The Chargers on Monday night will make NFL history.
No team has played an opponent that is coming off a defeat in which it blew a 33-point lead.
That’s what Indianapolis did Saturday, going up 33-0 at halftime only to lose at Minnesota 39-36 in overtime.
“You know that in the NFL, sometimes things happen,” Chargers coach Brandon Staley said Thursday. “Every week in the NFL, something like that happens.”
Well, not every week. At least not something such as a league-record 33-point collapse.
The Chargers will enter this weekend at 8-6 and sitting as the AFC’s sixth seed. But in the Colts, they will face a genuine wild-card team.
Two weeks before crumbling against the Vikings, Indianapolis trailed Dallas 21-19 in the fourth quarter before surrendering five touchdowns in barely 11 minutes.
To understand how ridiculous of a turnaround that is, consider that the Colts trailed by a safety and then, less than a quarter later, lost by the third-widest margin — 54-19 — in the NFL this season.
“Things happen in this league,” Chargers defensive lineman Morgan Fox said, speaking of Indianapolis’ most recent disaster. “Don’t forget, they were playing a good football team.”
True. Minnesota clinched the NFC North with its comeback victory over the Colts. So, in that respect, Indianapolis opened a 33-0 edge against a division champion.
The Colts also won at Las Vegas, where the Chargers lost; beat Jacksonville, a team the Chargers lost to; and beat Kansas City, a team the Chargers lost to twice.
“This is the NFL,” Chargers defensive lineman Sebastian Joseph-Day said. “It doesn’t even matter what’s happened during a season. You can get humbled real quick.”
Also true, but Indianapolis is reeling. The Colts have dropped four in a row and seven of eight.
They are on their second head coach, Jeff Saturday replacing the fired Frank Reich in early November.
They just lost running back Jonathan Taylor because of high-ankle sprain. They’re changing quarterbacks for the third time this season and will start Nick Foles against the Chargers.
Foles is a Super Bowl champion and Super Bowl MVP, winning both with the 2017 Philadelphia Eagles.
But he also has started one game since Nov. 16, 2020. Over nearly the last calendar year, Foles has taken two snaps in the regular season. He handed off both times.
“You just know that he has a lot of experience,” Staley said. “He has made a lot of winning plays, and you have full respect for what he has accomplished in the league. The reason why he has been in the league so long is because he is a quality player.”
The Chargers, who are slightly better than a field-goal favorite Monday, control their postseason fate. After visiting Indianapolis, they play the Rams (4-10) at SoFi Stadium and finish the regular season at Denver (4-10).
“I’m sure they’re disappointed from last week and will be wired to play,” Joseph-Day said of the Colts. “That has to be our mindset too.”
No Joey Bosa yet
The Chargers still have yet to designate edge rusher Joey Bosa to return. He went on the injured reserve list after having core-muscle surgery. Bosa was hurt in Week 3.
The Chargers have maintained all along that they expect him to make it back this season. Once a player is designated to return, his team has 21 days to activate him.
The Chargers traded for veteran edge rusher Khalil Mack in March to pair with Bosa. Despite Bosa missing the last 11 games, Mack has played well enough to earn his seventh career Pro Bowl selection this week.
Safety Derwin James Jr. (quadriceps) 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) also were limited. Both played Sunday after being on the injury report last week.