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Head coach Brandon Staley is consistent. If the Los Angeles Chargers have a fourth-and-short, they're going for it. No matter the situation.
To repeat: No matter the situation.
If you thought that had some limits, you'd have been surprised on Sunday night. The Chargers were stopped on third-and-1 at their own 18 in the third quarter, trailing the Las Vegas Raiders 17-14. The winner of the game would go to the playoffs, the loser was going home (they would both make it with a tie).
Staley left the offense on the field on fourth down at his own 18. NBC play-by-play announcer Al Michaels seemed convinced the Chargers were just trying to draw the Raiders offsides and then would punt. But the Chargers snapped it, and Austin Ekeler was dropped for a loss. The Raiders took over at the 16-yard line.
To those who push back on analytics in football, the Raiders' stop was a win and a reason to gloat. And even the numbers might not fully agree with going for it inside your 20-yard line in a close game. It was a gamble. Some would say it was a gamble like hitting on 19 in blackjack. And it failed, making it look really reckless.
Staley has had the same aggressive approach all season. If it makes the least bit of sense to go for it, he will. The Chargers know to expect that by now. And Los Angeles' defense did hold the Raiders to a field goal after that. Los Angeles went on to tie the game on the final play of regulation — becoming the first team in at least 30 years to convert six fourth downs in a game — before losing on a Raiders field goal at the end of overtime. The loss kept the Chargers from making the playoffs.
No matter the results, Staley won't change his decision-making process. And the debates will continue.