It what might have been the lowlight of the 2016 San Diego Chargers season, the Bolts lost 19-16 to the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.
The outcome of the game itself was not the worst part of the season, but instead it was the amount of Raiders fans that attended the game at Qualcomm Stadium. The effect they had on the result of the game was obvious, when it was all said and done. It was bad. The Chargers’ players were clearly affected by the unusual amount of visiting fans in their stands.
To top it all off, before the game, Chargers’ owner Dean Spanos spoke to NBC’s Scott Kaplan and said he was “leaning” towards moving the team and he also complained about the lack of support for the stadium initiative. This coming from the guy who has done nothing but burn bridges in the city and with its fan base. The stadium saga continues, and there are now reports that the Spanos family is considering re-branding their NFL team in Los Angeles, and that would include a new name and uniform color.
What that means when it comes to the future of the San Diego Chargers is anybody’s guess. Truly harsh times in America’s Finest City.
As for the game on Sunday, the Chargers stuck to their season script and once again failed to put away an opponent. The team coughed up another fourth quarter lead and rolled over for a Raiders’ team that obviously wanted it more. When it is all said and done, that is the Chargers way of playing the game. They roll over to tougher, more physical teams in crunch time and it is demoralizing to watch for its fan base.
The team got off to a hot start as they scored on their first possession of the day. Philip Rivers hit Travis Benjamin on a 47-yard bomb. That is something that Chargers’ fans expected to see more of in 2016, but Benjamin has been slowed virtually all season long with leg injuries. After a Raider FG, the score was Chargers 7-3 after the first quarter. The feeling was cautiously optimistic for Chargers’ fans.
A Josh Lambo field goal with just over a minute in the half resulted in a 10-3 Chargers lead, and it looked as though the team would go into the half with a tie. Instead, the Chargers allowed the Oakland Raiders to drive down the field as Derek Carr hit Michael Crabtree on a great catch in the end zone with 22 seconds left in the half. The Raiders tied up the score and they also would be in line to receive the ball after the half.
After a 33-yard Janikowski FG, the Chargers drove down the field in the 3rd quarter and scored on a TD pass from Philip Rivers to Hunter Henry. Dontrelle Inman had a key block in that series and also a few nice grabs. He is quickly emerging as a favorite target for Rivers. The TD made the score 16-13 and it stayed that way as Josh Lambo missed the extra point.
The fourth quarter hit with the Chargers clinging to a three point lead and most fans were obviously worried. We have all seen this situation before, and we all knew the result. The defense played tough all day for the Chargers, but they allowed two Janikowski FG’s in the fourth quarter and that was the difference in the game.
In the end, both the offense and the defense had a chance to win the game on several occasions in the last quarter. The Chargers have to be zero for their last 100 opportunities in situations like that. Whether it’s the defense failing to hold a team or the offense failing to take time off the clock, it’s a common theme. There is only one deduction that can be made from results like this…. #FireMcCoy