Chargers will miss playoffs, despite rout of Raiders in regular-season finale
By Jack Wang
CARSON — The Chargers beat the Raiders on New Year’s Eve, sweeping their division rival for the first time in three years.
But the celebration was brief, and felt a bit awkward.
Yes, the Chargers shook off an 0-4 start to finish 9-7, matching the win total they had in their last two seasons in San Diego. They played before mostly silver-and-black stands at StubHub Center on Sunday, but silenced the crowd with big plays in a 30-10 win. Coach Anthony Lynn, who never allowed his first campaign to careen off course, looks like a smart hire.
But the Chargers’ season is over regardless, thanks to a game played thousands of miles away. Shortly after the clock ran out at StubHub Center, the Titans clinched a 15-10 victory over the Jaguars, eliminating Lynn’s Chargers from the playoffs.
The last time a team to reached the postseason after an 0-4 start was in 1992, when the San Diego Chargers won 11 of their final 12 and shut out Kansas City in the wild-card round.
These Los Angeles Chargers couldn’t climb all the way back, but winning nine of their last 12 games isn’t bad either. Their fight didn’t pay off. At least they fought.
Perhaps no play encapsulated this attitude as much as a fourth-down stop midway through the third quarter. The Raiders had fourth-and-2 on the Chargers’ 18-yard line. They handed the ball to Marshawn Lynch, who had rolled up 78 yards on his first dozen carries.
His 13th touch resulted in no gain, stopped by defensive lineman Tenny Palepoi. The rest of the Chargers jumped and cheered.
The defense also notched two takeaways. Safety Tre Boston intercepted Oakland quarterback Derek Carr in the second quarter, his fifth pick of the season. Defensive tackle Darius Philon knocked the ball out of Carr’s hand in the fourth, the first […]