Bengals huddle before game at San Diego (Thomas Frey)
The Chargers played some good teams at home this year and for the most part, they played very well.
The season opened on Monday Night Football against the Houston Texans. Going into the season, the Texans were a favorite to win the AFC South. Nobody thought they would be the worst team in the league. The game could not have started any better for the Chargers who at one point were winning 28-7. Then the Texans incredible comeback happened and the Chargers lost 31-28.
The next home game was the highly anticipated game against the Dallas Cowboys. The Chargers played well, and even though Dez Bryant caught two touchdowns, the Chargers were able to win 30-21.
For the second time, the Chargers hosted a Monday Night Football game.This time it was against the Colts who would go on to win the AFC South, and are currently getting ready to play in the divisional round next weekend after beating Kansas City 45-44 in the Wild Card game. Rivers controlled the ball that day against the Colts and they were able to efficiently run out the clock on the Colts to win 19-9.
The next game was the only game where I feel like the other team put in a great effort, and the only one where the other team deserved the win. Peyton Manning and the Broncos beat the Chargers 28-20. Three of Manning’s touchdowns were to Demaryius Thomas.
Two turnovers easily makes this loss to the Bengals the most frustrating home game of the season. Both happened inside the redzone and they both involved Antonio Gates. The Bengals did almost nothing right on offense and managed to barely get out of Qualcomm Stadium with a 17-14 win.
The sixth home game was against the New York Giants and it was the funnest as well. The way Eli Manning dissed the Chargers on draft day made the Chargers fans mad and he got booed almost the whole game. When he threw his interceptions, the crowd cheered to no end. The Chargers easily won this game 37-14 as rookie wide receiver Keenan Allen got two touchdowns.
With two games to go the Chargers hosted the rival Oakland Raiders. In order to make the playoffs, the Chargers needed to win out and have the Dolphins and Ravens both lose. So many said it would be an impossible task. The Dolphins were playing the Bills and the Jets in their final games. Well, the Dolphins and Ravens both lost week 16. The last thing that needed to be done that week to stay alive would be to beat the Raiders. It wasn’t easy, but the Chargers won 26-13 to stay alive heading into the final week of the season.
The Chargers would know their fate by game time in their season finale against the Chiefs because the Dolphins and Ravens each played in the morning while the Chargers had the afternoon timeslot. A few hours before game time, the Chiefs announced they would be benching most of the starters. Chargers fans knew that they could win the home game if everything went well in the morning.
The morning went great. The Dolphins and Ravens both lost setting up a playoff game atmosphere at Qualcomm Stadium that afternoon. The game wasn’t as easy as people thought though.
At the end of the third quarter, with the Chargers down ten, Tackle D.J. Fluker held up four fingers to signify the start of the fourth quarter. He never gave up and had a magnificent game as the Chargers were able to tie this one up late. All the Chargers had to do was stop the Chiefs to send this game to overtime, but the Chiefs marched down the field and ran the clock down, leaving time for only a field goal.
Ryan Succop would be kicking a 41 yarder. I thought the game was over because Succop is a decent kicker. Then he missed, the stadium rocked, nobody could believe it. It was one of the greatest celebrations I have ever seen. Chargers players were pumped, they had all the momentum on their side. They ended up kicking a field goal and then forcing a turnover on downs to end the game and send the Chargers to the playoffs.