Brandon Staley momentarily escapes hot seat by coaching like his replacement

Los Angeles Chargers head coach Brandon Staley. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Los Angeles Chargers head coach Brandon Staley. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

With retired coach Sean Payton being linked to the Los Angeles Chargers, Brandon Staley got off of the hot seat briefly after a gutsy call led to a victory in Week 12.

The Los Angeles Chargers were coming off of their second heartbreaking loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. As it turns out, leaving less than two minutes on the clock was too much for Patrick Mahomes. With that loss, it put the Chargers at 5-5 on the year. As is the case when any team with high expectations loses, the blame is placed on head coach. In this case, it was Brandon Staley.

Sean Payton, formerly of the New Orleans Saints, retired this offseason. Yet, he could return for the right opening. According to an ESPN report from Jeremy Fowler and Dan Graziano (subscription required), the Chargers and Arizona Cardinals are two positions that Payton has an eye on if he were to make a return to coaching. The importance of those teams are that the quarterback positions are settled. The Chargers have Justin Herbert, enough said.

But Brandon Staley helped cool down the hot seat in Week 12 after the Chargers pulled off a 25-24 victory in crunch time. They did so thanks to a Payton-esque gutsy play call.

Brandon Staley channels Sean Payton to get Chargers win

Los Angeles got the football back at Arizona’s own 38-yard line with under two minutes remaining while trailing 24-17. Herbert completed four consecutive passes 37 yards. Facing a third-and-seven, Herbert hit running back Austin Ekeler for a 10-yard gain, setting them up at Arizona’s own one-yard line.

On first and goal, Herbert connected with Ekeler once again for a one-yard touchdown pass, pulling them within one point of tying the game. Instead of playing for overtime, Staley opted to go for the win on a two-point conversion. Herbert hit tight end Gerald Everett on a slant for the two points, giving the Chargers a 25-24 lead with just 15 seconds remaining.

The Chargers would hold on after Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray threw two incomplete passes.

On the day, Herbert completed 35-of-47 pass attempts for 274 yards and three touchdowns.

This was a win Staley needed, and playing for overtime wasn’t an option for him. He went for the win, and it became a reality. His job is safe, for now at least.

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