Chargers present L.A. they’re Super Bowl contenders

The Chargers can win the Super Bowl.

I do know, I do know. Some variation of that assertion has been made 12 months after 12 months, decade after decade, and the Chargers nonetheless don’t have something to point out for it.

However, actually, the Chargers — these Chargers — can win the Super Bowl.

How can anybody not assume that after they turned the Battle for L.A. on Sunday into the Give up at SoFi, wherein they submitted their defending-champion landlords?

How can anybody not assume they’ve an opportunity after watching Austin Ekeler rating on a 72-yard run by means of the Rams’ protection?

How can anybody not assume they could possibly be a significant downside for the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs or Buffalo Payments after seeing Mike Williams twist in flight to make a one-handed catch within the 31-10 victory over the Rams?

Chargers extensive receiver Mike Williams (81) makes a one-handed catch in entrance of Rams security Nick Scott (33).

(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Occasions)

Six-plus many years into their existence, the Chargers lastly have changed the idiot’s gold on their uniforms with the real article.

These Chargers are for actual.

What they’re doing is the antithesis of “Chargering.” Whereas lots of their fellow contenders are coping with new accidents, the as soon as short-handed Chargers have gotten more healthy. Whereas many different playoff-bound groups are fluctuating in type, the Chargers have gained 5 of their final six video games, together with every of their final 4.

“I think that we’re improving every time that we go out,” coach Brandon Staley mentioned.

The Chargers are 10-6. They are going to head into their regular-season finale in Denver subsequent week with the sixth-best report within the AFC.

They’ve the gamers. They’ve the momentum.

“They’re peaking at the right time,” Rams coach Sean McVay mentioned, “and they’ll be fun to watch in the playoffs.”

These aren’t the identical Chargers who have been embarrassed at dwelling by the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 3. Or the identical Chargers who dropped one other winnable dwelling sport in opposition to the Seattle Seahawks in Week 7.

Slowed earlier within the season by fractured cartilage in his ribs, Justin Herbert as soon as once more seems as if he’s probably the greatest quarterbacks within the league.

Simply as vital are the returns of his weapons. Williams has performed the final 4 video games, Keenan Allen the final seven.

Williams had seven catches for 94 yards in opposition to the Rams, probably the most breathtaking of them a one-handed snag of a cross thrown behind him alongside the left sideline within the second quarter. Williams leaped and turned clockwise to make the seize, touchdown on his toes earlier than falling out of bounds.

“I think every quarterback has to have that player, or players, that when it’s tight, that I can throw the football to,” Staley mentioned. “People aren’t always open in the NFL. He’s one of those guys, when he’s closely guarded, you can feel good about putting him in a position to make a play. The NFL demands a lot of precision from quarterbacks, and I think that the margin for error increases when you throw it to Mike Williams.”

Allen caught 5 passes for 60 yards.

The expanded passing choices have created extra alternatives to run the ball, and vice versa. With 122 yards in 10 carries, Ekeler grew to become the primary participant to hurry for greater than 100 yards in opposition to the Rams this season.

“It’s great to see those long plays, those explosive plays in the run game,” Herbert mentioned. “I think that opens up our play-action passes.”

With 192 yards on the bottom Sunday, the Chargers have rushed for 100 or extra yards in every of their final two video games. They did that solely twice of their first 14 video games.

Whereas the offense has found how you can run the ball, the protection has discovered a rhythm of its personal, with outdoors linebacker Kyle Van Noy registering sacks in 4 consecutive video games.

Chargers linebacker Kyle Van Noy (8) forced Rams quarterback Baker Mayfield (17) to fumble and then recovered the football.

Chargers linebacker Kyle Van Noy (8) pressured Rams quarterback Baker Mayfield (17) to fumble after which recovered the soccer.

(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Occasions)

Security Derwin James Jr. remained on concussion protocol and was sidelined Sunday, however edge rusher Joey Bosa returned from groin surgical procedure. Bosa was credited with a few tackles.

Staley mentioned of Bosa: “I think it was very important for him to get out there and play because the players know that they need to get in football shape, they need to get their pads on, they need to go play, they need to know what it’s like to go in and out, playing with pace. You need to get all that football stuff acclimated so that you can go be your best. It was a good step for him today.”

For the Chargers as effectively.

After many years of unraveling on the flawed second, they’re now coming collectively on the proper time. Staley made this occur, by maintaining the workforce collectively whereas they performed short-handed. The gamers made this occur, by believing in Staley’s message. Out of the blue, they’re positioned to create a brand new id for his or her group. They’re in place to win a Super Bowl.