Inches sums up Chargers’ season

A game of inches. A season of close calls. The year is not over, but the San Diego Chargers can sum up their 2015 season as a bunch of missed opportunities. In a sport of final results, close won’t get it. Unfortunately, that might be all the Chargers have to hold on to with their final homestand against the Miami Dolphins on the near horizon.

They were this close to rallying or even defeating AFC West rival Kansas City Chiefs last week. A possible pick six and two sure touchdown passes in Philip Rivers ‘ wide receivers hands that seem to fall out of the sky like bricks was the Chargers latest undoing to get into the win column. Danny Woodhead and Malcolm Floyd are about as sure-handed as any wide receiver in the National Football League.

These two cats just don’t drop footballs thrown their way. They did against the Chiefs.

Dontelle Inman makes a grab in front of a Chicago Bears defender in the Chargers’ 22-19 defeat in Week 9 of the 2015 NFL season. Photo by Tiffany Zablosky

But with the type of season the Chargers are in the midst of, on the road in a rain-soaked game, Woodhead couldn’t hold on to a perfect pass by Rivers as the Chargers mounted a long drive to try to send the game into overtime. There would be no overtime, and the Chiefs walked away with a 10-3 win. This wasn’t an abbreviation for the Chargers. This is the way things having been going all season; close but no cigar.

Sometime the ball bounces a certain way. As a result that could be the difference in a team becoming bottom dwellers or contending for a division title. The Chargers, posting just a 3-10 mark before their final home encounter of the regular season, can certainly identify with that area. Promise has turned into heartache. Except for a couple of games, the Chargers have been in every contest.

They had the Cincinnati Bengals on the rope, before losing that game, 24-19. The heartbreaker game that might have turned the fortune of the Chargers’ season around was the  Pittsburgh Steelers contest at Qualcomm Stadium that San Diego let slip out of their hands. What looked like a sure victory for the Chargers after three quarters, flipped-flopped into a last-second, 24-20 defeat.

Quarterback Philip Rivers had another 300-yard passing day against the Oakland Raiders. Photo by Jevone Moore
Quarterback Philip Rivers had another 300-yard passing day against the Oakland Raiders. Photo by Jevone Moore

The Chargers haven’t been right since that loss. San Diego was forced to go to Rivers 65 times the following week against Green Bay on the road, a game that wound up with San Diego not able to punch in the potential scoring touchdown as time ran out as the offensive unit lined up inside of the Packers’ 10-yard line in a 27-20 loss. Narrow defeats to the Oakland Raiders, Baltimore Ravens and Chicago Bears in the following weeks were just as excruciating.

The Bears’ loss was probably just as painful to the Chargers as the defeat to the Steelers in the way San Diego lost the game. The Bears outscored the Chargers, 15-3, in the last quarter to win the ballgame, spotting San Diego a 16-7 lead.

Those close losses may have had an affect on the Chargers’ offense some kind of way. In three of the last four games, Rivers and the once high-powered offense, have sputtered their way to only scoring a combined nine points against the Denver Broncos and the Chiefs twice. Their 31-25 win against the Jacksonville Jaguars stopped the bleeding, at least for one week.

What’s left of the Chargers’ season after their Dolphins’e encounter, are two road games against the Raiders and Broncos. It’s been a season of if, maybe and could have been for the Chargers. The offseason probably couldn’t come soon enough. But there’s still time to make a statement. And what better way to that than beating your rivals in their own backyard.

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