The Los Angeles Chargers were 0-2 heading into their Sunday morning matchup against the Minnesota Vikings.
They won the must-win game 28-24. Fourth-year safety Alohi Gilman and rookie outside linebacker Tuli Tuipulotu both stood out for a much-maligned Chargers defense.
Keenan Allen had a historic day, reeling in 18 catches for a career-best 215 yards and throwing a 49-yard touchdown to fellow wide receiver Mike Williams.
That’s the good news.
The bad news is that didn’t solve the Bolts’ issues.
The Chargers held a 21-10 advantage in the third quarter before all too familiar issues reared their head.
That two-score lead evaporated within nine minutes of game time after Vikings receiver Justin Jefferson — who’d been relatively quiet before then — torched Los Angeles’ overmatched secondary.
But the worst event of the day wasn’t even that. That came after the Bolts had retaken a 28-24 lead with 8:05 remaining in the fourth.
The Chargers went for it a 4th and 1 on their own 24 with about a minute and a half left.
They came up short, giving Minnesota a golden opportunity to snatch a victory. The Chargers escaped when Kirk Cousins was intercepted in the endzone, but it was another terrible game-management decision by head coach Brandon Staley and offensive coordinator Kellen Moore.
Even had they converted and iced the win away, the risk of that going awry is much too great to even consider, much less actually running a play in that situation.
Yes, the Chargers still won — somehow — after that inexcusable decision. But it was another poor management issue, something that bit the Chargers in last week’s loss against the Titans as well.
Add in the fact that the secondary was gashed in the second half, and even though there were bright spots, there’s still a myriad of things for the Chargers to fix.
The Bolts definitely have the talent to be playoff contenders this season, but they’re not a finished product by any means, and that was proven even in a long-awaited and much-needed win.
Their problems start with the coaching staff and end with a still shoddy secondary.
Can they fix those?
They need to quickly, or they could start to firmly fall behind the pack when they play the Dallas Cowboys and Kansas City Chiefs, two potential Super Bowl contenders, after taking on the Las Vegas Raiders next week.