More Injuries, More Questions For Chargers After Lethargic Loss To Seahawks

Written By


justin herbert

Seven games into the NFL season and the Los Angeles Chargers remain an enigma.

Are they a team with a talented young quarterback about to take the next step, or are they an inconsistent bunch with a knack for injuries at the wrong time and place?

Wearing their dark blue jerseys (shelve ‘em please) the cursed Chargers showed up Sunday against Seattle. The Seahawks pushed over, around and through the Chargers with a 37-23 win at SoFi Stadium.

Los Angeles was riding a three-game win streak entering Sunday, but now heads to the bye week at 4-3, a game behind the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC West and an injury list that just keeps getting longer.

Seattle, somehow, some way, with a rookie running back named Kenneth Walker III and retread and rejuvenated quarterback Geno Smith looked faster than Los Angeles. They looked more energetic. They looked more prepared. And yes, they looked better coached.

That last part is most troubling.

On the field, Keenan Allen played, for a half. Chargers defensive back J.C. Jackson suffered a horrible-looking leg injury (that one was rough to see) and then, near the end of the game, Mike Williams got his leg twisted in a bad way. Chris Rumph got hurt.

The Chargers are 4-3. Remember they were one of the talks of the pre-season in the NFL, a team anointed as on the rise. After Sunday they look on the ropes.

Are the Chargers Cursed?

Let’s get this one out of the way first. Injuries, injuries, injuries.

I’d start listing all the key Charger players who are out, but I would probably forget someone. Los Angeles did get center Ryan Lindsey back Sunday and he played well (the two tackles had rough games).

Here’s the reality, football is played by big, strong men. It’s a collision sport and injuries are inevitable unless you’re Tom Brady… some kind of way.

It may seem like the Chargers star players get hurt more often than other teams, but to me, it’s really because the Chargers star players are, you know, in the game. They are more exposed to the action.

And it’s not like the injuries are all muscle pulls or ACL tears, because if they were, then yeah, you could maybe pinpoint a training regimen as a culprit, but Rashawn Slater’s injury was a tendon pop in his arm. Now, Joey Bosa’s injury was a muscle, so was Keenan Allen. But other injuries are literally broken bones and sprains. You can’t train those away.

The Chargers aren’t cursed, but man, are they unlucky.

Are the Chargers Good?

Perhaps that’s the better question. They clearly miss Bosa, not so much in the pass rush, but against the run.

The backbreaker was the Walker 74-yard run that put Seattle ahead 37-16 with under seven minutes to play. Los Angeles had 10 men in the box. I thought after watching the replay, I think I’ve seen this play before, and I remembered. It was the exact same play Houston ran for a big touchdown against Los Angeles and the same type of play Cleveland ran for a big gain with Nick Chubb. Simple power toss. No Charger ever gets off a block to make the tackle.

Defensively, the Chargers have not been good. They have up 38 points to the Jaguars, remember?

Khalil Mack is a pass rusher. How do you beat a pass rusher? Run at him. Sebastian Joseph-Day had a safety Sunday on a sweet move on the Seattle center and slammed Walker in the end zone, but the interior of the Chargers line is poor, and the linebackers are not filling gaps and stopping the run.

Offensively, the Chargers can score with anyone when healthy. Oh, boy. They aren’t healthy. The Chargers’ defense is the problem.

The Early Choice

The Chargers got a gift on the first series of the game as Asante Samuel Jr. tipped away a pass and Kenneth Murray intercepted it giving Los Angeles the ball at the Seattle 41.

It was a chance to get an early jump on the Seahawks, a team that has struggled on defense.

Los Angeles couldn’t capitalize. LA went up-tempo, then went for it on fourth-and-one at the Seahawks’ 32. It was a handoff up the middle. It should have worked, but Trey Pipkins III lost his footing and fell down, and the right side of the Seahawks’ defensive line crashed in.

Do you kick a field goal there and go up 3-0? Nah. I liked the decision. It was early in the game, go for it, and establish some momentum.

But it totally backfired. Seattle went down the field and scored, then intercepted a Herbert pass and scored again. It was 17-0 Seattle late in the first quarter.

That’s a huge lead for any team in the NFL. The Chargers gave Seattle every reason to believe they were going to win Sunday and Seattle took it.

Did You Notice?

There was an Isaiah Spiller Sighting! The rookie running back had his first career carry. He was thrown for a five-yard loss. It was that kind of day.

I have to question some of the Chargers personnel decisions at some point, like what is the deal with mixing in the running backs so much? Austin Ekeler needs to be on the field more, especially if Herbert is going to be without Williams and Allen for a while. I can see why fantasy owners go nuts over this.

The Chargers got super lucky before halftime when Herbert was rushed and had his hand hit by a Seahawks rusher. They connected wrist on wrist, a few inches the other way and Justin Herbert could have broken his hand or a finger

Monday night’s hero was Ja’Sir Taylor for the Chargers. He forced the Broncos muffed punt in OT. Taylor made two big plays on punts against the Seahawks. He’s the one who downed the ball at the two, setting up the safety. I see you Ja’Sir!

Did you hear the “Sea” “Hawks” chants in the crowd throughout the game?

The announcers talked a lot about the Seahawks using three tight ends during the game, but never explained why. It’s all about match-ups. With defenses trying to get more versatile players on the field who can cover tight ends and receivers (hybrid players, they call them), they leave themselves vulnerable to the run. Seattle brings three tight ends in the huddle, and you don’t know where they are going to line up. Will they be on the line of scrimmage or spread out wide? Advantage to the Seahawks.

That game was over three hours and 20 minutes. Long.