The Los Angeles Chargers, in an absolutely frustrating way, have stunk this season. The team has never actually been out of any of the football games but has miraculously found ways to lose. Two weeks ago I wrote an article in which I discussed what the Chargers had done so far this season and what they needed to do to beat the Raiders. Since then, they have lost to the Raiders and the Miami Dolphins. Now the Chargers need to demonstrate they’re capable of dominating an inferior Jets team.
While the Chargers have been a pretty big disappointment this season, I don’t believe anyone expected the Jets to be any good this year. At the same time, there’s also no way anyone could have predicted that the Jets would be this bad. I’m talking possibly 0-16, Mt. Rushmore all-time, nuke the entire squad, coaching staff, and front office bad. While the offense was never supposed to be good because of the clear lack of interest placed on finding competent skill players, last season the defense was ranked 10th overall.
Currently, the defense is a whopping 15 percent worse in Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA) ranking than the Bengals. Giving up four hundred or more yards a game to opponents, coupled with the worst offense in the league (by a wide margin) will leave you in a spot to be winless through 10 weeks. Then you add into the fact that players are basically revolting against Head Coach Adam Gase weekly, and there isn’t a lot to be salvaged from the situation.
Let’s take a look back over last week’s Chargers loss against Miami and see what we can learn from it. The Chargers received a gameday grade of C after this performance. Personally, I thought that was incredibly generous. This team made every classic, poorly coached team mistake they could have.
Big special teams play to the tune of punt blocks and big returns. The defense continued to give up big chunk plays and coupled that with the absolutely worst timed penalties possible. Offensively, I am actually a little bit surprised. For all of their shortcomings this season, the Chargers at least seemed to have it figured out that they got the Justin Herbert pick right.
Against Miami though, they blew it on offense too. Rushing the ball 29 times while averaging a measly 3.4 yards per carry. Herbert threw for below 200 yards in the game, and when he did start to target Keenan Allen late, they actually found some success. I have no idea why Anthony Lynn kept choosing to run the ball when clearly this season Herbert has shown he can put points up in a hurry.
They needed to air the ball out to even stand a chance, and every time Herbert dropped back to pass there were bodies in his face. It led to a bad interception at the beginning of the fourth quarter, and while they weren’t out of the game yet, the Chargers absolutely looked and felt defeated at that point.
The Chargers gave away every inch of this game they could have, let a rookie quarterback and practice squad running back slice them up, and really made the Dolphins look like they could even make the playoffs this season. After finding new and improved ways to lose football games, the only way this season could possibly get worse is if they find a way to lose to the winless Jets.
The Chargers have to absolutely dominate this football game this coming Sunday. There is no funny or clever way to overstate that. Losing to the 0-9 Jets would be an astronomical, franchise-altering loss. Lynn has been on the hot seat, at least from me, for a while now, and losing to this team under any circumstances should cost him his job the very second the final second hits the clock. If somehow Lynn blows it to the Jets and keeps his job, I will be convinced that he is blackmailing team owner Alex Spanos.
The Jets, on the other hand, don’t really have anything to play for. If anything, they’re hoping to keep losing in order to win the Trevor Lawrence sweepstakes. But mostly, it’s a lost season. Despite the fact that Jets management has insanely kept saying that they want to keep Gase in charge, I doubt a win or a loss would alter much of their season outlook. But if they were looking for a game on their schedule that they might be able to pick off so that they can avoid the winless season, the Chargers are more than primed to blow it on Sunday.