Brandon Staley and the Chargers defense wasting another year of Justin Herbert

Los Angeles Chargers fans have to be tired of seeing this same movie week after week, year after year.

They saw it again on Sunday in a 41-38 loss to the Detroit Lions.

Quarterback Justin Herbert will play great, post huge numbers and light up the scoreboard with what should be enough points to win.

Then the defense takes the field and it all goes to waste. Head coach Brandon Staley never seems to have any answers to get it right on that side of the ball

Inevitably, the Chargers fell to 4-5, wasting another brilliant performance from Herbert as he threw for 323 yards and threw four touchdowns.

The consistent narrative around the Chargers is that they are too talented to have the record they have, too talented to miss the playoffs. But no matter how good a team is on paper, results speak for themselves. At some point, we may have to accept that this is just who the Chargers are.

Let’s not mince words. The Chargers are a badly flawed team with an inept defense and an in-over-his-head coach. They also happen to have one of the best quarterbacks in the league. The talent on this roster is all on the offensive side of the ball, and most of it is concentrated at quarterback

There’s only so much one player can do, especially without any support from the defensive side of the ball.

This is Herbert’s fourth year in the NFL, and he has never played on a team that has finished higher than 21st in the NFL in points against. After Sunday’s game, the Chargers are allowing 23.8 points per game this season, a number that has them once again among the bottom-10 defenses in the NFL.

This is not a winning formula, and is a big reason why the Chargers have made the playoffs just one time in Herbert’s first three full years. Even in that playoff appearance, the Chargers defense still let a four-touchdown lead slip away. Already looking at a 4-5 record this season in a very tough AFC playoff race, the Chargers might be looking at another wasted year for Herbert unless something changes dramatically over the next few weeks.

Staley came to Los Angeles with a reputation for being a defensive guru. This is his system. It is his players. He makes the calls. It hasn’t been good enough.

This defensive ineptitude is causing the Chargers to perform a particularly difficult task in the NFL — waste a franchise quarterback

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