The L.A. Chargers celebrated their Christmas Monday night with a solid performance against the Indianapolis Colts. They earned a spot in the postseason for the first time in four years, thanks to a solid Monday Night Football performance that kept Indy unable to move the chains.
The Chargers’ (9-6) defense stopped the Indianapolis Colts (4-10-1) at every turn. The Colts couldn’t get anything done in three whole quarters, only getting on the board once in the second quarter with a field goal.
L.A. took the game 20-3, but the defense has to be given most of the credit. It did most of the heavy lifting for the team, although safety Derwin James, Jr. is going to pay the price.
James Gives, Takes A Dinger
The Chargers defense played hardball throughout the game, but James was one of the more aggressive players. He was responsible for one of three of L.A.s picks, but what is being talked about more is the brutal hit he landed on Colts receiver Ashton Dulin.
Just when Dulin was coming down with a pass, James was there, a lion ready to pounce on his prey. He did, too, coming in with his helmet and knocking Dulin for a loop. It was enough to send the receiver to the locker room to check for a concussion, but only after medical personnel came on the field to help him up.
Oh my. Derwin James just blasted Ashton Dulin and the Colts quickly took him to the medical tent.
Derwin was ejected.pic.twitter.com/T90xif6ri4
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) December 27, 2022
The hit also left James a little woozy, as he ended up in the Chargers’ medical tent for observation. It also cost the team 15 yards for unnecessary roughness, which then turned into an ejection for the former first-round draft pick.
There will almost definitely be a fine from the NFL for the hit. Last season, the league fined him $15,450 for a horse-collar tackle in a game against the then-Washington Football Team, so expectations are that he’ll pay more this time around.
Given that he just picked up a four-year extension worth $76 million in August, it won’t hurt his pocket too much. A suspension would hurt more.
Preparing For the Postseason
Now that they’ve locked in their spot in the postseason after such a long wait, it’s time for the Chargers to get busy. Whether they’ll do it with or without James, the highest-paid safety in the league, remains to be seen.
However, the Chargers showed that they could dominate without him. The vicious hit came in the second quarter – the only quarter the Colts capitalized on – and L.A. blanked Indianapolis the rest of the game.
This game was an easy one for sports bettors, as the Chargers were way out in front on the moneyline for good reason. Backing the over on a total of around 45 seemed to be a smart choice, but the ineffectiveness of the Colts offense stifled any chance for momentum.
The Chargers will move on, and the Colts will move into rebuild mode once again. They’ll likely – and surprisingly – do it under Jeff Saturday. The interim head coach, according to Colts owner Jim Irsay, will keep his job in the new year.
However, a similar situation played out in the not-so-distant past with a fledgling New York Jets squad, so anything’s possible.
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