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Thursday, September 29, 2022

Analysis shows how much damage Brandon Staley did to his team

20220925 173805
20220925 173805

Head Coach Brandon Staley follows the action on the field against the Dallas Cowboys during the first half at SoFi Stadium on August 20, 2022 in Inglewood, California.
(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

It’s hard not to admire Los Angeles Chargers head coach Brandon Staley for his guts on fourth down.

There have been times when he did even when conventional wisdom said otherwise.

In his Week 15 game last season against the Kansas City Chiefs, Staley opted to pass up three field goals to chase touchdowns.

In the end, the Chiefs won in overtime, 34-28.

There was also a time when he tried it on third down at his own 18-yard line against the Los Vegas Raiders.

Despite those shortcomings, the Chargers led the league in fourth-down conversions with 22.

However, those instances robbed them of some wins that could have gotten them to the playoffs.

That result could have led Staley to be uncharacteristically conservative during his Thursday Night Football game against the Chiefs.

There have been instances where he has chosen to kick on fourth down instead of trying.

Unfortunately, even reducing their aggressiveness cost them victory.

ESPN Sports Analytics writer Seth Walder tweeted: “According to ESPN’s model, Brandon Staley cost the Chargers a 7.3 cumulative percentage point win probability via fourth-down errors in the first half.” .

Why did Staley suddenly become apprehensive on the fourth try?

His reason is not about being afraid of making mistakes.

Instead, he wanted to give his defense the ability to compete.

There’s no fault with that mindset because the Chargers made a massive improvement on that side of the ball this offseason.

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In addition to bringing in Sebastian Joseph-Day, they also signed Khalil Mack and Kyle Van Noy.

They also acquired cornerback JC Jackson on a five-year, $82.5 million deal.

Those players strengthened a unit that already had Derwin James and Joey Bosa.

Mack had an impressive debut for the Chargers with three sacks against the Raiders.

Unfortunately, the Chiefs’ offense did enough, especially in the fourth quarter, to take the win away from them.

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