They’ve gained 4 video games in a row and 5 of six, clinched a postseason berth and are as wholesome as they’ve been in months, and all of the sudden the Chargers aren’t Chargering in any respect.
Coming into the common season’s last Sunday, they’ve an opportunity to finish the soar from 6-6 to the AFC’s prime wild-card spot, which might bury even deeper the power notion that this franchise is cursed.
Nonetheless, as somebody who has been a Charger longer than most, Joey Bosa wasn’t taken with considering the group’s flip of excellent fortune and what it would imply cosmically.
“[Let’s] just try to focus on what we do and not think about that,” Bosa mentioned. “It reminds me of early in the season. ‘Oh, you have all these guys back healthy’ and then the [stuff] hits the fan.”
His is the attitude of a seven-year NFL veteran, one who is aware of properly the fact of stuff hitting the fan. Bosa simply returned after lacking 12 video games due to a core-muscle harm.
He additionally is aware of that, throughout his time with the Chargers, this can mark solely the franchise’s second playoff look. The 2018 group was the convention’s No. 1 wild card after which gained at Baltimore earlier than shedding at New England.
Bosa was no less than keen to confess that the temper surrounding the Chargers remained encouraging throughout preparations to shut out the common season at Denver.
“I feel like the vibe around here and the energy is nice,” he mentioned. “It’s positive. Guys are out at practice joking around, in a good way… Guys are just happy to be around here right now. I think we just have to continue that going forward.”
A victory over the Broncos or a Baltimore loss at Cincinnati within the earlier window of video games Sunday would give the Chargers the convention’s fifth seed. That might imply a visit to both Tennessee or Jacksonville within the wild-card spherical.
If the Chargers slip to sixth, they might open the playoffs at Buffalo or Cincinnati, assignments that seem tougher given the latest postseason success of these groups.
Both manner, the Chargers have had a pair weeks to embrace a return to the postseason following three years of arising quick. Final season, they have been eradicated from competition in time beyond regulation in Week 18.
“This is my fifth season and I’ve been only once,” security Derwin James Jr. mentioned of the playoffs. “That should tell you a lot. I’m very grateful. [But] we got a lot bigger goals than just making the playoffs.”
The Chargers have surged towards the top of the common season behind a protection that elevated its play within the absence of James.
Since a quadriceps harm and a concussion, the three-time Professional Bowl choice has performed solely 25 snaps since Dec. 4. James appeared within the Chargers’ Week 16 recreation at Indianapolis however was ejected within the second quarter due to an unlawful hit.
But, with gamers comparable to exterior linebacker Kyle Van Noy, cornerback Michael Davis and security Alohi Gilman performing in very noticeable methods, the Chargers have held their final 4 opponents to a mean of 11 factors a recreation.
With out James, defensive coordinator Renaldo Hill mentioned he believes the remainder of the Chargers needed to focus extra on the small print understanding their star security wasn’t out there to avoid wasting them if one thing went improper.
“He can erase so much,” Hill mentioned. “When it goes bad, he can make it look like it is a positive play. … I think when he is not there, it is a little bit more urgent for the guys to make sure that they are on point. …
“I think it’s just an urgency when those guys know he is not there, these reps have to be almost perfect. It has helped our team in that way. But we wouldn’t want to be playing without Derwin moving forward.”
With the importance of this recreation unsure, the Chargers have gone from early field-goal favorites to slight underdogs. So now, a 4-12 group heading nowhere is favored over a 10-6 group that’s prepping for the playoffs.
That scenario nearly actually would shift once more if the Chargers discover out simply earlier than kickoff that they should win.
With such unsettled floor beneath his gamers’ ft, coach Brandon Staley mentioned Friday that the Chargers stay solely within the Broncos and attempting to safe their eleventh win.
“You know that they are going to demand our full attention, and our players know that,” he mentioned. “Going into this game, they know that, ‘We’re going to play our players and we’re going to play well.’ As the facts on the ground change within the game, then yeah, things could change.
“But we’re not going in with the mindset like, ‘Oh, well he’s not going to play. He’s not going to play.’ We’re going [to Denver] to win this game and play our best. Then, as the game unfolds, we’ll see what happens.”