The Los Angeles Chargers suffered a heartbreaking loss to their AFC West rival the Denver Broncos on Monday Night Football. After a potential game-tying field goal was tipped at the line, Denver avoided overtime and prevailed 24-21. However, while this team lost tonight, they showed a lot to get excited about. Most of all is that the Chargers kept fighting.
Last season, under then head coach Mike McCoy (now Denver’s offensive coordinator), the Chargers were infamous for blowing leads late in games. This, combined with the immense amount of injuries, led to the Chargers finishing the season with a 5-11 record. In this game, however, they displayed something that they never did in the previous season.
They showed that they are a team who will always try to win, no matter the deficit. They also have the offensive firepower and the defensive strength to overcome huge deficits, as they showcased Monday night.
Despite this disappointing loss, the Chargers have boundless potential in the 2017 season. The details from Monday’s game show how inspiring the Charger’s fourth quarter performance really was.
Week One Los Angeles Chargers Takeaways
Denver has a Winning Formula
Much of the off-season talk concerning the Broncos revolved around their lackluster offense led by quarterback Trevor Siemian. Their offensive line, while not a clear weakness, will not win them any games like the Dallas Cowboys or the Oakland Raiders lines will. However, none of that mattered Monday night.
Because the Broncos have a nearly unassailable position in Mile High Stadium.
The crowd noise produced by the loyal Broncos fans makes audibles and line adjustments impossible for even veteran quarterbacks. Von Miller, the best pass-rusher in the NFL, takes advantage of this eight weeks a season and terrorizes offenses. Philip Rivers is an excellent quarterback (a six-time Pro Bowler) who has seen everything in his time in the NFL, and it was painful watching him struggle to get his troops in position play after play. Rivers was under constant pressure the entire game. Despite the Broncos only getting one sack, most of River’s passes were hurried. The Broncos also boast two fantastic corners in Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr., which gives Miller and company more time to get to the quarterback.
The Broncos are going to be a good team this season regardless of how their offense performs because this is a serious game-changer that only they have in their possession. No other team in the NFL has quite as good a combination of pass-rush, crowd-noise, and exceptional coverage.
This was a game the Chargers were expected to lose. Yet, the Chargers almost pulled it out against an impenetrable defense in an incredibly difficult atmosphere. All because the Chargers kept fighting.
They Stumbled, they Faultered, but the Chargers Kept Fighting
Down 24-7, it would have been easy for the Chargers to give up and let the offense go through the motions for the remainder of the game while the defense got pummeled by the Denver rushing attack. However, the Chargers kept fighting. Rather than second-guess themselves and blame their teammates, they attacked. And they almost won.
Beginning with safety Adrian Phillips snagging an interception, the Chargers offense scored two touchdowns and the defense came up with another turnover. The pass-rush of Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa lived up they hype, and terrorized Siemian in the fourth quarter. Both Ingram and Bosa finished with 1.5 sacks.
There is certainly a lot of room to improve. Had corner Casey Hayward not dropped an easy interception in the first quarter, it might have been a whole different game. Had rookie guard Dan Feeney not blown his blocking assignment on the final field goal attempt, they might have won. They at least would have had the chance.
Bosa’s performance is the perfect microcosm for the game. He failed to do much in the first half and he even looked a little silly as Siemian was able to skirt by him en route to a touchdown. But he kept fighting. He ended up with 1.5 sacks in a solid performance all around.
The Chargers are in the same boat. They took an early beating but came out swinging down the stretch. They have the potential to make noise throughout the regular season.
Win, and Win Over LA
The Chargers were playing an away game in one of the hardest places to win in the NFL in week one, and they only lost by three points on a tipped field goal. Even though they lost, it was a very good performance that bodes well for this team throughout the year. It is clear that Anthony Lynn represents a change for the Chargers. No more lackadaisical play.
With that in mind, the Chargers need to commit all their efforts to winning as many games as they possibly can to cultivate a healthy fan base in LA, with the aim being to create an atmosphere as conducive to winning games as the Broncos have.