NFL Power Rankings, Week 14: Chargers Fall to No. 19
After the latest in a season of heartbreaking losses, the Los Angeles Chargers have fallen to No. 19 in the Week 14 edition of Sports Illustrated's NFL power rankings.
Sports Illustrated explains the ranking:
"Some might wonder why every single one of the Chargers' losses this season has been by one score or less. Then you watch this play, a play with precisely one objective-draw a pass interference flag. It was a good throw, sure, but Casey Hayward Jr. didn't even consider locating the ball before making contact with Courtland Sutton. Flag, spot foul, first down, field goal, game over. All in under nine seconds."
As with the majority of games under head coach Anthony Lynn, the Chargers spent much of Sunday's matchup with the Denver Broncos tied or trailing by a single possession. An eight-play drive in the fourth quarter -- one which included a self-imposed fourth-and-11 and a miraculous 38-yard reception by wide receiver Mike Williams -- resulted in a game-tying field goal with just 12 seconds remaining in regulation. Everyone from the fans to the announcers expected the game to go into overtime.
Instead, the Broncos dialed up a deep shot for wideout Courtland Sutton. Though quarterback Drew Lock sailed the pass over his target's head, the officials penalized cornerback Casey Hayward for defensive pass interference. The call set up Denver at the Los Angeles 35-yard line, well within field-goal range for kicker Brandon McManus. Moments later, McManus drilled the ball through the uprights, sealing a Broncos victory and another week of angst for the opposing Chargers.
Though not mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, the Chargers understand that they will not participate in January football this season. Too many crushing defeats like the one in Denver made sure of that. Accordingly, Sports Illustrated's staff dropped the Chargers to the No. 19 spot in the power rankings.
The Chargers didn't fare much better elsewhere on the internet. NFL.com ranked also ranked them in the No. 19 slot. ESPN placed them even further behind at No. 21. Meanwhile, both CBS Sports and Yahoo Sports have Los Angeles at No. 23.
-- Jason B. Hirschhorn is an award-winning sports journalist and Pro Football Writers of America member. Follow him on Twitter: @by_JBH