With Justin Herbert at the helm, can the Chargers change the hierarchy of power in the AFC West?

With Justin Herbert at the helm, can the Chargers change the hierarchy of power in the AFC West?


The Chargers and Chiefs face off on Thursday Night Football.
Image: Getty Images

As someone who prefers Marvel comics to DC — you can like both but every nerd has a favorite child — I find DC’s attempt to replicate Marvel Studios’ somewhat coherent movie IP charming. Really, really bad and borderline unwatchable, but charming nonetheless. So when I see The Rock announce that “The hierarchy of power in the DC UNIVERSE is about to change” with his new movie Black Adam, I get a good laugh.

It’s the same laugh I get when I read that the Los Angeles Chargers are going to make the postseason, and possibly make noise in it. Both claims have been spouted to an agonizing degree lately, and, in The Rock’s case, the hierarchy of power line has gotten the internet treatment. Whether a meme, a euphemism, or a gif, it’s simply hysterical to say because we know the hierarchy of power is shifting as much as the Chargers are winning the Super Bowl.

It could happen, and I’ve heard it before — and I’ll believe it when I see it. Just like I’ll need more evidence than an emo Batman and James Gunn passion projects to believe that DC is capable of copying the MCU. The same could be said for The Rock. The Fast and Furious spinoff was horrendous and his attempt at an amputee Die Hard didn’t work. He’s more charismatic PR man than movie star, and needs to make a transcendent blockbuster without Vin Diesel.

Sorry, I digress. This is a sports website. And, yes, the Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes are Marvel in this prolonged analogy that’s essentially the rest of this piece so if you’re lost or not enjoying it, you may want to find a more traditional article/author. Bolts even adorn the uniform of each. The comparison was sitting there, begging to be made. I’m honestly surprised no one has taken it yet.

The media narrative around the Chargers and Justin Herbert also gives off strong, “The hierarchy of power in the AFC West is about to change” vibes, and that’s not a great thing. Regardless of whether I’ve written myself into a corner here, I think there’s a lot of doubt regarding both Black Adam/DC and the Chargers, and that’s what I’m trying to convey to you.

To be fair, Dwayne Johnson and Herbert are more than capable of being leading men in their respective fields. I don’t trust the people — Chargers coach Brandon Staley/the collection of half-wit clowns that helm the DCEU — in charge though. Staley is a defensive coach, and despite that unit forcing three Derek Carr interceptions and getting a hold when it mattered against Las Vegas in Week 1, LA was up 24-10 and 24-13 in the second half and had to use every one of its fingers to hold on.

After the Chargers scored on their first drive of the second half, they had three punts and a missed field goal over their next four trips on offense before they were able to get a first down and kneel out the clock to ice it. That game-clinching first down was one of two in those five possessions.

I’ll give them a pass for playing conservative when they were backed up on the one-yard after a pick. Not so much for the other passive attempts at offense which included multiple timid run-run-pass three-down sequences that would only make Big Ten fans happy. They predictably led to either a three-and-out or a long missed field goal. Gotta love it when a coach is content with getting in field goal range.

Staley is known for going for it, almost recklessly so, on fourth downs, and technically that’s “being aggressive.” It doesn’t mean he’s not conservative in other facets of the game that have cost L.A. wins. There were a few late comebacks Sunday that resulted in gross losses (or if you’re a Texans fan, a gross tie) and the Chargers tried their hardest to be one of them. That propensity for dry heaving, and a non-existent home-field advantage, are why I don’t trust them. Herbert once again had to resort to a silent count at home.

But, hey, it’ll come in handy during tonight’s visit to Arrowhead on Amazon Prime. (Thanks, Jeff Bezos, you tyrant of industry.) It should be a competitive contest, and hopefully not belligerent as so many Thursday night games are wont to be. The national television showcase also would be a perfect time for Herbert and Co. to announce that “The hierarchy of power in the AFC West is about to change.”





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About the Author

Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.