Charger fans have found a variety of ways to have their hearts ripped out over the past few years, including the departure of the team from San Diego,… and they found a new way last night.
In fact, last night was kind of a greatest hits of brutal moments. For starters, now that the regular season has started, you’re confronted with the reality that they are in fact the Los Angeles Chargers. After decades in San Diego, that’s a tough pill for many Charger fans to swallow. So it was bad enough that they’re introduced as the Los Angeles Chargers, and then still worse when the referee made this call.
That stings. And no, that’s not some replacement ref going with Urlanda or 93 Red. That’s a regular ref who just said San Diego out of habit. It happens. It happens to us all. And every time it does, San Diego Charger fans die just a little more.
I’m not here to make that worse. I’m not going to remind you all of the 17-point fourth-quarter lead that the team blew in the season opener last year to the Chiefs. Or the bomb to T.Y. Hilton in week 3 last year with less than 90 seconds left that led to a loss to the Colts. Or Drew Brees throwing two touchdowns in the final five minutes to come from behind in Week 4. Or the fumbled snap on a potential game-tying field goal in Week 5. You know what, I’m not going to do any of that.
Because this isn’t about last year, it’s about last night. And last night, the Chargers came out and got steamrolled early. They went into that madhouse in Mile High and struggled to get anything going offensively, while Trevor Siemian went to work on them defensively. It really did not look like it was their night. They were down 24-7 going into the fourth and the Chargers were 1-155 in their history when trailing by 17 or more in the fourth quarter. Game over, right? Wrong.
The defense picked off Siemian with just under 11 minutes and the offense converted that into a touchdown. 24-14. Los Angeles kicked off and Denver gave the ball right back to them on Jamaal Charles fumble. One play later, this happened Rivers throws a touchdown to Travis Benjamin and suddenly that game wasn’t so ugly any more. Denver got the ball back, missed a field goal, and the implosion was on. Except the Chargers couldn’t cash in that blunder, but the defense came up with another big stop, the offense moved into field goal range to set up a 44-yarder to tie the game.
But Denver coach Vance Joseph got the timeout in before the kick, so they had to run it back again. And then this…
Brutal. Blocked. Ball game. Icing the kicker never works, until it does. And in this case, they didn’t ice the kicker, they iced the offensive line. That’s not on the kicker, that was entirely on the o-line. No way you’re kicking over Shelby Harris when he gets through the line like that.
The moment he got his meathook on that kick, Charger fan had to be like, “here we go again.”
I get it. I understand it. BUT I reject it. Because here you don’t go again. Yeah, I said it. There’s no such thing as a good loss, but there is a ton of talent on this team and the way they battled back, on the road, against an elite Broncos defense, was macho. Philip Rivers isn’t here for your toughness, he wants wins. And he’ll get them, because this feels like a different team. And I’m not just saying it because they’re in a different city with a different head coach. They have the look and feel of a different team. Yeah, I said it. Brutal loss. But it says here, this is not the same old Chargers. The same old Chargers would have it happen over and over again: this crew won’t. They just won’t. And I’m going to on record right now with it.