It’s been a series of ups and downs for the San Diego Chargers (1-2) since the season began on September 11. After managing a 17-point fourth quarter lead in Week 1, the Chargers eventually blew a golden opportunity to start the year off with a victory, losing on the road to the Kansas City Chiefs (2-1) 27-33 in OT. After a strong 38-14 home win over the winless Jacksonville Jaguars (0-3), misfortune unfolded once again this last Sunday.
In the third week of what still remains to be seen as promising season, linebacker Manti Te’o tore his Achilles in a heartbreaking 22-26 loss to the Indianapolis Colts (1-2). The Te’o injury is a massive season-ending catastrophe that will require surgery. There is currently no known recovery time yet released.
After being plagued with critical injuries to wide receiver Keenan Allen and running back Danny Woodhead, an additional injury to a key defensive player is hardly what the Chargers needed.
But despite the loss of Te’o during the first quarter, his replacement, Jatavis Brown, a 2016 third-round draft pick, finished strong with six tackles, two of which were for losses in yardage. He also managed two pass breakups in 31 defensive snaps against the Colts from the second quarter forward. Brown became a strong contender and carried the remainder of the game as the team MVP.
Currently, the Chargers have a 1-2 regular season record that isn’t necessarily the best reflection of a tight season with a fresh team. They have been able to begin games in a strong and promising fashion, however, they have been struggling with one of the most important assets of NFL success: the ability to close out games.
Along with blowing a 27-10 fourth quarter lead with under ten minutes to go in Kansas City, a 22-20 lead in Indianapolis with under two minutes to go disappeared with one 69-yard touchdown pass from Andrew Luck to T.Y. Hilton. Perhaps road games are not the Chargers’ strong suit right now.
Fortunately, they will be returning home on October 2 for a matchup against the winless New Orleans Saints (0-3). As of this writing, the Chargers are favored 66.9 percent to 32.9 percent according to ESPN.
If the Chargers have what it takes this season to be a competitive and strong force, then defeating a struggling Saints team with home-field advantage is a must.