The Chargers may have moved from San Diego to Los Angeles and may have moved on from Philip Rivers to rookie Justin Herbert, but rest assured, they are still the Chargers. A team that has been tortured by close calls for years, with a somewhat impossible ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, moved to 2-5 on this season with their latest blown fourth quarter lead against the Denver Broncos.
It is the fourth straight game L.A. has seen a 16-point lead evaporate on them — although they were able to go back in front to beat Jacksonville a week ago — which sets a new NFL record.
#Chargers first team in NFL history to blow four leads of 16 points or more in four straight games. Fifth time in franchise history they have blown a lead of 21 or more. Last time was 2016 vs. Kansas City.
— Joe Reedy (@joereedy) November 2, 2020
They can’t help but play in one-possession games that come down to the wire, as that Jaguars game, a 39-29 win, is the only game they’ve played this season that wasn’t decided by 7 or fewer. They have twice lost in overtime, once to the Chiefs and once to the Saints, and on Sunday found a fate worse than an OT loss, allowing Drew Lock and an otherwise anemic Broncos offense to explode for 21 fourth quarter points to come back from as many as 21 down, winning on a game-winning pass from Lock to rookie K.J. Hamler.
LOCK TO HAMLER. THE BRONCOS WIN THE GAME AT THE BUZZER. #BroncosCountry #LACvsDEN pic.twitter.com/TDltkzktRu
— NFL (@NFL) November 2, 2020
That was set up by a pass interference call in the back of the end zone, and while they seem to have their quarterback of the future in Justin Herbert, they just can’t get in the win column enough — Herbert is now 1-5 as the starter despite putting up incredible numbers. On this afternoon, Herbert was 29-of-43 passing for 278 yards, three touchdowns, and a pair of interceptions, so he’s not absolved from blame, but he’s doing pretty incredible things as a rookie, like tossing this dime to Mike Williams.
MIKE WILLIAMS. One-handed TD on the DIME from Herbert! #BoltUp @darealmike_dub
: #LACvsDEN on CBS: NFL app // Yahoo Sports app: https://t.co/ow2iBsMpyD pic.twitter.com/86VxoSsyuw
— NFL (@NFL) November 1, 2020
That said, the offense can’t finish off late drives with touchdowns, settling far too often for field goals — they kicked two in the fourth in this one — and the defense has the opposite issue, failing to keep the opposing offense out of the end zone. Lock found the end zone three times through the air himself, going 26-of-41 passing for 248 yards and one interception, with this TD strike to DaeSean Hamilton helping to reel the Chargers in in the fourth quarter.
.@DrewLock23 keeping the @Broncos in it.
Denver pulls within 3 with 7:30 remaining.
: #LACvsDEN on CBS: NFL app // Yahoo Sports app: https://t.co/ow2iBsMpyD pic.twitter.com/pmRtjSlxUo
— NFL (@NFL) November 2, 2020
It is the same old story in L.A., one that Chargers fans have seen far too often but seem destined to watch more and more as this season wears on.