For Once, The Crazy In The NFL Doesn’t Include The Chargers

Written By


kemon hall

It was just your ordinary, run-of-the-mill, 40-yard laser down the sidelines to a covered wide receiver with the game-in-the-balance type of play.

But on this weekend of ridiculous NFL finishes – not to mention the World Cup final – the Justin Herbert to Mike Williams pass in the final seconds of the Chargers 17-14 win over Tennessee Sunday will be barely noticed on NFL Reaction Monday.

For the Chargers the play, and the win, means a whole lot. Los Angeles wakes up this morning not just in the playoffs, but maybe some breathing room?

The Chargers, now 8-6, are the sixth seed in the AFC playoffs with three games to go. They are ahead of the Dolphins, also 8-6, because they beat them head-to-head. So that’s a plus.

Minutes after the Herbert pass and Cameron Dicker field goal, Chandler Jones did his thing to the Patriots (I mean, like, what the actual heck was that?). So now the Patriots are 7-7 and out of the playoff.

The Jets (7-7) and Jaguars (6-8) basically play an elimination game for the playoffs Thursday, but neither one might get in. Yes, the Jaguars.

Meanwhile the Chargers end with the Colts, who are only coming off the biggest blown lead in NFL history, the woeful Rams and the bad Broncos.

It’s a dumb expression to say the Chargers control their own destiny. That’s not what destiny is. No one controls destiny. The Chargers control their own fate. Win all three games, they’re in. Win two, and it gets murky, but still looks good.

Ending The Boredom

The Titans are one of those nondescript NFL teams. I’m sorry, but it just happens. They are devoid of much tradition (maybe the Music City Miracle?). They don’t have much of a personality. Their nickname is blah. Their uniforms are blah (they should have just kept the Houston Oilers look). Mike Vrabel seems like a good coach, but on the field the Texans offense plods. Derrick Henry left, Derrick Henry right, sometimes Derrick Henry up the middle.

However, it is effective.

The Titans defense had two red zone interceptions on Herbert, but the Titans offense was lousy, and it was almost like one of those games where the Titans bored the Chargers out of sync.

We did get drama though.

The Titans put together a drive and scored with 48 seconds left to tie the game at 14. Do they go for two? No. That would be exciting. They give the ball back to Herbert with no timeouts. All he needs is a field goal. Cue the Social Media Quarterback.

Ending The Game

We can decry a lot of Charger coach Brandon Staley’s decisions (and we will) but the idea to use his timeouts as the Titans were about to score was genius. It’s probably why Vrabel, honestly, didn’t go for two, because there was still so much time on the clock.

Here come the Chargers. Herbert to Williams for 16 yards, Herbert to Gerald Everett for seven, then 32 seconds left on the clock, Herbert flushed from the pocket, running to his right and he zings/flings a fireball down the sidelines to Williams, who twists in the air and makes the catch at the Titans 20-yard line, getting both feet inbounds.

For some reason Titans defensive back Greg Mabin had his back to the play the whole time. He never saw the ball thrown. He never made a play on the ball.

It was one of those passes and plays maybe only one other man walking the Earth could make (unfortunately, he just so happens to play in the Chargers division – Mahomes).

Herbert has the ability, daring and stones to make that throw.

The Chargers spike the ball, get a delay of game penalty (yes, really) but then it’s Dicker The Kicker time. Rookie Cameron Dicker drills a 43-yarder through the posts. Game over.

Wait, what happened in that Raiders game?

The Pick Flip

I have seen it before, but maybe it’s like the Mandela Effect and never really happened. I only dream it.

Near the end of the first half, the Chargers are driving, in safe position for a field goal. Herbert just takes a shot into the end zone for Williams. The pass is high, out of bounds. But Titans DB Roger McCreary launches himself out of bounds, catches it, then flips it back on the field of play where his teammate Joshua Kalu intercepts it.

It’s totally legal, and just goes to show how you can watch football all your life and see something new each week. The refs reviewed the play, but Kalu’s feet were in bounds. It was an amazing play, like a mid-air lateral.

I swear I saw former Saints tight end Jimmy Graham do the same thing once in a pre-season game on special teams, launch himself out of bounds and then flip the ball back on the field. But I searched all over and don’t see anything online. Maybe I did dream it.

The interception was big at the time, because it kept the Chargers from taking the lead, but mostly the play will be forgotten.

Did You Notice?

On the Titans first drive, the down-and-distance graphic briefly read second-and-99 on the screen. You know, it’s impossible for it to ever be 99 yard to go. The most it could be is 98.

It finally happened! The Chargers had a punt returned against them. Twice, for zero yards. The J.K. Scott Season Of No Returns continues.

I’ve written this the last few weeks here about the Chargers, is there any way that Dicker is not the kicker for this team in the playoffs, and maybe next season? He has one miss in a Charger uniform (and that was over 50). He’s 16-17 this season. He hasn’t missed an extra point. Even if Dustin Hopkins was back and healthy, he’s not the kicker for the Chargers anymore.

Khalil Mack! Good to see you again. Good to see a Chargers pass rush again. Mack had five tackles. The Chargers had four sacks.

Wouldn’t you love to know what really happened in the Titans locker room after Tannehill was brought back after getting his ankle tweaked? Did they rub some magic salt on it? He was immobile afterwards, but he’s immobile anyway.

Only two Joe Lombardi TV sightings on Sunday. Broadcasts love to show the Chargers offensive coordinator just to say the Lombardi name.

How often do you see a false start and intentional grounding on the same play? Titans back-up QB Malik Willis had a free play after the Chargers jumped offsides and just decided to throw a pass about 20 yards away from any teammate.

Did you see Henry run over his own man, Chigoziem Okonkwo on that screen pass down the sidelines?

Up 14-7, I wanted to see if the Chargers could run out the clock with the running game and short passes with 3:19 left. They couldn’t.

In the uh-oh department, the cameras caught Chargers defensive lineman Sebastian Joseph-Day, Kenneth Murray Jr. and Drue Tranquill yelling at one another on the sidelines. It was weird because it came after a sack by Tranquill to end a Titans drive. What could they have been griping about?

The 14 points scored by the Titans were the fewest points allowed by the Chargers this season.

LOL, Colts.

LOL, Cowboys.

LOL, Patriots.