By Dave Thomas
If there was ever a loss that stung, you could certainly point to Pittsburgh’s wild 24-20 win over San Diego this past Monday evening in front of some 68,000 fans in Southern California.
Leading 20-17 in the game’s final minutes, all San Diego (2-3) had to do was hold the Steelers to a field goal and play for overtime. Well, the script flipped a full 180 degrees when Le’Veon Bell rushed the ball in on the game’s final play to give Pittsburgh (3-2) an improbable victory, leaving San Diego to ponder what could have been.
While teams are oftentimes quick to say that they will put a loss behind them and move on to the next opponent, how could one not be bothered by this defeat for some time to come?
Either way, the focus better be Pittsburgh is in the rear-view mirror and 5-0 Green Bay is definitely on the radar.
Green Bay Looks To Go 6-0
There is never an “easy” game on the NFL schedule despite what some prognosticators might say. To put it lightly, having to play at unbeaten Green Bay this Sunday afternoon could very well be San Diego’s toughest test of the season.
While the Chargers have had to fight and claw their way to a 2-3 mark (leaving them three games behind AFC West-leading Denver) through five games, the Packers have been rolling right along.
Yes, a team without star wide receiver Jordy Nelson for the season and a banged up starting running back in Eddie Lacy, seems to have no problem going out each week and all but dominating its opponent. With Detroit having a down season and Chicago and Minnesota being their usual average teams at best, the Pack appear to be all but assured of winning yet another NFC North crown when all is said and done.
Ask anyone who has played the Packers to date this season and they will tell you that quarterback Aaron Rodgers appears to be playing a level or two above the rest of the league.
Through five games, Rodgers has amassed 1,236 yards passing and 13 TD’s, giving him a solid QB passer rating of 117.4. Worried yet, Charger fans?
San Diego Has Opportunity To Rebound
Despite San Diego’s heartbreaking loss to Pittsburgh in front of a nationwide audience earlier this week, they will go into this Sunday’s game at Lambeau Field with little or no pressure on them.
Sure, going 2-4 and potentially falling even more out of the AFC West race would be disheartening, but probably only those folks in the San Diego locker room think the Chargers have any chance of winning in Wisconsin. With the odds stacked against them, the Chargers could very well use this Sunday’s game as a learning moment, and a moment where they turn their season around.
While San Diego is certainly not out of the AFC playoff race by any means (Chargers probably have a better chance at a wild card than they do overtaking Denver for the division title), it does have to turn things around today and not tomorrow.
Losses like the one suffered versus Pittsburgh can be learning and growing opportunities for teams.
The question is, what will the Chargers do with that experience once they take the field this Sunday in Green Bay?
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 aExaminer.com.