Why Chargers must fire Brandon Staley if they lose to Bears in Week 8

By next Sunday, when the Chicago Bears make the long flight to face the Los Angeles Chargers, the home team and head coach Brandon Staley will have had ten days to prepare for a team that is 2-5. But then again, the Chargers themselves are 2-4, so what’s really the difference?

In reality, there’s quite a significant difference.

The Chargers are a better team than the Bears

The Chargers are the more talented team, plain and simple. They have the better quarterback in Justin Herbert, for sure. Moreover, they excel statistically in nearly every facet when compared to the Bears. They have a higher yards-per-play average, a better completion percentage, superior red zone scoring, and defensively, they outperform their opponents in third-down conversion rates and red zone scoring percentages, per Team Rankings.

However, the most striking contrast between the two teams is that the Chargers should be performing at a significantly higher level. They’ve fallen far short of the lofty expectations placed on them, primarily due to their inability to win games.

Brandon Staley has zero excuses for not succeeding

Having a struggling team in the NFL can be attributed to various reasons, often linked to the quarterback position. Staley can’t use that excuse, especially with Herbert healthy and on the roster. The team, in its current state, possesses the capability to win and compete in the highly competitive AFC, even within their loaded division, with rivals like the Kansas City Chiefs.

Staley, now in his third year, appears to be no better than he was in year one, and the way things are going, he might even be worse by season’s end. His first season in 2021 concluded with a 9-8 record, and last season he posted a 10-7 record. Both seasons ended on a disappointing note.

Bad endings for the Chargers

In 2021, the pivotal AFC game against division rival Las Vegas Raiders, with a Wild Card spot on the line, ended in a loss as the Raiders hit a game-winning field goal as time expired. Staley’s questionable timeout call still haunts LA fans.

In the following season, the Chargers squandered a 27-0 first-half lead to the Jacksonville Jaguars, leading to an early playoff exit. In both instances, blown leads and questionable calls played a pivotal role. But the most concerning aspect isn’t that the Chargers lost; it’s the consistently narrow margin of defeat, stemming from poor situational awareness and coaching decisions.

In Staley’s three seasons with the Chargers, 14 games have been lost by a touchdown or less, with 10 of those decided by three points or fewer.

The recent loss to the Chiefs, led by Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce (and Taylor Swift), is not the main issue at this point. The Chiefs are currently a dominant force in the league. However, the Monday Night Football loss to the Cowboys two weeks ago exposed the Chargers’ lack of progress under their coaching staff.

The 20-17 loss marked another late-game lead lost, and by a mere three points. It was the third game this season that the Chargers lost by three points or less. Consistency in narrow losses has persisted for far too long under Staley. In the NFL, having 14 games lost by a touchdown or less in three seasons is typically a reason for coaching changes. Some coaches may not have that in their entire careers.

This is why Staley and the Chargers desperately need a win in Week 8 against the Bears, or Staley’s coaching seat will go from ‘medium’ to ‘well-done.’

It’s more than just a must-win game for Brandon Staley and the Chargers against the Bears

The Bears have a 25.8 percent chance of winning, according to ESPN Analytics. After losing four straight, they secured a 20-point victory against the Washington Commanders in Week 5, followed by a six-point loss to the Minnesota Vikings the next week. They most recently defeated the Raiders 30-12, six points better than the Chargers managed this season.

To make matters potentially worse for the Chargers, this will be a primetime game on Sunday Night Football. Last season, the Chargers had a 3-3 record in primetime games. Under Staley, they’ve played 11 games under the lights, with nine of those decided by one score or less. Should we expect the same next Sunday night?

This game is more than a must-win for Staley; it’s a job evaluation as the third-year head coach is leading the odds in coaches who will be fired this season. If he can’t defeat a less talented team in a far worse state, he might find himself without a job by early Monday morning. And justifiably so, whether it’s a three-point loss or more.


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