San Diego Chargers

The latest run of bad luck is no laughing matter for Chargers

01 November 2015: San Diego Chargers head coach Mike McCoy in action against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium, in Baltimore, MD. where the Baltimore Ravens defeated the San Diego Chargers, 29-26. (Photograph by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire)
Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire

Weather is typically not the issue in San Diego, but a stubborn front has stalled on top of Ron Burgundy’s town, and this one is not your typical low-pressure system.

It’s more of an anomaly in that Murphy’s Law has enveloped the region, and it’s no laughing matter for most of the Chargers.

San Diego’s football team is a dismal 1-4 and on the brink of irrelevancy with a head coach seemingly destined for the unemployment line at the worst possible time.

The franchise is fighting for its very life in the city and trying to convince a supermajority of voters that building a billion-dollar palace downtown is the way to go in just about the most progressive political environment possible.

And it’s not just that the Chargers are 1-4, they seem to invent ways to lose each and every week, the latest almost always more mind-numbing than the last.

Head coach Mike McCoy’s team, though, may have hit rock bottom on Sunday in Oakland when lining up to tie the game late with a field goal.

Instead of watching the football sail through the uprights, however, Chargers kicker Josh Lambo watched it sail between the hands of holder Drew Kaser.

Obviously, the miscue had nothing to do with Lambo, but he’s been the one hearing it in recent days because of what happened after the Raiders ran out the clock for a 34-31 victory.

The kicker went looking for his peer in Oakland, Sebastian Janikowski, and the television cameras caught the two smiling and laughing while sharing a nice moment after the competition was over, hardly a rare tradition in the NFL and one that should never be discouraged.

But, the heart-wrenching nature of the setback had some questioning the timing of the body language, including Lambo’s boss.

“Everybody on your team is looking at you and looking at everything you do at all times,” McCoy said. “When a teammate sees you in a situation like this and you get caught, laughing it up, people take it differently. Everybody is different. Some players will look at it and say, ‘It’s not a big deal.’ Other players, it pisses you off.”

You’d have to take a look at the all-22 of the post-game scrum to see how every other Chargers player reacted in the wake of the devastating loss if you really want to call Lambo on the carpet and odds are some others were yucking it up with their friends so McCoy’s real issue seemed to be about Lambo’s involvement in the key play that cost the team at least a chance to win the game.

“You were involved in a critical play in the game, and it wasn’t executed properly, and we lost. Just understand what it means,” McCoy said.

But that’s where McCoy is dead wrong, Lambo wasn’t involved in the critical play. He should have been involved and was scheduled to be involved, but he was never given the opportunity to be involved. Had he missed the kick, human nature would probably take care of his post-game body language.

“I think he’s handled it the right way, talking to his teammates, talking to different coaches on the staff, apologizing and what he’s learned from it,” McCoy said.

The only thing to really learn is optics in that some are going to jump to a specious conclusion because TV cameras are focused on you sharing a lighthearted moment with a friend.

As it often is, the more logical explanation is the simplest and the one the team’s on-field leader Philip Rivers had already pointed to: If you don’t laugh in the face of what’s happening with the Chargers, you’d probably cry.

-John McMullen is a national football columnist for FanRagSports.com and TodaysPigskin.com. You can reach him at [email protected] or on Twitter @JFMcMullen — Also catch John each week during the NFL season ESPN South Jersey, ESPN Southwest Florida, ESPN Lexington, KDWN in Las Vegas, and check @JFMcMullen for John’s upcoming appearances on SB Nation Radio, FOX Sports Radio, CBS Sports Radio as well as dozens of local radio stations across North America

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