They led Kansas City by as many as seven factors and by 4 factors 5 totally different instances and nonetheless led — 27-23 — within the recreation’s ultimate minute.
They led San Francisco from early within the first quarter till halfway via the fourth quarter and nonetheless had an opportunity within the ultimate minutes till their final three possessions ended with a three-and-out, a four-and-out and an interception.
All these alternatives — and two essential video games — have been misplaced for the Chargers during the last two Sunday nights, their season abruptly edging towards a breaking level with the arrival of Thanksgiving week.
“We played two really tough games in a row in prime time against two really quality teams,” coach Brandon Staley mentioned Monday. “I feel like our level [of play] has been high. I think we know exactly where we stand right now in terms of the context of the NFL landscape.”
On the skin is the place the Chargers stand, at 5-5 and ninth within the AFC, one recreation behind New England, Cincinnati and the New York Jets. The prime seven groups in every convention advance to the postseason.
The Chargers have missed the playoffs in every of the final three seasons and may’t lose too many extra video games to have any probability of ending that streak.
But it needs to be famous that the Patriots, Bengals and Jets all have remaining schedules that seem decidedly harder than what the Chargers are going through.
Over the final decade, the AFC’s seventh-place crew completed with seven losses 4 instances, eight losses 3 times, six losses twice and 5 losses as soon as.
“We definitely know that, right now, we are on the outside of the playoffs looking in,” large receiver DeAndre Carter mentioned. “We have to go get this win at Arizona and, hopefully, put some wins together.”
The Chargers simply misplaced to 2 groups that seem headed to the postseason, the Chiefs sitting atop the AFC at 8-2 and the surging 49ers coming into their Monday evening recreation at 5-4 and seventh within the NFC.
Of the Chargers’ remaining opponents, solely two extra — Miami and Tennessee — seem like playoff members. The Dolphins and Titans are every 7-3 and first within the East and South divisions, respectively.
Both of these video games are at SoFi Stadium, which sounds encouraging however ensures nothing. The Chargers have misplaced their final two at residence and are solely 2-3 in Inglewood this season.
This is a crew struggling to make any assertion at residence, which appears becoming because the Chargers so typically must make use of a silent rely of their constructing.
“We’re just sticking together,” Carter mentioned. “We know that we have a really good team. We have good players in the locker room. We believe in our culture, believe in our coaching staff.”
Beyond Miami and Tennessee, the Chargers’ different 5 remaining opponents have a mixed document of 17-33-1 — a .343 profitable proportion.
Those video games all seem winnable, however the Chargers must produce on the street. They play at Arizona, Las Vegas, Indianapolis and Denver. Their different recreation is towards the Rams at SoFi Stadium.
“What we need to keep doing is making improvements on our football team, continue to get guys back and make that progress going into the next game,” Staley mentioned. “As tough as it is … you can’t let those games affect your next one.”
The Chargers proceed to financial institution on their bettering well being, the most recent addition being large receiver Keenan Allen.
Mike Williams got here again Sunday, too, however didn’t make it via two collection earlier than aggravating his high-ankle sprain from final month. Staley mentioned Williams’ newest tweak was “not a significant re-injury.” The Chargers will know extra about Williams’ availability later this week.
Pro Bowl edge rusher Joey Bosa’s standing additionally stays unresolved. He has missed eight weeks due to a groin damage that required surgical procedure. Staley has mentioned the crew expects Bosa again sooner or later this season.
Linebacker Kenneth Murray Jr. suffered a stinger Sunday evening, mentioned Staley, who added that Murray felt higher Monday.
Running again Joshua Kelley is anticipated again in observe this week. He is eligible to return however stays on the injured reserve record due to a knee downside.
“It’s easy in the NFL when you go through these losing streaks to let people from the outside of the building try and break us apart within the locker room,” Carter mentioned. “But our biggest thing is just us staying together, continuing to work, continuing to trust and believe in our culture and our program, and we’ll get it turned around.”