LA Chargers Lose to Denver Broncos

Playoff Hopes Dashed after 4-8 Season

The 2019 Los Angeles Chargers season has reached a point after thirteen weeks that almost no pundit thought would occur. The Chargers are essentially done for the year. Their hopes for the playoffs are basically over after a 23-20 loss in Denver to the Broncos. They have four more games on the schedule but with a record of 4-8, this team is not going to the playoffs.

The Chargers lost another heartbreaker on Sunday against the Broncos, with Bronco kicker Brandon McManus nailing a 53-yard field goal as time expired to give the Broncos win. The Broncos improved to 4-8 and completed a season sweep of their AFC West division rivals.

The Chargers are now 2-8 in games decided by seven points or less. They have lost three consecutive games.

For the second time this season, the Broncos took a 14-0 lead on the Chargers in the first quarter. In this game, rookie quarterback Drew Lock drove his team 80 yards in 12 plays, with the touchdown coming on a 26-yard strike to wide receiver Courtland Sutton.

That gave the Broncos a quick 7-0 lead. On the next series of downs, Charger quarterback Philip Rivers threw a screen pass that was intercepted by Broncos defensive lineman Dre'Mont Jones, setting up great field position just 18 yards away from the end zone.

Six plays later, Lock again found Sutton in the end zone for a five-yard touchdown pass and a 14-0 lead. The interception was the eighth in three games for Rivers. The Broncos added three points in the second quarter when Troymaine Pope muffed a punt, with the Broncos recovering at the Charger 21-yard line. From that point on, the Chargers defense stiffened, and Rivers finally got it going.

Rivers led the Chargers on two scoring drives in the second quarter, one that resulted in a Mike Badgley 30-yard field goal and the other that resulted in a 30-yard touchdown pass to running back Austin Ekeler. The Broncos led 17-10 at halftime. The Chargers tied the game at 17-17 in the fourth quarter when Rivers found a wide-open Keenan Allen for a 36-yard touchdown pass.

After a Lock interception, the Chargers had a chance to take the lead, but a Badgley field goal attempt from 55 yards hit the left crossbar. Lock then drove the Broncos into field goal position and Denver took the lead, 20-17, on a 52-yarder by McManus, with 4:31 remaining on the game clock. On fourth and 11 on the Chargers' 24 and 2:22 to play, after consecutive false start penalties, Rivers completed a 38-yard pass to a leaping Mike Williams, advancing the ball to the Broncos 38-yard line.

With 4th down and less than a yard to go for a first down, Head Coach Anthony Lynn decided to play it safe, running the clock down to 19 seconds. Badgley then came through with a game tying 46-yard field goal. The Broncos returned the kickoff to their 28-yard line. With 14 seconds left, Lock did the one thing you would expect. He threw a deep pass to his best receiver. A pass interference penalty was called when cornerback Casey Hayward collided with Sutton.

It was a controversial call, but the right call and just a bad mistake by Hayward. The penalty set-up the game winning field goal by McManus, who connected from 53 yards out for the Bronco victory. Williams finished the game with a career-high 115 yards receiving on five receptions. The Chargers had 359 yards in offense in the game to 218 yards of offense for the Broncos, but mistakes led to 13 Broncos points and another heartbreaking loss.

The Chargers 2019 season has been a serious of self-inflicted errors leading to heartbreaking results. Turnovers and penalties have hurt the Chargers in all eight losses. The Chargers are ranked No.28 in turnover differential, with a minus-10 for the season. That ranks ahead of only the Atlanta Falcons, Cincinnati Bengals, Miami Dolphins and the New York Giants. All four of those teams have three wins or less.

For the season, the Chargers have 22 turnovers and 12 takeaways. Committing turnovers is what they have in common with the bad teams. What they do not have in common with these teams is playing bad football. The Chargers rank No. 4 in total defense (yardage per game) in the NFL. They rank No. 5 in passing defense in the NFL. They rank No. 6 in passing yardage per game in the NFL.

Statistically, the Broncos do not look like a 4-8 team. But as Hall of fame coach Bill Parcells once said, “You are what your record says you are.” This week the Chargers will travel to Jacksonville, on Sunday December 8th, to take on the Jaguars. The game will start at 1:05 PM Pacific Time. Like the Chargers, the Jaguars are struggling and are 4-8 for the season. They have lost four consecutive games. Both teams badly need a victory.


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