Why Colts scare Chargers: They’ve blown big leads but get them

The Chargers will make NFL history Monday night.

No team has played against an opponent who suffered a defeat in which they gambled away a 33-point lead.

That’s what Indianapolis did on Saturday when they went 33-0 at halftime, only to lose to Minnesota 39-36 in overtime.

“You know that sometimes things happen in the NFL,” Chargers coach Brandon Staley said Thursday. “It happens every week in the NFL.”

Well, not every week. At least not something like a collapse of the league record of 33 points.

The Chargers go 8-6 this weekend and sit as the 6th seed in the AFC. But with the Colts, they face a real wildcard team.

Two weeks before collapsing against the Vikings, Indianapolis trailed Dallas 21-19 in the fourth quarter before giving up five touchdowns in just under 11 minutes.

To understand how ridiculous a turnaround is, consider the Colts trailed by a safety and then, less than a quarter later, lost by the third-biggest margin — 54-19 — in the NFL that season.

“Things happen in this league,” said Chargers defenseman Morgan Fox, speaking of the recent Indianapolis disaster. “Don’t forget, they played against a good football team.”

True. Minnesota secured the NFC North with their comeback win over the Colts. So in that regard, Indianapolis opened up a 33-0 lead against a division champion.

The Colts also won in Las Vegas, where the Chargers lost; beating Jacksonville, a team the Chargers lost to; and defeated Kansas City, a team the Chargers lost to twice.

“This is the NFL,” said Chargers defenseman Sebastian Joseph-Day. “It doesn’t even matter what happened during a season. You can become humble very quickly.”

Also true, but Indianapolis is reeling. The Colts have lost four straight and seven of eight.

They have their second head coach, Jeff Saturday, replacing Frank Reich, who was fired, in early November.

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Nick Foles (9) warms up before a game.

Nick Foles will start Monday night as quarterback for the Colts against the Chargers.

(Stacy Bengs/Associated Press)

They just lost running back Jonathan Taylor to a sprained ankle. They are changing quarterbacks for the third time this season, starting with Nick Foles against the Chargers.

Foles is a Super Bowl Champion and Super Bowl MVP, winning both with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2017.

But he has also started a game since November 16, 2020. In almost the last calendar year, Foles has snapped twice in the regular season. He lost weight both times.

“You just know he’s got a lot of experience,” Staley said. “He’s made a lot of successful games and you have full respect for what he’s achieved in the league. The reason he’s been in the league for so long is because he’s a quality player.”

The Chargers, slightly better than a field-goal favorite Monday, are controlling their destiny postseason. After their visit to Indianapolis, they play the Rams (4-10) at SoFi Stadium and finish the regular season in Denver (4-10).

“I’m sure they’re disappointed from last week and ready to play,” Joseph-Day said of the Colts. “That has to be our way of thinking too.”

No Joey Bosa yet

The Chargers have yet to name edge rusher Joey Bosa for the return. He came on the injured reserve list after undergoing core muscle surgery. Bosa was injured in week 3.

The Chargers have maintained all along that they expect him to make it back this season. Once a player is destined to return, their team has 21 days to activate them.

The Chargers traded for veteran edge rusher Khalil Mack in March to pair with Bosa. Although Bosa missed the last 11 games, Mack played well enough to earn his seventh career Pro Bowl selection this week.

Etc.

Safety Derwin James Jr. (quads) returned to practice Thursday in a limited capacity. The three-time Pro Bowl player has missed the last two games. … Joseph-Day (knee) and cornerback Bryce Callahan (core muscle) were also limited. Both played on Sunday after being in injury reports last week.

https://www.latimes.com/sports/chargers/story/2022-12-22/chargers-colts-monday-night-football Why Colts scare Chargers: They’ve blown big leads but get them

Emma Bowman

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