Familiar Scenario: Key player injured, costly penalties/turnovers doom Chargers

San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) sits on the bench during the first half of an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Per the usual script, the Chargers played maddening football on Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts.

The 26-22 loss was, nevertheless, hard fought despite multiple self-inflicted errors on the Chargers part, including the game-ending fumble by rookie tight end Hunter Henry.

With 1:12 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Chargers had a chance, albeit a small one, to win the game in the final moments of a sloppy game in Indianapolis.

Instead, a familiar scenario unfolded for this team.

With a key player sidelined (Antonio Gates), a backup was asked to step up.

And despite a solid day overall, one mistake in the game’s most critical moments sealed the Chargers fate.

Now, while Henrey’s fumble proved to be the game-clincher for the Colts, it was a microcosm for a terrible Sunday for the Chargers.

Already without potent offensive weapons’ Keenan Allen and Danny Woodhead, dropped passes, costly penalties, more injuries, and more conservative/questionable play-calling doomed San Diego from what felt like the very start of this game.

The Colts are banged up too, but like the Chargers, they’re just not that good.

This was another game that Bolts should have won, but somehow found a way to blow it.

So now, three weeks in to the season, the Chargers are 1-2, and beat up physically and, clearly, mentally in this young 2016 season.

Coming off a 4-12 season, it seems games like Sunday’s against the Colts, who were winless in their first two games, are becoming more and more common practice for this franchise.

The Chargers have lost 10 of their last 11 road games, and suffered another serious injury to a starting player, this time Manti Te’o who left in the first quarter with an Achilles injury and did not return.

Once again, it goes without saying this team was already down Allen, Woodhead, Branden Oliver, Jeff Cumberland to season-ending injuries, and the in-actives list: King Dunlap, Antonio Gates, Joey Bosa, and Jahleel Addae, was filled with crucial regulars.

Maybe it’s bad luck. Maybe it’s coaching. Maybe it’s just a combination of everything.

The point is, we’ve seen this story for a while now and nothing has changed.

Beating the Jaguars (the Chargers lone road victory in 2015 was against Jacksonville), convincingly or not, is not a feel-good accomplishment

It’s a requirement.

So is winning tough games on the road (or at home), especially when the goal is to play in January.

And, especially, when the goal is win votes in November for a new stadium.

This team just doesn’t have it.

Or any Luck.

Or, more importantly, any hope.


-Andrew Burer (TWITTER: @andrewburer)




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