The Los Angeles Chargers always seem to find a way to screw up a chance to win. So it actually felt like a shocking turn of events when a game-tying field goal from Chargers kicker Michael Badgley sailed through the uprights.
The 46-yard boot tied up a Week 13 game against the Broncos with 19 seconds remaining. Somehow, the Chargers — black belts in the art of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory — still found a way to lose in regulation.
Denver threw deep with nine seconds left in the game and it paid off with pass interference called on Chargers cornerback Casey Hayward.
Drew Lock wins his first start as a Bronco....— Bruce Blitz (@BruceBlitz) December 2, 2019
Casey Hayward Jr.... damn man.... WTF were you thinking...
Crazy ending. pic.twitter.com/60lE6nFCs9
The penalty moved the Broncos up 37 yards and into field goal range, despite objections from Chargers coach Anthony Lynn during and after the game.
Anthony Lynn on the defensive PI call at the end of the game: “Officials are not perfect, but I did not like that call at the end of the game. I don’t think that’s the way you end a football game. To make that call, it’d have to be clear and obvious.” pic.twitter.com/H2R2GVh5yC— Eric Williams (@eric_d_williams) December 2, 2019
Broncos kicker Brandon McManus nailed a 53-yarder on the next play. The loss dropped the Chargers to 4-8 on the year and all but guaranteed the team won’t be making a December push into the playoff picture.
It was nothing new for one of the NFL’s most cursed franchises, though.
The Chargers can’t shake their one-score loss jinx
The diametric opposite of the Chargers are the Seahawks, a team that plays nothing but close games but manages to win almost all of them. Los Angeles is in plenty of tight contests, but doesn’t win them. The team’s eight losses in 2019 have come by margins of three, seven, seven, seven, three, two, seven, and three points.
Many of those close losses have fallen on the shoulders of Philip Rivers, who is second in the NFL in interceptions in 2019. But Rivers did well to get the Chargers in position to go to overtime in Week 13. He even managed to convert a clutch fourth down after back-to-back false starts penalties turned a fourth-and-1 into a fourth-and-11 situation.
The team still found a way to blow it.
It’s a pattern so consistent that even players on the team can’t help but admit it’s a frustrating routine.
The exasperation stems from the fact that it’s been like this for the Chargers for years. A franchise that’s actually been pretty solid over the last 20 years doesn’t have anything to show for it because it always finds a way to lose one-score games.
The Chargers are #3 in the NFL one-possession losses since 2000 and #21 in total losses since 2000— Rodger Sherman (@rodger) December 2, 2019
The pinnacle of that trend came in 2010 when the Chargers finished the year No. 1 in total offense, No. 1 in total defense, and still didn’t make the playoffs. They haven’t been nearly that good in 2019, but despite being in line for a top 10 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Chargers have a positive point differential in 2019.
They’ve had game-ending interceptions, a game-ending fumble near the goal line, and now a pass interference penalty that cost them another winnable game. It’s just the Chargers being the Chargers.