Ben on the Bolts: Chargers vs. Redskins

Time once again for my Chargers "3 Questions" blog ... a question that was answered, a question that was left unresolved, and a new question that was created during the course of the game. Here's the Chargers vs. Redskins edition.

QUESTION ANSWERED: Do the Chargers trust Ryan Mathews? No, they do not. Despite back-to-back 100-yard rushing games, the coaching staff doesn't trust their "primary running back," especially near the end zone. No one familiar with the game of football would pick Danny Woodhead over Mathews to get one tough yard at the goal line. In Washington, the Chargers missed an opportunity not only to win the game, but also give a huge confidence boost to Mathews and the offensive line. Triple fail.

QUESTION UNRESOLVED: How much do the Chargers miss Donald Butler? You can make the argument that the Chargers have yet to get a complete, healthy game from their best defensive player. They may not get one all season. Groin injuries can be very tricky, especially for a linebacker. Butler could have made a huge difference in Washington. Consider the critical 3rd down conversion on Robert Griffin III's flying leap in the second half. That scramble is just the kind of play Butler is born to stop. Force the Redskins to punt, and the entire course of the game may have changed.

QUESTION CREATED: Can fans trust the Chargers coaching staff? Chargers fans are used to heartbreak. It was a staple of the Norv Turner era. One of the most powerful arguments for getting rid of Norv was the idea that it couldn't get any worse. Norv pelted the San Diego fan base with disappointments like he was chucking rotten eggs on Halloween. Yet, somehow, improbably ... it's actually gotten worse under Mike McCoy.

In just one half of one season, McCoy has already inflicted three devastating losses on fans, plus a clunker against the hated Raiders. In the Houston game, the Chargers had a 98.6% win probability before frittering away a 28-7 lead. In Tennessee, the Chargers were a 94.5% favorite to win before McCoy punted the win into the hands of Jake Locker. In Washington, it was even worse. According to, the Chargers had a 98.9% chance of winning with 1st and goal from inside the 1 in the final 30 seconds. Even Norv managed to choke away those kind of odds only once or twice per season. I'm almost afraid to see what happens the rest of the year.

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