The talented Los Angeles Chargers traveled to face the Houston Texans without Brandin Cooks in a game LA should’ve won easily.
However, just when you thought the NFL regular season couldn’t get more unpredictable, the Chargers left Texas with an ugly loss and proceeded to drop out of the AFC Wild Card standings for the time being. It was a strange outing for LA, and head coach Brandon Staley shouldered all the blame after the game.
Brandon Staley takes all of the blame after frustrating loss to Houston
Who saw Rex Burkhead exploding and scoring two touchdowns? Who predicted rookie Davis Mills to lead a COVID-19 stricken team to victory over the Chargers?
Nobody. Yet, it happened, even with Houston missing a total of 18 players in COVID-19 protocols. The LA defense got burned again, and Staley took all the blame after the loss (h/t Daniel Popper of The Athletic).
“I just didn’t coach well enough today. I didn’t coach well enough, didn’t put our guys in good enough positions to be consistent in the game. And that’s why we lost.”Brandon Staley on loss to Texans
Accountability. At least that’s something that the Chargers have in their head coach after years of Anthony Lynn, Mike McCoy, and Norv Turner running the show.
Now, keep in mind that Joey Bosa was out, Derwin James Jr. didn’t play, and Austin Ekeler and Mike Williams missed the contest. None of that matters, though.
Simply put, this Chargers team — depleted as they were — should have defeated the Texans with ease.
The Chargers offense couldn’t overcome a lousy performance from the defense
Just a couple of weeks ago, this team hung tough with the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday Night Football before a Travis Kelce game-winner handed the Chargers the defeat.
Herbert was electric against the Chiefs despite the loss, but the young quarterback struggled against a patchy Texans defense — one that was missing eight starters.
Herbert finished the game 27-of-35 for 336 yards and a score, which isn’t bad, but threw two interceptions — including a pick-six late in the fourth quarter to essentially end the game. But, the first pick thrown was a very questionable decision from Herbert.
Ultimately, the defense flopped in this one. Burkhead had 149 yards on the ground, Mills threw for 254 yards without his top pass-catcher, and the Chargers defense only sacked Mills one time in this game.
For perspective, the Texans sat at or near the bottom of the NFL in points scored and every yardage category (yards per game, rushing, and passing yards) but touched the Chargers’ defense for a total of 437 yards. Yikes.
That won’t get it done, and this is a massive red flag with only two games remaining and the Chargers playoff hopes in shambles.
The Chargers’ playoff hopes just took a massive hit after another ugly performance
Entering Sunday, the Chargers were hanging on to a Wild Card spot. But, not anymore.
The loss to the Texans and some other things in the AFC have bumped the Chargers down to an 8-7 record.
The AFC is a hot mess, and now the Chargers are on the outside looking in. The final two games come against the Denver Broncos and Las Vegas Raiders, and they likely need to win both just to have a good shot at sneaking into the playoffs.
Eight teams for three spots, and the Chargers went from controlling their destiny to relying on others to secure a playoff bid, and Staley knows the odds are tough (h/t Daniel Popper).
“This is the tough side of the NFL. It’s been a fight this entire season for us, and it’s going to continue to be that way. We still have a lot in front of us that we can play for.”Brandon Staley
What a difference a week can make, and hopefully Staley can have this team ready to roll in Week 17 against the Broncos.
Stats Courtesy of Pro Football Reference