A little more than a week ago, the hottest coaching seat in the NFL belonged to Bill Belichick after his team lost 6-0 at home to the Los Angeles Chargers and became the first team since the 1938 Chicago Cardinals to drop three straight games when allowing 10 points or fewer. Belichick’s counterpart in that game, LA coach Brandon Staley, was able to silence his critics for a week with the win as the Chargers were able stay in contention for a playoff spot by running their record to 5-7.
Things have changed since then as Belichick’s seat has cooled slightly thanks to an upset win for the Patriots over the Pittsburgh Steelers on last week’s edition of Thursday Night Football. Staley’s seat, however, became scalding and he did not survive the weekend as the coach of the Chargers after LA was blown out last night 63-21 in Las Vegas by a Raiders team that was held off the scoreboard by the Vikings the week before.
The Chargers, who lost star quarterback Justin Herbert in a Week 14 loss to the Broncos, are now 5-9 on the season and currently hold the No. 5 draft pick. While players on the team said all the right things about Staley, they clearly quit on him, as teams that believe in their coach do not lose games by six touchdowns.
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“We just didn’t have a good game tonight,” Staley said after the loss. “We didn’t have it from the beginning to the end. It’s just one of those games where nothing went right for us. We got a good group of guys, but it was just one of those games where all three phases, the worst thing happened to us tonight. It’s a reflection of all of us.”
The blowout loss may have been a reflection on the entire team, but it is Staley who had to answer for it. The Chargers will need to replace him, and a name that is going to be floated more frequently is Belichick’s. LA has a franchise quarterback and a roster that is ready to win now, but has just not been able to get over the hump, largely because of coaching. Belichick may have lost his fastball, but give him a QB and some talented players (neither of which he has with the Patriots) and the belief is that he can still get the job done.
“I think the Chargers are clearly the number one possibility. And my dark-horse candidate is the Cowboys, after they lose in the divisional round of the playoffs again this year,” former New York Daily News sportswriter Gary Myers said just yesterday. “But I think when he evaluates situations, he will look to where he can win 16 games in a two-year period. And in that two-year period, he’ll need a really good chance to win a Super Bowl.”
That chance is no longer coming in New England, but it might in Los Angeles now that Staley has been let go.