The Los Angeles Chargers are Trapped in Hell and the Gods Are Laughing at Them

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - OCTOBER 20: Austin Ekeler #30 of the Los Angeles Chargers warms up on the field before the game against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium on October 20, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Silas Walker/Getty Images)
Sisyphus, I mean Austin Ekeler, trying to push that goal stanchion uphill at Nissan Stadium on October 20, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. Silas Walker/Getty Images

Football believes in reincarnation. Officials reverse calls, time gets added to the clock, and downs are repeated. In theory, this could result in a ceaselessly blooming garden of possibility and hope. In reality, the Los Angeles Chargers locked themselves inside this spiritual greenhouse and choked on all the flowers. That’s what happened on Sunday, when the Chargers had two separate touchdowns overruled in the final minute of their 23–20 loss to the Tennessee Titans.

Getting two potential game-winning touchdowns scrubbed off the scoreboard is bad enough, but the Chargers’ capitulation was an especially cruel combination of bad luck and ruthless self-sabotage. This play-by-play of their final attempts to punch the ball into the end zone reads like a Sartre play. Hell isn’t other people, Philip Rivers. Hell is your own teammates.

The Chargers' final plays against the Titans.

For simplicity’s sake, here is what the final 45 seconds of game action consisted of:

—Overturned touchdown.
—False start penalty at the 1-yard line.
—Defensive pass interference that returned the Chargers to the 1-yard line.
—Another overturned touchdown.
—Running back fumbles on the goal line, Tennessee recovers.

Game over.

There is no finer chronicle of this cursed glitch of a game than the Chargers’ official Twitter account.

One can only assume they are drowning their sorrows at the nearest P.F. Chang’s.

While that final sequence used up only 45 seconds of game clock, roughly 17 minutes transpired in real time between the first overturned touchdown and the final whistle. The Chargers prat-falled into a black hole and fumbled through the space-time continuum. They are like Marty McFly if Marty McFly opted for incest instead of reuniting his parents at the Enchantment Under the Sea dance.

Tight end Hunter Henry is still wondering how he quantum-leaped into this bizarre existence.

The Chargers have spent their entire season sealed in a hermetically sealed prism of futility. They were in stasis when star running back Melvin Gordon held out for the first four games due to a contract dispute, but his return hasn’t exactly pulled them from the abyss.

Los Angeles’ record is 2–5 after Sunday’s loss. Every game is an away game because their “home” stadium is routinely filled with opposing teams’ fans. Offensive lineman Forrest Lamp said someone “should be fired” after the Pittsburgh Steelers’ unofficial anthem was played over the Dignity Health Sports Park PA system during last week’s loss. I can’t stop calling them the “San Diego Chargers.” That may be a smaller issue, but let’s add it to the list.

Keenan Allen provided a succinct evaluation of the Chargers’ season after last week’s loss to the Steelers.

Shit was sad before Sunday’s Matryoshka doll of overturned touchdowns and goal-line shenanigans. Now, the Chargers are trapped inside a hall of mirrors filled with sad shit and there’s frowning poop everywhere they turn. Shit is profoundly sad, my friend, and apparently the universe doesn’t want it to end.