One could argue that Los Angeles Chargers head coach Brandon Staley has seen more roller coasters in 2023 than someone walking around an amusement park.
But one week after calling a masterful eight-sack outing against the New York Jets to even their record to 4-4, Staley’s Chargers fell 41-38 on a walk-off field goal to the Detroit Lions.
The Sunday loss at SoFi Stadium continued the up-and-down theme attached to the 2023 Bolts. But Staley also ended his day addressing the roller coaster of emotions inside the Chargers’ locker room — and he got testy with one reporter.
Brandon Staley Sends Fiery Message to Beat Reporter
Staley, a defensive whiz, has already had intense moments with LA media members who regularly cover the Chargers. But after the devastating three-point loss, he became testy with one reporter.
Daniel Popper of The Athletic was heard asking a critical question about the Chargers’ defensive performance under Staley. After all, Popper joined the rest of the spectators in watching Staley’s unit surrender more than 40 points and failing to deliver a single sack of Jared Goff.
Staley, though, responded fiercely, with his face visibly turning red.
“I appreciate your line of questions, but I know the players we have on this team. I know the group that I’ve been coaching for the last nine games, and it’s a group that’s good enough to beat anybody we play,” Staley fired back.
Staley wasn’t through in his defense of his defensive unit.
“We’ve played some of the very best teams in the NFL, and we’ve been in every single football game,” Staley said. “They’ve been down to the wire.”
Staley admitted his team remains a work in progress. But he believes that despite the inconsistency of this group, he hasn’t lost confidence in the Charger defense.
“We have the right men in that room,” Staley said. “We’re good enough on offense, defense, and special teams to beat anybody we play.”
And his final message?
“We’re going to go back to work. We’re going to stay together. We have our season in front us, and we’re going to get on to Green Bay,” Staley said before finally walking away.
Brandon Staley is getting feisty towards Daniel Popper again 😬 pic.twitter.com/VsiREGvwp0
— Bolt Beat (@BB_Chargers) November 13, 2023
Chargers Defense Struggle Mightly Against Lions
Offensively, the Chargers delivered a brilliant display of explosives.
Justin Herbert fired four touchdown passes and ended his afternoon with 323 passing yards. Keenan Allen fought off an early injury to put together 11 catches for 175 yards and two touchdowns. His first one managed to cut the Lions’ 17-3 lead.
— Pro Football Network (@PFN365) November 12, 2023
Then, on a 4th-and-1, Herbert hit Allen deep for a 38-yard touchdown.
The @Chargers tie it on 4th down!
— NFL (@NFL) November 12, 2023
But defensively, the Chargers hit new lows.
For the second time this season, the Chargers allowed 500+ total yards (533) — the other was the loss to the Miami Dolphins (536) in the season opener.
Goff, meanwhile, went on to deliver 333 passing yards, making it the fourth time this season an opposing QB surpassed the 300-yard mark facing this defense.
Lastly, Detroit delivered a 300-yard passer, a 100-yard receiver in Amon-Ra St. Brown (156), and a 100-yard rusher in David Montgomery (116) on Sunday. It’s the first time the Chargers have seen an opponent complete the hat trick in producing a 300 or 100-yard performer in all three major offensive areas.
Staley is getting tested by opposing offenses and inside the postgame press conference. But Sunday brought a new, deeper low for Staley and the Bolts that could further increase the temperature on his head coaching seat.