A few questions into his postgame information convention, Chargers coach Brandon Staley was requested whether or not receiver Mike Williams may have returned after departing the sport within the second quarter with a again harm.
“Possibly,” Staley stated, “yeah.”
Unless Staley makes use of an unconventional definition of “returned” or obtained inaccurate info from the group’s medical employees, he lied.
Quarterback Justin Herbert’s most explosive goal, Williams was unable to stroll on his personal energy in a while Sunday when he made his method to the group bus from the visiting locker room at Empower Field. His arm was draped over the suitable shoulder of a Chargers’ staffer, who held him round his decrease again. Williams shuffled his ft slowly.
Staley was fiery and defensive in his tackle after a 31-28 defeat to the Denver Broncos, his uncommon demeanor reflecting the magnitude of the self-inflicted harm his group sustained in its regular-season finale.
What a debacle.
What an absolute Charger of a debacle.
With the Chargers locked in because the AFC’s No. 5 seed earlier than kickoff, the sport was a meaningless train till Staley determined it wasn’t, and so they now might be compelled to play their postseason opener in opposition to the Jacksonville Jaguars with out Williams, linebacker Kenneth Murray Jr. and edge rusher Joey Bosa.
Staley didn’t simply play his starters in a recreation that didn’t depend. Herbert performed three quarters. Many of the group’s defensive starters performed into the fourth. Receiver Keenan Allen performed the whole recreation.
This was the teaching equal of throwing into quadruple protection, an unforced error that might compromise the championship ambitions of a group that was trending the suitable means on a number of fronts.
The Chargers had a practical path to the Super Bowl, spared a first-round showdown with the Cincinnati Bengals when the Baltimore Ravens misplaced earlier on Sunday.
They had momentum, as they went into Week 18 on a four-game successful streak.
Most importantly, they have been more healthy than they’d been in months, their improved type in current weeks coinciding with the returns of key gamers.
The Chargers haven’t performed a postseason recreation in 4 years and Staley didn’t need them to go in chilly.
“We wanted to make sure that they went a good ways in this football game and competed at a high level,” Staley stated. “When we felt like it was right for them to get out of the game, that’s what we were going to do.”
Give the starters a few drives.
Give them 1 / 4.
Murray exiting the sport with a stinger within the second quarter ought to have served as a warning however Staley ignored it.
Williams departing later in the identical quarter with a again harm ought to have sounded the alarm bells however Staley didn’t hear them.
“This isn’t a preseason game where you have 90 guys to choose from,” Staley stated. “You only have 48 players to choose from. You have to go out there and you have to field a football team.”
The Chargers even have just one Herbert and one Derwin James Jr.
Why topic Herbert to the sorts of late hits he absorbed? So what if backup quarterback Chase Daniel would have performed three quarters?
Curiously, the participant who may have used the additional snaps was the primary participant faraway from the sport. That was Bosa, who was activated the earlier week from injured reserve. Other than Murray, he was the one defensive starter who was taken out within the second quarter. Staley stated Bosa wasn’t injured however contemplating what he stated about Williams, who would consider him?
And to suppose at the present time began with a present from the soccer gods within the type of the Ravens’ loss to the Bengals.
The playoffs are as a lot about whom a group performs as it’s the way it performs and the Chargers caught a break. The third-seeded Bengals are 12-4. The Jaguars are 9-8.
The Chargers have been blown out by the Jaguars at SoFi Stadium in Week 3, 38-10, however the Chargers aren’t the identical group that they have been then. In that September recreation, Herbert was clearly affected by the rib harm he suffered the earlier week. Allen didn’t play. Left deal with Corey Linsley didn’t, both.
In the wake of what occurred of their regular-season finale, the Chargers must be grateful they’re taking part in the Jaguars as an alternative of the Bengals. That was about the one constructive growth for them on Sunday.
Staley made it some extent to take away the franchise’s wretched historical past from the organizational mindset, addressing the topic along with his gamers when he was a first-year coach final yr. He might need now simply game-planned the Chargers Curse again into existence.