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Game Day: L of a weekend for SoCal teams

Editor’s note: This is the Monday Oct. 24 edition of the “Game Day with Kevin Modesti” newsletter. To receive the newsletter in your inbox, sign up here.

Good morning. I can’t write the usual rundown of Southern California sports results and headlines today without acknowledging a certain pattern.

Lakerslost, messing up the last minute against the Trail Blazers.
Clipperslost, trailing the Suns from the opening tip.
Duckslost, going 0-5 on their first trip of the season.
Kings – home after they lost the last two games of their first trip.
UCLA – trying to figure it out after having lost for the first time Saturday at Oregon on Saturday.
LAFC – didn’t lose, per se, because it didn’t play over the weekend, but MLS’s best team found out its opponent in the Western Conference final next Sundaywill be Austin FC, against which it lost both regular-season meetings.
The Dodgers couldn’t escape losing, and their season has been over for a week. The Padres lost to the Phillies, who will face the Astros in the World Series, and as our Bill Plunkett points out, this will be the first time since 2015 that the Dodgers won’t at least be able to brag they were knocked out by the World Serieswinner.

None of those teams is more disappointing right now than the Chargers, who, don’t you know, lost to the Seahawks 37-23 yesterday at SoFi Stadium.

As the NFL season started last month, I wrote about setting reasonable expectations for the Rams and Chargers and cautioned about getting too excited about the Chargers during a relatively light early slate of games.

“The first nine weeks of the Chargers’ schedule features only two likely playoff teams (Chiefs away, Broncos at Sofi), while the same stretch for the Rams has five likely playoff teams (Bills, Cowboys and 49ers at home, 49ers and Buccaneers away),” I pointed out. “If someone writes in November that the Chargers are better than the Rams, itmight be correct — or the records might be misleading.”

Well, we headed off that problem, didn’t we? Nobody is overrating the Chargers right now.

If it’s possible, the Chargers (4-3 after being touted as Super Bowl material) have let themselves down more than the Rams (3-3 to start the season after winning the Super Bowl).

What’s wrong?

Injuries are part of it, with Pro Bowl pass rusher Joey Bosa out until at least December and cornerback J.C. Jackson and wide receiver Mike Williams going down Sunday.

But that’s not enough of an excuse for a defense that was supposed to take a bigger step forward with the addition of Khalil Mack to the pass rush. And defensive lineman Sebastian Joseph-Day wasn’t making excuses.

“We’ve just got to stop hurting ourselves,” Joseph-Day said yesterday. “We’ve had all the talent. We have all the people we need. Now, it’s just us taking responsibility in our team and having pride in our performance and doing our job.”

And columnist Jim Alexander says some blame must fall on quarterback Justin Herbert and the offense, inconsistent even during the three-game winning streak that just ended.

The loss to Seattle left The Athletic’s Daniel Popper asking a question nobody expected to still be unanswerable: “Is this a good football team?

The Los Angeles Times’ Dylan Hernandez went this far: “Whatever the reason, the Chargers don’t look like a Super Bowl team.”

The Chargers now have a bye week to figure things out.

“I feel like no one is down on the season, no one is pointing any fingers,” safety Derwin James said in a story by ESPN’s Lindsey Thiry. “We still believe everything we want is still in front of us.”

Resisting finger-pointing is good, but the Chargers are going to have more games like this if defense-minded head coach Brandon Staley can’t improve them on that side of the ball.

Maybe the worst thing about giving up 37 points yesterday is that it wasn’t a huge surprise. The Chargers’ defense came into the game No. 25 in the league in yards allowed per play, No. 31 in yards allowed per rush, and the Seahawks’ offense came in No. 2 in the league in yards per play, No. 4 in yards per rush. Seattle and quarterback Geno Smith rolled up 404 yards in total offense, and rookie running back Kenneth Walker III led a 214-yard ground game.

That doesn’t bode well for the Chargers when they meet the 49ers, Chiefs, Raiders and Dolphins among their next six opponents.

It’s a good time for their week off.

TODAY

No events involving major Southern California pro and college teams are scheduled.

NEXT QUESTION

Chargers fans, I want to hear from you. What are you happy and unhappy about as the Chargers go into their bye week with a 4-3 record? Respond by email to KModesti@scng.com or on Twitter at @KevinModesti.

280 CHARACTERS

Beating the Dodgers was the Padres’ #WorldSeries2022 #NLCS

— Art Wilson (@Sham73) October 24, 2022

— Art Wilson (@Sham73) after San Diego followed up its NL Division Series upset of L.A. with an NL Championship Series loss to Phildadelphia.

1,000 WORDS

Squashed: Chargers running back Isaiah Spiller is tackled by Seahawks linebacker Uchenna Nwosu, a former Narbonne High (Harbor City), USC and Chargers player, during Seattle’s win yesterday. Photo is by Keith Birmingham of the Pasadena Star-News and SCNG.

TALK TO ME

Thanks for reading the newsletter. Send suggestions, comments and questions by email at Kmodesti@scng.com and via Twitter @KevinModesti.

Editor’s note: Thanks for reading the “Game Day with Kevin Modesti” newsletter. To receive the newsletter in your inbox, sign up here.

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