The Chargers have a chance to continue their improbable trip to a playoff berth Sunday.
Beat the Jets at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey and get some favorable results from around the league, and the team can continue clinging to the hope that it can become the second to start 0-4 and qualify for the playoffs. The Chargers also did that in 1992.
And the Chargers should win. They've got the deeper roster, more weapons on offense and more playmakers on defense. They've got nothing but incentives.
But, there's one statistic not on their side; one set of numbers the Chargers aren't quite sure how to figure.
Since the start of this season, the Chargers are winless when tight end Hunter Henry has gotten fewer than five targets. And with Henry on the injured-reserve list with a lacerated kidney, it's safe to say he won't be a part of the Chargers' game plans.
When Henry has been a featured receiver, the team has gone 7-1, the lone loss coming in Week 2 against Miami. It's a peculiar stat that could mean a lot of different things or absolutely nothing at all, depending on who is asked.
Offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt said using "targets" as a measure might be flawed when he was asked about the stat this week.
"I bet if we sat down and looked at what was called that was supposed to go to him and didn't because of coverage, or [other reasons], we'd see that doesn't matter," Whisenhunt said. "Because when you say something like that, it makes it sound like we were not trying to throw the ball to him.
"There were many times where earlier in the year there were comments from you guys about, 'Well, we didn't try to get it to him.' Well, we called seven plays to him, they didn't go to him. Once again, I'm not being critical. That's what you do. You can question it."
To clarify, "five targets" isn't a magic number. It's almost certainly a coincidence. But perhaps a better way to examine Henry's impact would be cumulatively.
Chargers contend with a pile of 'what ifs' as they try to keep playoff hopes alive in Week 16
Los Angeles Times | Dec 24