Chargers have playoff hopes and extra wholesome our bodies vs. Chiefs

The Chargers broke coaching camp again in August.

Then, they only broke.

“There have been so many moving pieces,” linebacker Drue Tranquill mentioned. “It seems like we haven’t had a string of games where everyone has played together.”

A string of video games? The Chargers haven’t had a single sport of being utterly entire.

Of their season opener, they had been lacking cornerback J.C. Jackson. In Week 2, they had been with out broad receiver Keenan Allen. They went into Week 3 minus Jackson and middle Corey Linsley and got here out of Week 3 with out Joey Bosa and Rashawn Slater.

Ever since, the revolving door hasn’t stopped spinning.

A scarcity of continuity in soccer can have an effect on all the things from chemistry to communication, but the Chargers held issues collectively nicely sufficient within the tooth of all their accidents to make it to Week 11 at 5-4 with playoff hopes.

Now, they face AFC West-leading Kansas Metropolis on Sunday night time at SoFi Stadium, their second consecutive prime-time look with an opportunity to point out they’re worthy — ailing physique components and all — of the repeated nationwide publicity.

“You’ve seen how many injuries we’ve had, but we can’t make excuses,” security Derwin James Jr. mentioned. “No one cares. K.C. don’t care. We have to go play.”

The Chargers did see some optimistic indicators health-wise Friday when Allen and fellow broad receiver Mike Williams, who had been designated as questionable for the sport, each expressed optimism about going through the Chiefs.

Allen has performed solely 45 snaps this season due to a hamstring drawback and Williams missed the earlier two video games whereas recovering from a high-ankle sprain.

Even higher, proper sort out Trey Pipkins III was faraway from the harm report after lacking one sport due to a lingering knee sprain. He needs to be again within the beginning lineup.

The 2022 Chargers had been anticipated to problem Kansas Metropolis for supremacy in a division forecast as deep and harmful. As an alternative, the Chiefs have opened a two-game lead whereas Denver and Las Vegas have wilted.

And not using a full roster, the Chargers have had no probability to appreciate their full potential. Their highway to a decent report has come towards the NFL’s best schedule thus far, the Chargers’ opponents successful solely 41.1% of their video games.

Accidents do occur everywhere in the NFL, however this workforce has absorbed an unrelenting sequence of long-term losses to a few of its most vital gamers.

In response, the Chargers have needed to rely extra on these not anticipated to have main roles or, in some instances, no roles in any respect. They’ve crammed in with gamers from their observe squad, Cleveland’s observe squad, the waiver wire and the road.

“Even though we haven’t been able to see what this team is like at 100%, we do have a good snapshot of what this team’s soul is made of,” defensive lineman Morgan Fox mentioned. “We’ve seen a lot of guys emerge in roles and do a good job.”

For instance, Fox pointed to Breiden Fehoko, who got here off the observe squad to play 42 snaps final weekend towards San Francisco because the Chargers handled mounting absences alongside their defensive entrance.

By the tip of that 22-16 loss to the 49ers, Fox, Fehoko and Sebastian Joseph-Day had been the one out there defensive linemen, every taking part in extensively in a fourth quarter throughout which San Francisco had possession for 12:38.

“We were laughing through the pain,” Fox mentioned. “You’re looking at each other and suffering together. Just three guys battling.”

Tranquill known as it “pure toughness” that carried Fox, Fehoko and Joseph-Day by the tip of the sport. He mentioned their collective effort was inspirational, significantly with 15 of the 49ers’ 25 fourth-quarter performs being runs.

“Those guys aren’t built to play every snap,” Tranquill mentioned. “A rotation is key. When you lose your rotation, it’s really difficult on a big man who’s 300 pounds. I thought those guys showed incredible toughness.”

Dealing with the Chiefs would require toughness and extra, these rivals taking part in six one-score video games over their final eight conferences. On Sunday nights, the Chargers have had 5 consecutive one-score finishes.

With Allen and Williams anticipated again, the Chargers’ offense can be nearer to finish than it has been since Week 1. They’d all 11 projected starters within the lineup that afternoon — till Allen went down within the second quarter.

“They are two of the best in the game,” quarterback Justin Herbert mentioned. “It means a ton to us to just have them out there and to have a chance for them to play.”

Their probabilities for Sunday sound good. The Chargers’ probabilities, if Allen and Williams do return, sound higher.