The Chargers inducted Antonio Gates into their Hall of Fame on Sunday against the Broncos. In doing so, they entered the curse of Alumni Weekend.
The pregame vibes were so good that former quarterback Philip Rivers' was in attendence at Sofi Stadium to see the man that caught 116 (the most by a tight end in NFL History) of his 421 (6th most in NFL history) career touchdown passes.
A day for looking back, but also one for a glimpse towards the horizon; It was Rivers' first time to see the quarterback who supplanted him play in-person. In an homage of sorts, Rivers got a look at another Chargers quarterback running for his life behind a porous offensive line.
The Chargers' failure to convert twice on 4th-down conversions within field goal range left six points off of the board. Points that ultimately would not have mattered much after Justin Herbert broke the index finger on his throwing hand. Herbert, who left the game in the second quarter, was inaccurate and battered before that, sailing passes and being sacked four times.
On Monday, coach Brandon Staley said that the timeline for Herbert's return from his latest injury would be based on his future, and on Tuesday Herbert underwent surgery which will ensures he will not see the filed again for a 5-8 Chargers team. He finishes his fourth season with 3,134 yards passing, 20 touchdowns and seven interceptions, but will be remembered for failing to deliver in multiple two minute drills on a disappointing team that many had hoped would contend for a championship in 2023.
"Certainly, there's nothing more important than that, than his right hand. And his long-term future," Staley said. "He's 25 years old, and he's got a really, really bright future in front of him. So, like I said, every decision we make is going to be with that in mind."
The Chargers fell 24-7 for another loss when honoring the greats.
The day you would think players are excited to play in front of Chargers greats and NFL Hall of Famers for some reason has been the day the Chargers don't show up to play. Since 2010, the Chargers are 3-10 on Alumni weekend, and 0-8 when inducting someone into the Chargers Hall of Fame.
Prior to Sunday, the Chargers were 3-9 on Alumni weekend; 0-7 when they inducted someone into the Chargers Hall of Fame. During that stretch the team lost games as both a favorite and as an underdog. Here is a brief recount:
In 2010, the Chargers faced the Raiders having lost to them earlier in the year 35-27—ending a 13 game winning-streak against the Raiders. The Chargers would fall again on Alumni Weekend 28-13, sealing a sweep for the Raiders for the first time since 2001. Antonio Gates was their leading receiver catching 6-for-73-yards and their only touchdown.
In 2011, legendary linebacker Junior Seau joined the Chargers Hall of Fame only for Tim Tebow to ruin the party. The Chargers gave away a 13-7 lead and before heading to overtime against the Broncos. Nick Novak, spotted peeing in a Gatorade bottle prior, missed the game-winning field goal in overtime and the Broncos would capitalize and win 16-13.
In 2012, punter Darren Bennett joined the Charger greats in the Ring of Honor, but the story that everyone remembers from that day is "Hey Diddle Diddle, Ray Rice up the middle". The Chargers blew a 13-3 lead in the game against the Ravens who infamously converted a 4th-and-29 to Ray Rice that allowed Baltimore to tie the game with a field goal 13-13. Joe Flacco threw a one-yard pass to Rice who weaved across the field eluding Charger after Charger on a 30-yard reception. The Chargers would fall in overtime 16-13.
In 2013, it wasn't a player inducted in the Chargers Ring of Honor, but a team. The only Chargers team to win a championship, the 1963 AFL Champion San Diego Chargers were added to the Chargers Hall of Fame against the Bengals. First-time head coach Mike McCoy's offense would struggle greatly in a 10-17 loss to Cincinnati.
In 2014, the Chargers all-time sack leader Leslie O'Neil entered the Ring of Honor. In his speech Leslie O'Neal said he wanted the Chargers fans to cheer as if he got a sack so his daughter could experience the crowd noise from when he played and racked up 105.5 of them. But the real cheering came from a stadium full of Chiefs fans as Cairo Santos hit the game-winning field goal in a 23-20 loss.
In 2015, the game should have made for a glorious day. My childhood hero LaDainian Tomlinson received his call to the Chargers Hall of Fame. A day I have waited for was finally here, but the Chargers team was not as the Chiefs left Qualcomm Stadium with a 33-3 stomping of the Chargers.
Melvin Gordon rushed for 196 yards and a touchdown, carrying the Chargers to a 43-35 victory over the Titans in 2016 to end the losing streak.
In 2017, the Chargers honored their alumni and also celebrated LaDainian Tomlinson's induction into the Pro Football Hall of fame that year. For the second straight year, the Chargers would win Alumni Weekend, but it was a 19-10 win over an 0-12 Browns squad heading for 0-16, who went 1-15 the previous year—a solitary win that came against the Chargers.
In 2018, Alumni weekend was held on the team's home opener. Quarterback Stan Humphries fired the cannon and former Chargers general manager Bobby Beathard was inducted in the Ring of Honor after being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame the month prior. The Chargers fell to first-year starter Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs 38-28 on a day Chargers dropped wide open touchdowns while Anthony Sherman on the Chiefs caught a 36 yard touchdown.
The Chargers celebrated 60 years of Chargers football in the 2019 Alumni game against the Texans, a team the Chargers were 5-1 against all-time coming into the game. The Chargers honored Chargering for 60 years by blowing a 17-7 lead in a 27-20 loss to Houston.
There was no Alumni weekend in 2020 due to the pandemic, so the next game would be in 2021 against the Giants. The Chargers dominated the Giants 37-21 but that score is misleading. The Bolts led 37-7 prior to garbage time touchdowns by New York. Justin Herbert made one of his best throws of his career on a 59-yard touchdown pass to Jalen Guyton.
In 2022, one of the greatest run stuffers in Chargers history, nose tackle Jamal Williams got his spot in the Ring. In another cruel irony the team honored a run-stuffer on a day the Chargers failed to stop the run. Kenneth Walker rushed for 167 yards and 2 touchdowns, including a 74-yard touchdown, in a 23-37 loss to the Seahawks.
Raiders vs. Chargers Predictions
SEO: NFL Predictions LA Chargers Raiders
Bolt Bros Podcast
Kyle Sawyer (Season Record 7-6)
The "Broracle" reads the runes!
DAGAZ. Time for the Chargers to wake up and smell the roses. This team has been through a lot and now it seems that the writing is on the wall.
LAGUZ. However a lot has changed after Week14. A lot can happen and needs to happen in order for any hope to be had.
FEHU. Normally we should be thinking we have a chance for the playoffs. We should be making a run for a wildcard, but it seems our luck has run out. Yes, we have to win our games to have a chance, but so many teams have to lose in order for us to make it. Our destiny is not our own. 17-14 Chargers win.
Chargers 17 - Raiders 14
Rivers Lake Yacht Club
Señor Snappy (Season Record 4-6)
Our beloved Chargers have hit their lowest point in years, yet there is cause for hope.
This special teams unit is the best I’ve personally ever seen the Chargers field—and a huge advantage in close games.
The defense is playing well, and is designed to force turnovers. If Assante Samuel Jr. can get back to actually catching interceptions—we have a solid chance. I expect Khalil Mack to make chaos happen in this game as well.
The offense has been okay but can’t seem to keep anything going. Hopefully Easton Stick has figured out how to hold the ball over the past five days, or the Raiders pass rush will force a lot of turnovers.
Staley has shown real desperation of late, but he is self-aware and will settle in to a serene flow for this TNF prime time squall.
I don’t see the Chargers winning this one unless Stick really comes alive or Kellen Moore schemes up the game of the year for his (suddenly) very young offense.
Raiders 17 - Chargers 13
Kea Humilde (Season Record 6-7)
Family. Trust. Respect. This family may be a little dysfunctional with the head of the household, Justin Herbert being out for the remainder of the season, but it’s only “next man up” from here. Like siblings squabbling over the last slice of pie, the Chargers and Raiders rivalry ignites, each seeking to claim the family legacy during this holiday season.
Expect the Chargers to rally under their new quarterback, Easton Stick like a unified clan, while the Raiders strive to be the rebellious cousins crashing the family gathering. Just as family reunions bring surprises, this game will unravel unpredictably, but in the end, blood ties might just decide the winner amidst the gridiron chaos. It’s a bitter battle of the AFC West…how bad do you want it?
Chargers 28 - Raiders 24
Mark White (Season Record 9-4)
Interim coach Antonio Pierce took some flack for celebrating his first two wins with cigar smoke as if they thad just won a championships. After the smoke cleared over wins over the hapless New York backups Tommy DeVito and Zach Wilson the Raiders have lost three straight.
The latest defeat was a scoreless home loss to the Minnesota Vikings 3-0. The Raiders did not to deserve to smoke Pall Malls after that. The team is sticking with rookie Aidan O'Connell on the short week, but don't be shocked to see a return to action from Mister Vegas Strip himself, Jimmy Garoppolo.
With points being tougher to come by than a comped room these days, I'd take the under. Easton Stick should stick to the sidelines—where it's safe.
Raiders 9 - Chargers 6
The Greek Uncles in Chicago
Abram Sexson and Panos Mamalis (Season Record 6-7)
Uncle Mitso used to say, “everyone has a plan until the donkey kicks them in the face.”
The donkey has kicked coach Staley and he is feeling the burn. He is maligned as a coach who has been costing his team games by perilous decision making.
Like the village manga popping wheelies with his souped-up moped, he’s made bold moves, which may statistically be warranted to get results (Manga Mike used to pull the ladies), but bright ideas do not make a man. The plays and subsequent execution stink, like cousin Nonda’s underwear after a night dancing at the bouzoukia.
Last week the Chargers were 1/6 on 4th down and 0/12 on third down. Handing off to your fullback on 4th-and 1 is like burning microwave popcorn. You can't get rid of the stench.
Speaking of stench, the game this week reeks. Justin Herbert and Keenan Allen are out, Josh Jacobs is unlikely to play, DaVante Adams is sick. Only the most faithful stick around for this garbage in a lost season for both teams. Between Staley and Raiders interim coach Antonio Pierce, who has the fire to motivate their team in a game like this? Our money is with the Silver and Black.
Raiders 17 - Chargers 13
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