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63 Strikes, You're Out!

The Los Angeles Chargers fired Brandon Staley as head coach after their embarrassing 63-21 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders

By Clyde E. DawkinsPublished 7 months ago β€’ 4 min read
Top Story - December 2023
Brandon Staley was hired as Chargers head coach in 2021

They did it, folks. They finally did it.

The Los Angeles Chargers actually fired Brandon Staley as their head coach, with the firing coming after the Chargers suffered a very embarrassing loss on national television. The Chargers were on the road against the Las Vegas Raiders, and it was a game that saw the Raiders absolutely pour it on. 63 points. Nine touchdowns--seven of them by the offense. The 63 points fell just 10 short of the long-standing record set by the Chicago Bears, who scored 73 points in the 1940 NFL Championship Game over Washington. However, the Raiders' 63 points are the most in team history, and marked the second time this season that a team scored 60+ points--the Miami Dolphins scored 70 points in Week 3.

The Chargers were actually behind 42-0 at halftime, bringing this Packers fan back to a primetime game that saw Green Bay actually leading the Bears by that same score (though the Packers didn't reach 60 points, only scoring 55 in the win). It was horrendous. A lot of people thought Staley should have been fired at halftime! He wasn't, of course, but I truly think Staley should have been canned earlier than he was.

Brandon Staley was hired by the Chargers in 2021. He had been coaching at the collegiate level for several years until the Chicago Bears hired him as their linebackers coach in 2017. After two years there, he went to Denver for the same position, and in 2020, Staley served as the Rams' defensive coordinator. So yeah, Staley stuck around in the LA area and took the Chargers' job. In his postgame presser, Staley was asked if he should still be the head coach. His response:

"Yes. I know what I've done here for 3 years."

We know, too, Brandon. That's why your ass got fired. But let's elaborate further, shall we? What exactly did Staley do in LA for three years?

The Timeout

I will always treasure the final week of the 2021 season, because it delivered a level a chaos that not even the NHL could provide. In the AFC, the week began with five teams vying for two spots, and by the season finale, it was down to three. Two of them played each other in the finale: the Chargers and the Raiders. We remember the scenarios. The winner was in, and would also let the Steelers in. The loser was out, and a tie would put both teams in, while the Steelers would be eliminated. Raiders had a 15-point lead, but Justin Herbert led a big comeback: touchdown, two point conversion, and another touchdown in the final seconds. The game went to OT, which made Steelers fans quite nervous, especially after the teams traded field goals, and the Raiders got conservative with their plays.

It was painfully clear: with the time winding down in OT, the Raiders were going for the tie, which would have put both teams in and booted Pittsburgh. However, Staley decided to call timeout for some ungodly reason, and that timeout allowed the Raiders to change their plans. Their next play saw them end up in field goal range, and at the 4200th and final second of the game, the Raiders won it on a field goal. As a result, the Raiders made the playoffs, the Steelers made the playoffs, the Chargers season was over, and Staley totally bungled it.


Year Two did see Staley and the Chargers in the playoffs, but Staley managed to even mess that up. On the final week, the Chargers faced the Broncos in a meaningless game. The Broncos were done, and the Chargers were locked into their playoff position. For some reason, Staley decided to start Mike Williams at receiver. Williams is one of their top receivers along with Keenan Allen. If I recall, Allen wasn't out there, so why was Williams? Williams ended up injured during the game, and it was bad enough to consider the possibility that he would not be playing the Wild Card Playoff. Sure enough, that's what happened.

In spite this, things were going well for the Chargers; they led 27-0 and appeared to be on their way to advancing. However, Staley's bad playcalling dominated the second half, and the team ended up blowing that massive lead and losing the game, 31-30. Keep in mind: last year's Wild Card Weekend marked the unofficial 30th anniversary of "The Comeback," the famous 32-point comeback win. Staley totally messed this up. Having Williams in that game definitely would have helped.

63 Points

Which brings us to this latest debacle. Defense is supposed to be Staley's specialty, yet the Chargers defense has sucked since he became their HC. This was the last straw. This team gave up 63 points to the Raiders. Mind you, this was four days after the Raiders lost 3-0 to the Vikings. Also, the Raiders had trouble scoring this season. Granted, their offense wasn't Patriots bad, but it was bad. Plain and simple, Staley had been petulant for weeks; he basically threw a mini-tantrum after a loss to the Packers this season, telling the media that he ran the defense and he knows what he's doing.

In addition to his boast about his three years as HC, Staley also said that games like this happen to every head coach. No, they don't. It's never happened to Mike Tomlin. It's never happened to Andy Reid. It's never happened to Bill Belichick. Hell, it's never even happened to Mike McCarthy! Imagine making Mike McCarthy look as good as Jimmy Johnson. Seriously, Brandon, just shut up and take your pink slip.

Brandon Staley coached 48 games for the Chargers. His record? 24-24. The fact that the Rams won the Super Bowl the first year after Staley left his defensive coordinator position should have been a sign. Brandon Staley said that he knew what he had done for the team for three years. Unfortunately for him, so did the Chargers. As for who will replace him next year, I've said (semi-jokingly) that Bill Belichick could end up there. Sounds impossible, but you never know. I do know this: the Chargers are finally free, and when it comes to hiring a head coach, they have nowhere else to go but up.


About the Creator

Clyde E. Dawkins

I am an avid fan of sports and wrestling, and I've been a fan of female villains since the age of eight. Also into film and TV, especially Simpsons and Family Guy.

Feel free to follow my social media:

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Comments (7)

  • Stephen A. Roddewig7 months ago

    Staley's face on the featured image makes it looks like he's being told the news through his headset at that very moment, lol

  • k eleanor7 months ago

    Great article. Congratulations on Top story!πŸŽ‰β€

  • Great article, Clyde. I just found your page, and I am a new subscriber. This firing was long overdue. I thought they should have fired Staley last season after he continued to send out an injured Justin Herbert against the Chiefs late in the game. Herbert is tough as nails, but there comes a point when protecting your franchise QB is more important than a September road win. We saw McDaniel do the same in Miami with Tua. I realize there is a lot of pressure to win now, but a coach's failure to keep his eyes on the big picture is unacceptable. Any good general knows that there is a time to press forward and seize an advantage, and there is a time to retreat, fortify, and then strike again.

  • Mattie :)7 months ago

    Yo I didn't know there was a football tag on here. Great post, Clyde. I'm a Jaguars fan. That win against the Chargers last post season will always be a fond memory haha.

  • Melissa Ingoldsby7 months ago

    I love your passion for this game and the way you explain it is very accessible and clear even if you aren't a sports fan

  • Babs Iverson7 months ago

    Terrific story!!! Agree the firing should have happened before loosing so horrifically!!! Left a heart!!!πŸ’•β€οΈβ€οΈ

  • Philip Gipson7 months ago

    Let's hope that the Chargers will have a head coach that's all about flexibility.

Clyde E. DawkinsWritten by Clyde E. Dawkins

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