Dylan Hernández: Chargers' record improves, but not Brandon Staley's decisions or team's look

Dylan Hernández, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Football

Brandon Staley beamed at the lectern.

The embattled Chargers coach raved about the resolve of Justin Herbert, who sealed a 24-17 victory over the visiting Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday by completing a 51-yard pass. He applauded the tenacity of Khalil Mack, who registered a team-record six sacks. He praised the collective effort of his defense, which spared the Chargers another on-brand meltdown.

His voice was joyous, his smile was infectious, but his words were as unconvincing as his team's performance.

Against a rookie quarterback who was drafted in the fourth round, Staley's team nearly blew a 17-point halftime lead.

Against a one-win team with a mediocre defense, the Chargers didn't score a single point in the third and fourth quarters.

The Chargers have won their last two games to improve to 2-2 but still haven't provided any reasons to believe they will be the team that breaks the franchise's long-standing curse.


They triumphed despite failing to convert on fourth down from their 34 with their lead down to seven points and 3 minutes 34 seconds remaining. A week earlier, they won in Minnesota despite failing to convert on fourth down from their 24 with a four-point lead and close to 2 minutes on the clock.

Heading into their off week, the Chargers still feel less than the sum of their parts.

If not for narrow escapes against a couple of weak teams, this team with Super Bowl ambitions would be 0-4.

"I would definitely err the other way," Staley said. "We could easily be 4-0. Some people could say 1-3. Right now, we're 2-2. That's what we are."


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