Chargers could be too cool to down the Raiders
And those Chargers, man. They’re cool. In fact, San Diego probably shouldn’t arrive at all this Sunday against the Oakland Raiders, given the Bolts are liable to win. That’s right. A victory at this point would be strange for head coach Norv Turner’s 2-2 Chargers.
Turner’s three seasons at San Diego have all yielded 2-3 records through five games. But the Chargers have coolly glided their way to the postseason in each of those campaigns. So why mess with tradition by winning this weekend?
Currently, the Bolts are trailing the 3-0 Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC West standings.
But San Diego is too suave to fret. The Denver Broncos were 4-0 in the AFC West this time last year. But that ended with those eager Broncos grabbing a bench while San Diego grabbed a first-round bye in the playoffs.
The Chargers are a comeback team with a comeback quarterback in Phillip Rivers. That’s their identity.
During nail-biting moments, Rivers has the coolest cuticles in the joint. Prior to this season, Forbes rated Rivers the fifth most clutch quarterback in the NFL for routinely leading San Diego to comeback victories. And as a Chargers fan, you couldn’t feel better if you were in Allstate’s hands.
But flipping back a few pages in history, it was the Raiders’ two comebacks in 1963 against heavily favored San Diego that ignited a coastal flame between these two rivals. And let’s not forget the “Immaculate Deception” in 1978, or the “Holy Roller” game, as Raider fans call it. Trailing 20-14 at Jack Murphy Stadium (now Qualcomm), Oakland had the ball on San Diego’s 14-yard line with just 10 seconds remaining in the game. Raider quarterback Ken Stabler dropped back to pass, but was soon greeted with a facemask full of linebacker Woodrow Lowe. To avoid the sack, Stabler fumbled the ball forward. Two more Oakland players then batted the ball towards the goal line before a Raider finally plopped on it in the end zone. Touchdown. Oakland then converted the extra point with no time remaining. Ball game. Raiders won 21-20.
But here’s what made it worse for Bolts fans: Had the referees felt Oakland intentionally fumbled the ball forward, the play wouldn’t have been ruled a touchdown. It would’ve instead been ruled a penalty.
…So did Stabler intentionally fumble the ball forward?
“You bet your ass I did,” Stabler admitted to radio announcer Bill King after the game.
This Sunday, the Chargers are favored against the Raiders in Oakland. San Diego enters the game first in the NFL in offensive yardage per game and second in average yardage allowed per game.
Only question is, are the Chargers ready to arrive this Sunday to the regular season?
Wouldn’t want to risk looking like those undefeated Chiefs. Ha! …Losers.
Check out this clip from the “Holy Roller” game of 1978:
Photo by BrokenSphere