Sometimes it’s how you start rather than how you finish and in the case of the Los Angeles Chargers their sorry beginning to their first season in the L.A. area cost them a playoff spot. Behind another masterful performance from Philip Rivers, the Bolts closed out their initial campaign in Carson with a thumping of the Raiders for their ninth win in the last 12 games. However, that 0-4 start proved too much to overcome.
The Chargers were still alive in the playoff race until the very end, but leaving their fate in the hands of others is never ideal. The Bolts were eliminated from the postseason when the Titans knocked off Jacksonville and they are the hottest team not competing in the playoffs after Rivers threw for nearly 400 yards in their 30-10 victory that ended the coaching career of Jack Del Rio in Oakland. Offense wasn’t the Bolts’ problem this year with Rivers throwing for over 4,500 yards, Melvin Gordon rushing for 1,105 and Keenan Allen producing nearly 1,400 receiving yards on 102 catches.
The run defense was poor all season and the Chargers still hadn’t figured it out by season’s end. Marshawn Lynch ran for 101 yards on Sunday, the third straight 100-yard rusher against the Bolts, who ended the campaign with the 31st-ranked run defense allowing over 131 yards per game. Rivers took responsibility for the team not reaching the playoffs and is ready to return for another season. He was sacked a league-low 18 times and has started every game for the team since 2006.
2017 Record: 8-7
2017 ATS Record: 7-7-1
2017 Over/Under Total Record: 4-11
Current Super Bowl Odds: +7500
Current Odds to Win AFC: +4000
Current Odds to Win AFC West: N/A
Week 17: Chargers 30, Raiders 10
ATS Result: Chargers -7
Over/Under Total Result: Under 43
With their playoff lives hanging in the balance, the Chargers needed to win and hope for the best. Behind 387 yards and three touchdowns from Rivers, the Bolts held up their end of the deal. But in the end it wasn’t enough. After falling behind 10-7 midway through the second quarter, Rivers tossed two of his TD passes at the end of the half for 20-10 lead at the break. The Bolts added on and kept the Raiders scoreless to cover the spread, but the postseason dream faded.
Week 16: Chargers 14, Jets 7
ATS Result: Jets +7.5
Over/Under Total Result: Under 42.5
The Bolts needed a win to keep their playoff hopes alive and they got it – barely. But a win’s a win and they’ll take it, though they failed to cover the spread for a second straight outing. Melvin Gordon broke a tie with a short touchdown run in the third quarter and the defense came up with a turnover on downs after the Jets got to the Chargers 17-yard line with just over three minutes to play.
Week 15: Chiefs 30, Chargers 13
ATS Result: Chiefs -1
Over/Under Total Result: Under 47
Rivers’ touchdown pass to Antonio Gates early in the third quarter gave the Bolts their only lead of the game. It didn’t last long as the Chiefs traversed the field for the go-ahead scored and prevented LA from getting anything started by forcing four second-half turnovers, sending the Bolts to the ATS loss while cashing the under for a fourth straight game.
Week 14: Chargers 31, Redskins 13
ATS Result: Chargers -6
Over/Under Total Result: Under 46.5
The Bolts scored on their first five possessions and led 23-6, but it could’ve been more. One of a few mistakes cost the team points at the end of the half when Austin Ekeler was tackled short of the goal line and time expired. It didn’t cost the Chargers in the second half, though. Melvin Gordon’s touchdown increased the lead and the Bolts easily covered the 6-point line.
Week 13: Chargers 19, Browns 10
ATS Result: Browns +13.5
Over/Under Total Result: Under 45
The Chargers struggled in the red zone, settling for three field goals on four trips, but they did enough to get the victory, though they failed to cover the 13.5-point spread. Rivers got the team in position by throwing for 344 yards and Allen had another monster outing. Leading 19-10 in the fourth quarter, the defense got in the act. Joey Bosa got a strip-sack to thwart one drive and Adrian Phillips’ interception sealed it.
Week 12: Chargers 28, Cowboys 6
ATS Result: Chargers -1
Over/Under Total Result: Under 46.5
With Rivers going off, the Chargers amassed over 500 yards of offense while the defense silenced Dak Prescott. Leading just 3-0 at halftime, the Bolts put the game away in the third quarter with a pair of Rivers touchdown passes. LA was able to cover the spread despite losing kicker Nick Novak and failing to convert three extra points.
Week 11: Chargers 54, Bills 24
ATS Result: Chargers -7
Over/Under Total Result: Over 41.5
Toomer’s pick-six on Buffalo’s first possession set the tone for the day. Though the Bills tied the game at 7-7, the Bolts turned the other four picks into 17 points to take a 37-7 lead to cash the over at the break. The Bolts relaxed in the second half and got reps for all second-teamers, and they still managed to cover the spread for a second straight game.
Week 10: Jaguars 20, Chargers 17 (OT)
ATS Result: Chargers +5
Over/Under Total Result: Under 40.5
It was a comedy of errors down the stretch and the Bolts weren’t laughing when the game ended. Leading by three and needing just a first down to likely close the game out, they fumbled the ball away and totaled just four yards on their last three possessions of regulation, allowing the Jags to tie it late. Then in overtime, Rivers tossed a pick that led to the game-clinching score. The Bolts covered the 5-point spread by holding the Jags to a field goal in overtime, but they should have had the outright win.
Week 9: BYE
Week 8: Patriots 21, Chargers 13
ATS Result: Patriots -6.5
Over/Under Total Result: Under 49
Gordon gave the Chargers an early lead with his long touchdown run, but they did little after that which allowed the under to cash for a third straight game. Too many miscues and too little offense left LA shy of covering the 6.5-point line as well. They allowed over 400 yards but gave up just one touchdown. However, four field goals and a safety were the difference.
Week 7: Chargers 21, Broncos 0
ATS Result: Chargers +1
Over/Under Total Result: Under 41
The Bolts got a first quarter punt return touchdown from Benjamin and turned the game over to their defense for a third straight outright win. The Chargers limited Denver to 251 total yards, forced three turnovers and recorded five sacks in their first shutout since 2014. Rivers added a pair of scoring passes but they played below the closing total for the fourth time this year.
Week 6: Chargers 17, Raiders 16
ATS Result: Chargers +3
Over/Under Total Result: Under 48.5
The kicks went in favor of the Chargers this time and they won outright as a 3-point pup for their second straight cover. A missed Raiders extra point following their go-ahead score gave Rivers the chance to drive for the win and he did. Taking over at their own 8-yard line with just over four minutes left, Rivers engineered a 78-yard drive that ended with Novak’s game-winner and no time on the clock.
Week 5: Chargers 27, Giants 22
ATS Result: Chargers +3
Over/Under Total Result: Over 45.5
The Chargers won SU and ATS for the first time this season by making plays at the end of the game. Rivers tossed the game-winning TD pass after Ingram got him the ball with a strip sack and recovery and the Bolts scored the game’s final 10 points. The Giants were playing without a full-deck at the end of the game with four receivers lost to injury, but they got no sympathy from the Chargers, who are all too familiar with a makeshift roster.
Week 4: Eagles 26, Chargers 24
ATS Result: Eagles +2
Over/Under Total Result: Over 48
Another slow start doomed the Chargers. A turnover on the first possession followed by a pair of punts and the Eagles converted each time for a 13-0 lead. Rivers did his best to get the Bolts back in the contest, throwing for 347 yards and a pair of scores. But the defense couldn’t stop Philly after getting within 26-24. The Eagles burned off the final 6:44 never giving Rivers a chance as the Chargers failed to cover for the fourth straight game.
Week 3: Chiefs 24, Chargers 10
ATS Result: Chiefs -3
Over/Under Total Result: Under 47.5
It was a bad start and a bad end, but in between is more of what the Chargers are looking for. Two early turnovers led to 14 KC points and the Chargers never recovered, failing to cover the spread for the third time. Rivers had problems with three picks, but the Chargers defense was strong, getting after Smith for five sacks while cashing the under for a second straight game.
Week 2: Dolphins 19, Chargers 17
ATS Result: Dolphins +3.5
Over/Under Total Result: Under 46
It was another heart-breaking loss for the Chargers, who saw the potential game-winning field goal sail wide as time expired. It didn’t need to be, though. LA took a 17-10 lead on a Philip Rivers to Antonio Gates scoring pass midway through the third quarter. But the Chargers couldn’t build on that, punting the ball away on their next two possessions and allowing the Dolphins score the game’s final nine points.
Week 1: Broncos 24, Chargers 21
ATS Result: PUSH Chargers +3
Over/Under Total Result: Over 41.5
It looked like a certain ATS loss when the Chargers entered the fourth quarter trailing 24-7. But never count out Rivers, who engineered a pair of scoring drives following Denver turnovers, and had LA knocking on the door in the waning seconds. The Chargers had a couple of opportunities for a game-winning touchdown, but instead settled for a field goal attempt. It failed and the teams pushed while cashing the over.
Preseason Record: 1-3
ATS Record: 1-3
Over/Under Total Record: 1-3
The Chargers broke a 10-game losing streak to AFC West foes by knocking off the Broncos in San Diego last season. They then lost their final three games to their division rivals and are a pathetic 1-13 SU and a respectable 6-8 ATS in their last 14 matchups with their division counterparts.
Week 1: Chargers at Broncos, Monday, September 11, 10:20 p.m. ET – ESPN
Week 2: Chargers vs. Dolphins, Sunday, September 17, 4:05 p.m. ET – CBS
Week 3: Chargers vs. Chiefs, Sunday, September 24, 4:25 p.m. ET – CBS
Week 4: Chargers vs. Eagles, Sunday, October 1, 4:05 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 5: Chargers at Giants, Sunday, October 8, 1 p.m. ET – CBS
Week 6: Chargers at Raiders, Sunday, October 15, 4:25 p.m. ET – CBS
Week 7: Chargers vs. Broncos, Sunday, October 22, 4:25 p.m. ET – CBS
Week 8: Chargers at Patriots, Sunday, October 29, 1 p.m. ET – CBS
Week 9: Bye Week
Week 10: Chargers at Jaguars, Sunday, November 12, 1 p.m. ET – CBS
Week 11: Chargers vs. Bills, Sunday, November 19, 4:05 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 12: Chargers at Cowboys, Thursday, November 23, 4:30 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 13: Chargers vs. Browns, Sunday, December 3, 4:05 p.m. ET – CBS
Week 14: Chargers vs. Redskins, Sunday, December 10, 4:05 p.m. ET – CBS
Week 15: Chargers at Chiefs, Saturday, December 16, 8:25 p.m. ET – NFL
Week 16: Chargers at Jets, Sunday, December 24, 1 p.m. ET – CBS
Week 17: Chargers vs. Raiders, Sunday, December 31, 4:25 p.m. ET – CBS
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