By Dave Thomas
While rookie head coach Anthony Lynn may not be on the hot seat, his players more than likely are.
Not having made the playoffs in four years, the Los Angeles Chargers and their new head coach came into this season looking to reverse recent fortunes. After nine games, it is rather safe to say that the Chargers are getting a step closer each week to the brink of elimination.
Sitting at 3-6 as they prepare to host the 5-4 Buffalo Bills this Sunday in Los Angeles, the Bolts have to put together a notable winning streak or it will be yet another winter watching the post-season from the couch.
Coming into Sunday’s game, Los Angeles is still smarting over yet another game that got away last Sunday in Jacksonville.
In their 20-17 overtime loss to the Jaguars, the Chargers let precious opportunities go by the wayside. As a result, they now pretty much have to run the table to have any shot at an AFC Wild Card spot.
So, will the Chargers be up to the task Sunday against a Buffalo team that just got throttled 47-10 at home last weekend by New Orleans?
Will Chargers Have Old Reliable Calling Signals?
Heading into the meeting with the Bills, the Chargers had something this week that has almost never happened over the last decade-plus.
Veteran quarterback Philip Rivers is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game due to a concussion. If Rivers can’t go, veteran backup Kellen Clemens will get the start.
Rivers, who has started 185 straight games under center for the Bolts, did see full practice both Friday and Thursday after a limited practice the middle of the week.
Meanwhile, tackle Joe Barksdale, who did not practice with the team Wednesday through Friday, is on the shelf with an ankle injury.
Finally, outside linebacker James Onwuala and linebacker Hayes Pullard are both listed as doubtful for Sunday with quad and neck injuries, respectively.
Los Angeles Needs That Hometown Feel
It has been said on numerous occasions, yet it can’t be emphasized enough: The Chargers have little to no home field advantage when it comes to their temporary digs in Carson, California. As such, most visiting teams coming in to the facility for a Sunday game are able to get a good portion of the crowd behind them before long.
When it comes to the Bills, you would not expect a huge throng of Buffalo fans in attendance this Sunday, but stranger things have happened.
Flash back to earlier this season when Miami escaped with a 19-17 win over the Chargers. One watching the game on TV or even live at the event saw a lot of aqua and orange in the crowd.
In order to get a win Sunday, the Chargers will not only want Rivers under center, but they’ll also want a home crowd that cheers them on to a victory. If they get neither, a seventh loss and quite possibly the end of the season in terms of playoff hopes will have arrived in Southern California.
Los Angeles reported the following injury update as of Friday:
- (TE) Antonio Gates (Rest) – Full Practice
- (DE) Corey Liuget (Toe) Full Practice
- (NT) Brandon Mebane (Hamstring) – Full Practice
- (S) Adrian Phillips (Hamstring) – Full Practice
- (LB) Denzel Perryman (Ankle) – Full Practice
- (C) Spencer Pulley (Knee) – Full Practice
- (OLB) James Onwualu (Quad) – Did Not Practice
- (LB) Hayes Pullard (Neck) – Did Not Practice
- (OT) Joe Barksdale (Foot) – Did Not Practice
- (DE_ Chris McCain (Quad) – Limited Practice
- (QB) Philip Rivers (Concussion) – Full Practice