The Chargers suffered yet another heartbreaking loss Sunday, fumbling what could have been a game-tying field goal against the Raiders after blowing an 8-point lead earlier in the game.
On Monday, somehow that stinging loss was made worse. As Tom Krasovic of the San Diego Union-Tribune pointed out, officials appeared to incorrectly respot the ball after quarterback Philip Rivers threw an incomplete pass on second-and-1 on the Chargers’ final possession. Facing what functionally amounted to a third-and-2 (but should have been third-and-1), running back Melvin Gordon gained just one yard, which ultimately led to the disastrous field goal attempt on fourth down.
A helpful Twitter denizen screenshotted the error:
The difference isn’t huge in raw terms, but it was significant in the context of the moment. Gordon fell just shy of the first down, “about two lengths of the football” according to Krasovic.
The Chargers have been plagued by late-game collapses throughout the season. Until Sunday, their woes were mostly self-inflicted. Most often the offense would bog down or commit an untimely turnover.
Against the Raiders, they were truly snakebitten. On the field goal, the holder bungled a perfect snap that he likely puts down more than 99 percent of the time. And if referees had been sharper, the Chargers might not have had to attempt a field goal in the first place.
The Chargers are now 1-4 with 14 players on injured reserve, including a star wideout and cornerback. Rivers is having a legitimately great season — fourth in the NFL in passing yards and passer rating — and yet again his efforts are for naught.
This has been the worst season for San Diego. We’re so sorry, Chargers fans.