Advertisement
Sports

Column: It’s ‘uh-oh’ and three for the Chargers, who haven’t won a game since their move to L.A.

The next home of the Chargers is just a hole now, a big dug-out crater in Inglewood that won’t be finished until 2020.

The team is in an even deeper hole at 0-3 — and it’s nowhere near where the Chargers expected to be at this point of the season..

The Chargers already have two losses in the toughest division in the NFL, the AFC West.

Kansas City, which posted a 24-10 road victory over them Sunday, is the best team in the league through three weeks.

Advertisement

The Chargers caught a break with both Oakland and Denver losing on the road Sunday, but the Raiders and Broncos are legitimate playoff contenders.

Nobody on the Chargers roster was in the league the last time the team went 0-3.

“We’re in a very unique place where this is a good test of all the guys in this locker room,” Chargers tight end Antonio Gates said. “It tests your character and your true belief. If you believe we can turn this thing around, then we’ll get it turned around. That’s what it comes down to is mentally believing that you can get that done.”

Most anything can happen in the unpredictable NFL, as we saw Sunday when Chicago beat Pittsburgh, the New York Jets stomped Miami, and Jacksonville crushed Baltimore.

Advertisement

But it is an awfully steep climb for the Chargers, who have a tough schedule in front of them, including road games at Oakland, New England, Dallas and Kansas City.

“You might say we’re the same old Chargers ... well right now, we are.” Head coach Anthony Lynn and quarterback Philip Rivers discuss the 24-10 loss to the Chiefs.

History is not on their side. The last two times the Chargers started 0-3, in 2000 and 2003, they wound up with the No. 1 pick in the draft. (It’s entirely conceivable that the top selection in next spring’s draft could be a local quarterback, either USC’s Sam Darnold or UCLA’s Josh Rosen.)

Then again, this one-two-three combination punch should feel familiar. The Chargers have at least a three-game losing streak for the eighth season in a row.

The silver-lining crowd might point to the 2007 season, when the Chargers won their opener and then lost three in a row. That team made a miraculous recovery and got all the way to the AFC championship game at New England. But it also had LaDainian Tomlinson, Vincent Jackson, Chris Chambers, Gates in his prime, Darren Sproles, Jamal Williams … in short, their shelves were stocked.

Their offense Sunday was lacking two elements: rhyme and reason.

It was a horrible day for Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, although he’s bounced back from those before. He had three interceptions and nearly had a couple more.

“He was forcing some things, but that’s him,” Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson said. “We were playing tight coverage … Philip’s a guy who, it might look a little messy, but that’s how he operates. He’s cool in chaos.”

Advertisement

The offense was sporadic and lurching, a little like the Rams last season, and ruined a stellar defensive performance by the Chargers, who finally cracked on Kareem Hunt’s 69-yard touchdown run at the end.

“Our defense holds up, and I know [the Chiefs] bust the run late, but they really held them to 17 [points for 58 minutes], and all three of those [scores] were directly related to either a turnover or a penalty,” Rivers said. “That’s winning football on the other side of the ball, and I’ve got to play better, see if we can bounce back.”

If the losses start to pile up and Rivers plays close to the way he did Sunday, the season will dissolve into the “Dive for Darnold” or the “Ruin for the Bruin.” But Sunday’s stinker feels more like a bump in the road for Rivers, who’s still an elite quarterback with two or three years left in him.

“You hope you avoid days like this all year long,” Rivers said, speaking about the offense in general. “But if you have them, shoot, learn from them and God, and not overreact.”

That said, even he conceded it’s difficult to see the current situation as anything but bleak.

“We’ve got to get it going in a hurry,” he said. “Sitting at 0-3, something I know I haven’t experienced, I know it’s a long, uphill climb. But we’ll keep going.”

After last season, when the Chargers announced they were going to a new place, 0-3 wasn’t the one they had in mind.

Advertisement

sam.farmer@latimes.com

Follow Sam Farmer on Twitter @LATimesfarmer


Newsletter
Get our daily Sports Report newsletter
Advertisement