Brandon Staley and the Los Angeles Chargers just wrecked their season

Brandon Staley and the Los Angeles Chargers' playoff hopes took a grievous blow when LA lost to the terrible Houston Texans Sunday.

What in the H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks has happened to Brandon Staley and the Los Angeles Chargers? They did the one thing any aspiring playoff team simply cannot do late in the season: lose to the Houston Texans, 41-29. Just writing those words makes our heads hurt. Can’t imagine how Staley feels.

Brandon Staley, Chargers’ playoff hopes take huge hit

We cannot overstate how damaging this loss was for the Chargers’ playoff hopes. They entered the day with a 74% chance of making the field — presumably as a Wild Card entrant.

But after Sunday’s loss and a series of other results that went against Los Angeles in the 1 PM ET window, FiveThirtyEight gives the Bolts (8-7) just a one in three chance of making the postseason. Barring a complete collapse by either team, the Colts and the Patriots will likely be two of the three Wild Card teams. That means the Chargers, Ravens, Steelers, Dolphins, Browns, Raiders, and Broncos are probably fighting for one spot.

So winning out against Denver and Las Vegas might not be enough for LA. The Chargers now will need help to get in — particularly if the Dolphins beat Ian Book and the Saints Monday night. The AFC East could be a three-bid division, which would be a stinging collapse for the AFC West.

It wasn’t too long ago that the Chargers had an outside shot at the No. 1 seed. Now, after losses in six of their last 10 games, they could be out of the field altogether.

How the Chargers lost to the Texans

Nobody saw this result coming. The Chargers were 12.5-point road favorites against a team that had lost 11 of its previous 13 games and was starting a rookie backup quarterback. The Chargers had Justin Herbert. The Texans countered with Davis Mills.

But the Chargers’ defense without Joey Bosa (COVID-19) simply didn’t show up. Mills roasted LA’s defense for 254 yards and 2 touchdowns on 78% passing. But that wasn’t the most embarrassing part of the game for Los Angeles.

No, the most unforgivable part of Sunday’s loss was the 149 yards allowed to Texans running back Rex Burkhead. That total was by far the most in a game in Burkhead’s nine-year NFL career. He also had 2 touchdowns and 2 runs of 25 or more yards.

“We just didn’t have enough today,” Staley, the Chargers’ first-year coach, said after the game. “I just didn’t coach well enough today. … That’s why we lost.”

Staley added: “It’s been a fight this entire season for us. It’s going to continue to be that way. We still have a lot in front of us.”

Maybe. But only if they play a whole lot better than they did Sunday.

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