Yeah, so that was unpleasant. At least the 49ers lost, so we don’t have to listen to their shit about being the best team in the division. At your home opener? For your new stadium? Against the Bears? Who blew up my Eliminator spot in week 1 because they couldn’t beat the fucking Bills at home?
Let’s start over.
Yeah, so that was unpleasant. It was over 100 degrees on the field. The Chargers’ offense held the ball for over 40 minutes. We couldn’t get them off the field on third down, so they had a bunch of long drives. And, frankly, we weren’t NEARLY as efficient on offense as I thought we’d be.
Yesterday’s game was my worst nightmare. If I could conjure a nightmare scenario as it applies to the San Diego Chargers, yesterday was it. Philip Rivers being all efficient and getting the ball out quick. Our defense being faced with lots of 3rd & shorts that we can’t stop from converting. The Chargers running up the score and us helplessly flailing 1-2 scores behind every step of the way. A last-gasp effort with time running out at the end of the game, squashed by what’s normally a fairly ordinary pass rush (made all the more effective because the threat of the run has been taken away).
Every loss is a team effort. But, I like to point to certain plays here and there that essentially “flip” a game like this.
4:13 left in the 3rd quarter. On 3rd & 7, Rivers scrambles out of bounds at the Seattle 23 yard line for a 1-yard gain. If that play stands, it’s a 40-yard field goal try to make the score 23-14. If we’re lucky, he misses that field goal and it’s still a 1-score game. The only problem is, Bruce Irvin needlessly shoved Rivers when he was two feet out of bounds to give them a first down. That not only kept our defense on the field for another minute and change (and another three plays in that oppressive heat, when they collectively thought they’d done enough to get the offense off the field), but it eventually gave San Diego another touchdown and a 27-14 lead.
That’s a big play. The Seahawks went and drove for a touchdown on the very next drive to bring it back to a 1-score game, but ultimately that’s where we stalled. That’s ultimately where both teams stalled, as neither one of us could do much in the fourth quarter.
However, there’s a BIG difference between being down by a field goal and being down by a touchdown. Yes, you can argue that the Seahawks didn’t do much of anything on offense after they got to 21 points, but I can argue that the play-calling probably changes when we only need 3 points to win instead of 7. Of course, that goes both ways, but with only a 1-score lead, I can assure you that the Chargers were most definitely playing to get another field goal and make it a 2-score lead. You’re playing the champs, how could you not?
The other thing I’ll say is, holy Hell were the Chargers lucky! Their offense put the ball on the turf three times and they recovered all three. Play that game again 100 more times and you might not see them recover all three again. That’s some flukey shit right there. On top of that, there was the Harvin fumble on the kickoff return where you see him bring his other arm to wrap up and protect the football right before he’s hit; I STILL don’t know how he let go of that ball! They got that one too, to account for four fumbles in total. That’s just unreal, plain and simple.
The bottom line is, though, the Chargers did it. They took it to us, they played their little hurry-up offense to keep us from substituting as much as we’d like, they took advantage of the oppressive heat, and they kicked our asses. What does it mean? Not much. In the long run, this isn’t a bad loss to have. And not because too many on the Seahawks were “arrogant” or otherwise not taking the game seriously (which I don’t believe for a second); and not because the Chargers “wanted it more” or it was otherwise “more important” to them (which is complete and utter bullshit; it was equally as important to both teams).
Why isn’t this bad? Because they’re in the AFC. Losing games to teams in the opposite conference isn’t as bad as losing them to teams within your conference (or division, for that matter). It won’t factor in any tie-breaker beyond overall win/loss record. On top of that, the Chargers aren’t going to be in the Super Bowl. We’re not going to have to see them again this year or in any of the next few years. This is exactly like the Colts loss last year: essentially meaningless, and taking place early-enough in the season to not be a total burden.
What did this game prove? That we’re not perfect. That our defense isn’t infallible. That we struggle like most teams would in 100+ degree weather on the road. That it takes pretty much everything going against us for another team to make us look bad. They had the breaks. ALL the breaks. We had a Percy Harvin touchdown where his foot looked like it touched the sideline (but, still, with the way we moved the ball, I’m pretty convinced we still would’ve scored the touchdown on that drive anyway).
This isn’t the same as losing to the Broncos, or the Packers, or the 49ers. This is an anomaly. The Chargers didn’t unlock some secret treasure chest that has the power to shut us down. They just out-played us and got REALLY lucky in the process. I’ll be more concerned if the Broncos come to town next week and do the same thing.
The NFL schedule-makers really screwed us to start the season. Three games and then a BYE, with all three games being three tough matchups. We were near-flawless in the opener, and we sunk like a stone yesterday. After Denver and the week off, we go on a nice little run of patsies: Redskins, Cowboys, Rams, Panthers, Raiders, Giants, Chiefs, and Cardinals. Four on the road, four at home. No reason to think we won’t go 8-0 in that stretch. Losing one (or two) AFC West games shouldn’t be a problem if we take care of business the rest of the way.
I don’t have a lot of kudos to spread around. I thought Kearse looked really good. Lynch still looks like an animal out there. Zach Miller had one of the worst games of his career. Doug Baldwin had a couple drops of balls he normally brings in. I thought the Seahawks were being dummies by constantly leaving a linebacker (mostly Wright) on Antonio Gates after he started torching us. I thought the pass rush was decent, but could rarely get all the way home (and that was a big problem against a pro like Rivers). I thought the offensive line looked good, but there were key mistakes and penalties that ultimately prevented us from getting to 30 points. Russell Wilson didn’t play his greatest (one play in particular was a missed opportunity: a fly sweep to Harvin looked like it could have been pulled back for a QB-keeper for a long gain, as there was nothing but green to the right of the line; in the end, the sweep to Harvin ended up being a huge loss and helped stall a drive late).