In just a matter of weeks, the Chargers playoff odds increase up to 80% from the previous 20-30% they found themselves after 2 consecutive losses. After an incredible win against the Dolphins in prime time, the Chargers found themselves up against an up and down Titans team with one of the best running backs of the past decade – and we all know the mouth-watering matchup Derrick Henry had in front of him.
Let’s just say, it was a scary –and incredibly crucial – game for the Chargers. Especially after the Jets had lost, and a Raiders win against the Patriots was on the horizon. Finally, the Chargers had a chance at taking a firm stance on a bright, shiny Wild Card spot which once seemed likely out of the equation only a matter of weeks ago. Not to mention, while the Chargers have definitely received Christmas blessings in the form of Keenan Allen and Mike Williams on the field; they were also without Rashawn Slater, Joey Bosa, and Derwin James. Once again, things weren’t looking too good.
And yet, we’re beginning to find out a new rule exists: never against Justin Herbert in a one possession game. The game hadn’t gone too pretty for number 10, who already had two interceptions to his name. The run game wasn’t working, either. While the credit will (understandingly) go to Justin Herbert for his late game heroics; one must also point out that the Chargers defense, for just the third time this year – held the opposing team to under 20 points and kept the Bolts in the game.
An Ugly, But Thrilling Win
When the other team scores a touchdown to tie the game with less than a minute left, you expect to play conservative and live another day in OT. However, when Justin Herbert is your quarterback – there’s always a chance. Just a couple of plays later, including a massive chunk play on a beautiful heave to Mike Williams – and yet another signature moment from Cameron “Dicker the Kicker” Dicker.
The game itself was both competitive, while also like both teams took a nap. Ryan Tannehill was beaten up early on, and Derrick Henry was having a sub-par game (by his astronomical standards). The Chargers were doing it! They were effectively holding one of the most dominant running backs of this day & age! Yet and still, the offense was flat – and while they were moving the ball decently, nothing was amounting in points.
Luckily, Ryan Tannehill was pressured consistently throughout the game (even with the Chargers D-line injury blues), and the Defensive Backs did their part, too. All in all, while it wasn’t as dominant of a performance as we saw against the Dolphins – any time you hold another team to 14 is a win… literally. Kudos, Renaldo Hill.
But, as we all know, all that matters is the score at the end of the game. Should Vrabel have rolled the dice and gone for two? Absolutely. Regardless of how the Chargers defense was performing, I don’t care what defense is out there, if you can’t count on King Henry to get you two yards for the win, then there’s other issues at hand. And in complete juxtaposition to the coach on the other sideline (Staley), Vrabel played it safe, and it came back to bite him – well, Justin Herbert came back to bite him, really.
Chargers Playoff Odds
As previously mentioned, the Los Angeles Chargers currently sit at the number 6 seed in the AFC, with an 80% chance at making the post season. With the Colts, Rams, and Broncos ahead – things are looking good. But, as my fellow Chargers fans will know, there’s an all-too-familiar feeling in the air – good old Murphy’s law… Something’s gotta go wrong – but what?
Luckily, to the contrary, it seems as though the Chargers have already faced that problem. I don’t need to remind everyone of the injuries. I don’t need to remind everyone of the games that could’ve/should’ve been won. This is where the Bolts stand now, and it feels anxiously good – like butterflies. But, knowing that things couldn’t possibly go worse than they already had earlier this year, us Chargers fan can breathe easily.
Sure, JC Jackson’s arrest on Monday is a bummer, but he was already out for the season – and for a guy who’s never had a character issue in the past; you can hope it’s a one off, and not a distraction. Brandon Staley issued an encouraging update on Joey Bosa and Rashawn Slater – hinting at the notion that Slater’s return is, “…not impossible, that’s for sure.” In the words of “Dumb & Dumber”… so, you’re telling me there’s a chance?
Jokes aside, it’s not just the progress in recovery that’s exciting – it’s what the Chargers have been able to do without these two that’s the really impressive part. With Sunday’s win, the Chargers have officially gotten hot at the perfect time, while the Jets and Patriots are losing steam. The best part? The validation on a national level of the franchise gunslinger – just give him Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, and all is well.
Moving Forward: Christmas Edition
Whether or not the Chargers receive a Christmas present in Rashawn Slater, Derwin James, or Joey Bosa coming back to play-able health or not; the real Christmas present and blessing in disguise is the Chargers remaining schedule. And on theme, what an absolute gift it is that the only perceivable threat on the Colts’ roster in Jonathan Taylor, is looking like he’ll miss the rest of the season. PHEW.
Sure, the Rams have a bit of new life with Baker Mayfield, but they also don’t have Cooper Kupp or Aaron Donald. As long as Justin Herbert has any sort of pulse – the Bolts should be ok. Thumbing through the matchups this game possesses, the only scary sight on the Rams’ roster is Jalen Ramsey. Big whoop, you can either stop Mike Williams or Keenan Allen – pick your poison. Advantage Chargers.
To finish the season, the Chargers will most likely collectively yell “let’s ride” as they finish strong and head to the playoffs. Ironically, it’s a bit irrelevant to whether or not Russell Wilson will play (wow, I never would’ve expected to write that). On a serious note, this game does pose the most serious threat to the Chargers playoff odds. That’s right, I said it. And it’s not because of Russ, it’s because of the eternally solid Denver Broncos run game, and their incredibly sturdy defense in place.
Sure, there’s a lot of variables in place for this one – how the Jets/Patriots/Dolphins have been doing, if the Chargers have actually won the previous two, etc, etc. But that’s why you love football. Every game, especially this finale, is like opening up a present – will it be exactly what you wanted, or another pair of lame socks that no one needed.
We’ll cross that bridge when we get there, but for now, it’s HO-HO-HERBERT as the Chargers slide into the Holiday season with spirits high…
For More Great Football Content
Follow us on Twitter at @GridironHeroics for more great content. We appreciate you taking time to read our articles. To interact more with our community and keep up to date on the latest in Football news, JOIN OUR FREE FACEBOOK GROUP by CLICKING HERE