losses to Denver and Miami, respectively), rookie kicker Younghoe Koo was one-of-one in field goals and perfect (three-for-three) on extra point attempts. Punter Drew Kaser finished with a 47.8 yard average on four punts.
For rookie head coach Anthony Lynn, the beat goes on. Still searching for his first victory as the team’s new on-the-field boss, Lynn has to feel the hot seat getting a little hotter each week. While Los Angeles was not expected to contend for a Super Bowl anytime soon, this team is better on paper than 0-4.
Up Next: Los Angeles heads out on the road for only the second time to date this season, facing an equally hapless 0-4 New York Giants team next Sunday in East Rutherford, New Jersey. It looked like the Giants and Eli Manning would get their first win of the season on Sunday, but host Tampa Bay rallied for a field goal in the final seconds to post a 25-23 win. As Charger fans know all too well, it was Manning who spurned the team more than a decade ago and ended up going to the Giants after saying he would not play in San Diego. That move ended up bringing Rivers to San Diego at the time. To date, Manning has a pair of Super Bowl victories, while Rivers is likely hoping just to get to the big game before his career ends.