Chargers' Brandon Staley, Joe Lombardi Blasted for Conservative Calls in Chiefs Loss

Doric SamSeptember 16, 2022

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - AUGUST 26: Head coach Brandon Staley of the Los Angeles Chargers  looks on during the fourth quarter of an NFL preseason game against the New Orleans Saints at Caesars Superdome on August 26, 2022 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Sean Gardner/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Chargers had the opportunity to steal a road win over the division-rival Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday night, but instead, they fell short with a 27-24 loss at Arrowhead Stadium.

The Chargers held a 10-point lead in the third quarter before the team's offense grew stagnant. The Chiefs took advantage and rattled off 20 unanswered points to turn the game around.

Thursday's game was notably mismanaged by Los Angeles head coach Brandon Staley and offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi. Staley, who has been known for his aggression, was surprisingly conservative in moments where he should've been assertive.

In the first half, the Chargers had 4th-and-short in Kansas City territory twice and elected to punt each time. Los Angeles quarterback Justin Herbert had success throwing to wide receiver Mike Williams early on, but he was virtually removed from the offense and held without a catch after his touchdown reception early in the third quarter.

Herbert also was visibly banged up late in the fourth quarter but showed a ton of toughness to stay in the game while fighting through an apparent rib injury. He even threw a touchdown with 1:11 left to cut the deficit to three points. But it was too little, too late, as Kansas City recovered the ensuing onside kick.

Staley and Lombardi drew the ire of NFL Twitter for their timid play-calling.

Big Cat (2-0 in my last 2) @BarstoolBigCat

I did not bet on this Brandon Staley! I want the old Brandon Staley back!!

Jimmy Traina @JimmyTraina

I don't like this bizarro Brandon Staley who punts all the time.

Daniel Popper @danielrpopper

Run a PA shot play on third-and-1 only to punt on 4-and-1 from opposing territory. <br><br>I am dumbfounded.

Chris Wittyngham @ChrisWittyngham

Brandon Staley became Vic Fangio in one offseason

Bryan Knowles @BryKno

We've secretly replaced Brandon Staley's fourth down management with Kyle Shanahan's. Let's see if anyone notices.

Joe DiBiase @SneakyJoeSports

I’m changing my Super Bowl pick to the Bills.<br><br>The Brandon Staley we all knew is dead. <a href="https://t.co/puBHyXZ8xI">https://t.co/puBHyXZ8xI</a>

Pat Leonard @PLeonardNYDN

“How I fell out of love with 4th down” <br><br>A Brandon Staley autobiography <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Chargers?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Chargers</a>

Matt Harmon @MattHarmon_BYB

Was Brandon Staley cyber bullied into giving up going for it on 4th down?

lindsey ok @lindseyyok

Which one of y'all bullied Brandon Staley into this

Eric Edholm @Eric_Edholm

You guys ruined Brandon Staley I hope you realize

Seth Walder @SethWalder

According to the ESPN model, Brandon Staley cost the Chargers a cumulative 7.3 percentage points of win probability via 4th down errors in the first half.

Ian Kenyon @IanKenyonNFL

Brandon Staley and Andy Reid in a contest to see who can be more conservative.

Danny Parkins @DannyParkins

I’m really baffled by what these coaches have done with game management tonight. Who are these imposters dressed as Brandon Staley and Andy Reid?

Tom Gower @ThomasGower

I wonder if Brandon Staley wants any of those 4th downs back yet

Payton @paytonisnotroll

4-12 on 3rd down can Lombardi be fr please

Benjamin Solak @BenjaminSolak

how is lombardi possibly calling the exact same stuff man, do you know what field you are on, can you see what the clock and scoreboard say

Peter Bukowski @Peter_Bukowski

Any time Joe Lombardi calls two straight runs <a href="https://t.co/d0RMV9bcrw">pic.twitter.com/d0RMV9bcrw</a>

Tommy Smokes @TomScibelli

People need to start talking more about how bad of a coach Brandon Staley is

Honest NFL @TheHonestNFL

That’s poor game management by Joe Lombardi. Have to understand who’s on the field after a big play. They usually need to sub out. Tempo is for after quick plays to build rhythm and maintain simple coverage looks. No benefit to it there.

Ian Furness @IanFurnessSea

That’s on Brandon Staley. Everett wanted out after that long gain. Coach wants to go fast. And then with a tired TE they made the mistake of going after Watson. Bad decision. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GoCougs?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GoCougs</a>

Ryan O'Hanlon @rwohan

chargers: we read michael lewis books and do analytics<br><br>also chargers: we play our injured franchise qb when every win-probability metric says we have at best a two-percent chance of winning

Warren Sharp @SharpFootball

prison is a reasonable punishment for a play caller who has <br><br>JUSTIN MFIN HERBERT<br><br>average 3.8 air yards on early downs<br><br>THREE POINT EIGHT YARDS<br><br>15 attempts at or behind the line of scrimmage on early downs tonight<br><br>absolutely sickening<br><br>he's killing our prince

The Chargers are expected to be contenders in the AFC this season, but it will take a concerted effort from both the players and coaches to minimize errors along the way. On Thursday, the players were let down by Staley and Lombardi because of their conservative approach.

Los Angeles will have a few extra days to address the deficiencies from Thursday before the team returns to action on Sept. 25 against the Jacksonville Jaguars.