In a must-win game versus the New York Jets on Sunday, the Chargers prevailed with a 14-7 win in what was a fairly uneventful game. Although the Chargers did get the win over a very sub-par Jets team with virtually no offensive presence, it was a sloppy win that shows just how much improvement needs to be made going into next week. However, for now, we are just going to focus on the winners and losers of this Christmas Eve matchup.
It baffles me that when given the chance, Antonio Gates is still able to perform like an elite NFL tight end. With the absence of Hunter Henry, Gates took the majority of snaps at tight end and racked in 6 receptions, 81 yards, and 1 touchdown. Although nothing about this stat line jumps out to you, Keep this in mind, this is a thirty-seven-year-old tight end leading his team in both receptions and yards. And although Gates is obviously a future Hall-of-Famer, it’s still great to see him add to his legacy late in his career. Because this is most likely his last NFL season, and mark my words, he will be extremely valuable in a playoff run.
Chargers Playoff Chances
Although it wasn’t the cleanest win for the Chargers, Christmas Eve couldn’t have gone much better for Los Angeles. Not only did they win (once again placing them above .500). But both the Tenessee Titans and Buffalo Bills also lost. A week ago, it was near impossible to think that the Chargers would make the playoffs, but today, it seems very probable. Here is a list of scenarios that would get Los Angeles into the postseason:
- LAC win + TEN loss or tie + BUF loss or tie
- LAC win + TEN loss or tie + BAL win or tie
- LAC win + TEN loss + BUF loss or tie
Although all of these scenarios are possible, the main thing to focus on if you’re a Chargers fan is the Titans losing versus Jacksonville. Because if the Chargers handle business at home, and the Jaguars take care of the Titans, you can expect the Ravens to dominate a measly Bengals team.
It’s tough to figure out how Bryce Petty is an NFL quarterback. The Chargers defense could have had all eleven guys walk to the sideline and sit down, Bryce Petty still would have underthrown his receivers. Petty was 15-28 for 119 yards and an interception. Although the stats may look bad, the actual performance was much worse. At times, Petty’s throws were so far off, it was tough to tell who the actual target was. The lowest point came in the second half of Sunday’s game. Jenkins, who was clearly frustrated with Petty’s throws throughout the game, finally burst.
Although the moment wasn’t caught by TV cameras, a reporter came on moments later to explain there was considerable tension between Jenkins and Petty after the last drive. That moment capped off what was already a disastrous game for Petty. Let’s also take a minute to consider how Jets fans feel. Although McCown was solid, he’s clearly not your quarterback for the future, and there’s no possible way Petty can lead a winning offense. So basically, your best hope is to find a diamond in the ruff on draft night. However, this draft class is supposedly loaded with talented quarterbacks.
This has nothing to do with Gordon’s performance on Sunday. In fact, his performance alone deserves to be on the winner’s list. Not only did Gordon rush into the 1,000 yard club for the first time in his career, he also had one of the Chargers two touchdowns and was running hard. However, late in Sunday’s game, Melvin Gordon went down with a left ankle injury that seemed very serious. But Gordon was checked on and came back on to the sideline a few minutes later looking fine.
This eased the hearts of many Chargers fans. He was even listed as questionable to return. Unfortunately, Anthony Lynn said that Gordon would see the doctors on Tuesday and would most likely be a game-time decision. This could be a huge blow to the Chargers offense. Gordon has become a threat both running and receiving the ball. But all one can do is hope he will be ready to go come Sunday afternoon.
–Travis Baker is a Staff Writer for Full Press Coverage and covers the Los Angeles Chargers. Follow him on Twitter @SportsFollower0