LA Chargers Squeak by Bears
Improve Dismay Record to 3-5
October 31, 2019
Hall of Fame Coach Bill Parcells once said, "There is winning and then there is misery." For the Los Angeles Chargers, there has been a lot of recent misery. The Chargers, losers of five of their last six games, traveled to Chicago in desperate need of a win to keep their fading playoff hopes alive. What they found was Lady Luck in the form of the Chicago Bears.
The Chargers finally got a break when Bears kicker Eddy Pineiro missed a game winning 41-yard field goal attempt, giving the Chargers a 17-16 victory in the Windy City. It was the second missed field goal attempt of the day for Pineiro, who also missed a 33-yard field goal attempt in the first quarter. "I hit the ball as best I could and tried to play the wind a little bit," Pineiro said after the game. "I just didn't make it."
The win improved the Chargers record to 3-5. The loss dropped the Bears to 3-4. The Chargers were outplayed throughout the game. The Bears controlled the ball for 38 of the 60 minutes in the game. The Bears had 26 first downs to 11 for the Chargers and outgained the Chargers in yardage, 388-231.
For the fourth consecutive game, the Chargers rushed for less than 40 yards in a game. That had never happened in the Super Bowl era and had not happened in the NFL since 1946. The Bears outgained the Chargers on the ground, 162-36.
Charger head coach Anthony Lynn was well aware of how fortunate the Chargers were: "When a team holds the ball for 38 minutes, normally you're not in the game, but I think because of the turnovers in the fourth quarter, which we needed and the defense in the red zone, that obviously helped," Lynn said. "The offense stepped up when they had to, and the special teams' coverage was outstanding."
The Chargers fell behind early 6-0 on a pair of Pineiro second quarter field goals. The Chargers came back in the same quarter, scoring on a 19-yard touchdown run by Melvin Gordon, to take a 7-6 lead. The score was set-up by a 43-yard bomb from quarterback Philip Rivers to wide receiver Mike Williams. The Bears took a 9-7 lead at halftime on a third Pineiro field goal. In the second half, the Bears took a 16-7 lead on a David Montgomery four-yard run.
The Chargers closed the cap on a 20-yard Chase McLaughlin field goal, which capped a 14 play, 73-yard drive. The Chargers took the lead for good when Rivers connected with running back Austin Ekeler for an 11-yard touchdown pass, with 8:04 left in the game. The winning score was set-up when Bear quarterback Mitch Trubisky was sacked and fumbled, with the fumble recovered by Melvin Ingram at the Bear 26-yard line.
Rivers did not have one of his better days, completing 19 of 29 passes for 201 yards, with one interception. On the defensive side, Joey Bosa had an exceptional day, with seven solo tackles, two sacks and four tackles for losses. Safety Roderic Teamer had eight solo tackles and one sack. McLaughlin, who missed a 42-yard field goal in the second quarter, was released two days after the game. Kicker Michael Badgley, who has been out with a hamstring pull, is expected to return on Sunday.
Due to the struggles of the offense, the Chargers decided to fire offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt after the win over the Bears. In a statement, Lynn stated: "This is not an easy decision and definitely not one that I take lightly. You win as a team, and you lose as a team. It's never about just one person. At the end of the day, however, I simply felt a change was needed at this time. I want to thank Ken for his years of service to the Chargers organization and wish him nothing but the best moving forward."
Whisenhunt was the Chargers offensive coordinator in 2013 and from 2016 through 2019. He was the PFWA NFL Assistant Coach of the Year in 2013. Whisenhunt was also head coach of the Tennessee Titans from 2014-2015 as well as a stint as head coach with the Arizona Cardinals from 2007-2012. Whisenhunt led the Cardinals to the Super Bowl in 2008, losing 27-23 to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The schedule does not get any easier for the Chargers with the Green Bay Packers coming to town. The Packers are 7-1 and are in first place in the NFC North. They have a future hall-of-famer at quarterback in Aaron Rodgers. The game will be played on Sunday, Nov. 3, with the game scheduled to start at 1:25 p.m. at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson. The Packers bring a high-powered offense led by Rodgers and the Chargers will need to keep up. It should be entertaining.