|2018 Los Angeles Chargers season|
|Owner||Alex Spanos (until death, October 9)|
|Head coach||Anthony Lynn|
|General manager||Tom Telesco|
|Home field||StubHub Center|
|Division place||2nd AFC West|
|Playoff finish||Won Wild Card Playoffs|
(at Ravens) 23-17
Lost Divisional Playoffs
(at Patriots) 28-41
|Pro Bowlers||QB Philip Rivers|
RB Melvin Gordon
WR Keenan Allen
C Mike Pouncey
DE Melvin Ingram
S Derwin James
ST Adrian Phillips
|AP All-Pros||DB Desmond King (1st team)|
PR Desmond King (2nd team)
S Derwin James (1st team)
DB Derwin James (2nd team)
ST Adrian Phillips (1st team)
Despite a slow 1-2 start, the Chargers improved on their 9-7 record from last year with a Week 14 win over the Cincinnati Bengals. They also recorded a 10-win season for the first time since 2009 when they were in San Diego, also their first as a Los Angeles based team since 1960. With a Week 15 win over the Kansas City Chiefs, the Chargers clinched their first playoff berth since 2013 when they were based in San Diego.
The Chargers finished 12-4, tied with the Chiefs for both the AFC West division title and the best record in the AFC. However, the Chiefs won the division and the AFC's No. 1 seed based on record vs. division opponents (5-1 to 4-2), giving the Chargers the Wild Card and the AFC's No. 5 seed. The Chargers defeated the Baltimore Ravens 23-17 in the Wild Card round, but lost to the eventual Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots 41-28 in the Divisional round.
|C||Mike Pouncey||Miami Dolphins|
|TE||Virgil Green||Denver Broncos|
|K||Caleb Sturgis||Philadelphia Eagles|
|P||Donnie Jones||Philadelphia Eagles|
|G||Kenny Wiggins||Detroit Lions|
|G||Matt Slauson||Indianapolis Colts|
|S||Tre Boston||Arizona Cardinals|
|RB||Branden Oliver||Indianapolis Colts|
|2018 Los Angeles Chargers draft|
|1||17||Derwin James *||S||Florida State|
|3||84||Justin Jones||DT||NC State|
|4||119||Kyzir White||S||West Virginia|
|6||191||Dylan Cantrell||WR||Texas Tech|
|7||251||Justin Jackson||RB||Northwestern||Compensatory pick|
|Made roster + Pro Football Hall of Fame * Made at least one Pro Bowl during career|
|1||August 11||at Arizona Cardinals||L 17-24||0-1||State Farm Stadium||Recap|
|2||August 18||Seattle Seahawks||W 24-14||1-1||StubHub Center||Recap|
|3||August 25||New Orleans Saints||L 7-36||1-2||StubHub Center||Recap|
|4||August 30||at San Francisco 49ers||W 23-21||2-2||Levi's Stadium||Recap|
On January 11, the NFL announced that the Chargers will play host to the Tennessee Titans in one of the London Games at Wembley Stadium in London, England. It will be the Chargers' second appearance in the International Series; the other being 2008. The game will occur during Week 7 (October 21), and will be televised in the United States.
The Chargers' regular season schedule was released on April 19.
|1||September 9||Kansas City Chiefs||L 28-38||0-1||StubHub Center||Recap|
|2||September 16||at Buffalo Bills||W 31-20||1-1||New Era Field||Recap|
|3||September 23||at Los Angeles Rams||L 23-35||1-2||Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum||Recap|
|4||September 30||San Francisco 49ers||W 29-27||2-2||StubHub Center||Recap|
|5||October 7||Oakland Raiders||W 26-10||3-2||StubHub Center||Recap|
|6||October 14||at Cleveland Browns||W 38-14||4-2||FirstEnergy Stadium||Recap|
|7||October 21||Tennessee Titans||W 20-19||5-2||Wembley Stadium (London)||Recap|
|9||November 4||at Seattle Seahawks||W 25-17||6-2||CenturyLink Field||Recap|
|10||November 11||at Oakland Raiders||W 20-6||7-2||Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum||Recap|
|11||November 18||Denver Broncos||L 22-23||7-3||StubHub Center||Recap|
|12||November 25||Arizona Cardinals||W 45-10||8-3||StubHub Center||Recap|
|13||December 2||at Pittsburgh Steelers||W 33-30||9-3||Heinz Field||Recap|
|14||December 9||Cincinnati Bengals||W 26-21||10-3||StubHub Center||Recap|
|15||at Kansas City Chiefs||W 29-28||11-3||Arrowhead Stadium||Recap|
|16||Baltimore Ravens||L 10-22||11-4||StubHub Center||Recap|
|17||December 30||at Denver Broncos||W 23-9||12-4||Broncos Stadium at Mile High||Recap|
Note: Intra-division opponents are in bold text.
Philip Rivers eclipsed 4,000 yards at the same time as Tom Brady, becoming the third and fourth quarterback in NFL history to reach 4,000 yards in 10 seasons or more, joining Peyton Manning & Drew Brees.
|(2)Kansas City Chiefs||14381920||293012||083||.997||6347-0||13720-232||565||421||W1|
|(5)Los Angeles Chargers||12||4||0||.750||4-2||9-3||428||329||W1|
|1[a]||Kansas City Chiefs||West||12||4||0||.750||5-1||10-2||.480||.401||W1|
|2[b]||New England Patriots||East||11||5||0||.688||5-1||8-4||.482||.494||W2|
|5[a]||Los Angeles Chargers||West||12||4||0||.750||4-2||9-3||.477||.422||W1|
|Did not qualify for the postseason|
|15[d]||New York Jets||East||4||12||0||.250||1-5||3-9||.506||.438||L3|
|Playoff round||Date||Opponent (seed)||Result||Record||Game site||NFL.com|
|Wild Card||January 6, 2019||at Baltimore Ravens (4)||W 23-17||1-0||M&T Bank Stadium||Recap|
|Divisional||January 13, 2019||at New England Patriots (2)||L 28-41||1-1||Gillette Stadium||Recap|
The Chargers recorded six sacks, jumped out to a 23-3 lead and halted a late Ravens rally, forcing Lamar Jackson to fumble on the final drive to earn a trip to New England.
On the Ravens' second possession of the game, Chargers defensive end Melvin Ingram forced a fumble from Kenneth Dixon that was recovered by safety Adrian Phillips, giving Los Angeles the ball on the Baltimore 14-yard line. Three plays later, Michael Badgley kicked a 21-yard field goal to give Los Angeles a 3-0 lead. Then the Chargers' defense forced a punt, which Desmond King returned 42 yards to the Ravens' 42-yard line, setting up a 53-yard Badgley field goal that increased their lead to 6-0. Early in the second quarter, Phillips intercepted a pass from Jackson to give the Chargers a first down on the Ravens' 44-yard line. From there, they drove 27 yards to go up 9-0 on Badgley's third field goal. Following another Ravens punt, Los Angeles drove 53 yards in 12 plays to score on Badgley's fourth field goal on the last play of the half, giving them a 12-0 lead.
King returned the second half kickoff 72 yards to the Ravens' 35-yard line, but this time the Chargers failed to score when Badgley's field goal attempt was blocked by Za'Darius Smith. After a Ravens punt, linebacker Patrick Onwuasor forced a fumble from Chargers tight end Virgil Green that was recovered by linebacker C. J. Mosley on the Los Angeles 21-yard line. This set up Justin Tucker's 33-yard field goal, cutting the score to 12-3 with 8:34 left in the third quarter. At the end of Los Angeles' next possession, the Ravens got another scoring opportunity when Javorius Allen blocked Donnie Jones's punt, resulting in Baltimore taking over on the Chargers' 40-yard line; they only managed to gain 4 yards with their next three plays and Tucker's 50-yard field goal attempt was wide right. Los Angeles then drove 60 yards in 10 plays, featuring a 28-yard completion from Philip Rivers to Mike Williams on the Ravens' 15-yard line. On the next play, Melvin Gordon ran the ball 14 yards to the 1-yard line. The Ravens managed to keep Los Angeles out of the end zone for the next three plays, but Gordon scored with a 4th down 1-yard touchdown run on the first play of the 4th quarter; Rivers completed a pass to Williams for a two-point conversion, giving the Chargers a 20-3 lead.
A sack by Ingram on the Ravens' ensuing drive forced them to punt from their 14-yard line and Sam Koch's 31-yard kick gave the Chargers good field position on the Ravens' 45-yard line. Los Angeles then drove 16 yards, including a 9-yard scramble by Rivers on 3rd-and-8, to score on Badgley's 5th field goal, from 47 yards, that gave them a 23-3 lead. Taking the ball back with 9:02 left, Baltimore drove 75 yards in eight plays, including Jackson's 29-yard completion to Willie Snead on 4th-and-11. On the next play, Jackson threw a 31-yard touchdown pass to receiver Michael Crabtree, making the score 23-10. The Chargers recovered Baltimore's ensuing onside kick attempt, but still had to punt after three plays. Baltimore went on to drive 85 yards in 12 plays, the longest a 39-yard completion from Jackson to Dixon. On the last play, Jackson threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Crabtree, narrowing their gap to 23-17 with 2:06 left. Baltimore then forced a punt with 45 seconds to go, giving them one last chance to drive for a winning touchdown, but Chargers linebacker Uchenna Nwosu forced a fumble while sacking Jackson and Ingram recovered it to give Los Angeles the victory.
Rivers completed 22-of-32 passes for 160 yards and rushed for 15 yards. Ingram finished the game with seven tackles (two for a loss of yards), two sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Phillips had five tackles (three solo), an interception and a fumble recovery. King returned a kickoff for 72 yards and had four punt returns for 46 yards. Jackson completed 14-of-29 passes for 194 yards, with two touchdowns and an interception; he was also Baltimore's leading rusher with 9 carries for 54 yards. Onwausor had seven tackles (six solo), a sack and a forced fumble.
New England piled up 347 yards in the first half and scored touchdowns on five of their first six possessions to defeat the Chargers, which sent the Patriots to the AFC championship game for the eighth consecutive season.
The Patriots started the game by driving 83 yards in 14 plays, scoring on Sony Michel's 1-yard touchdown run. Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers quickly led his team right back, completing an 18-yard pass to Mike Williams on 3rd-and-15 before tying the game on a 43-yard touchdown completion to Keenan Allen. New England then drove 67 yards in 7 plays, the longest a 28-yard completion from Tom Brady to receiver Julian Edelman. On the next play, Michel ran 14 yards to the end zone to give the Patriots a 14-7 lead with less than a minute left in the first quarter.
Los Angeles had to punt after three plays and Edelman returned it 6 yards to the Patriots' 42-yard line. Then he caught passes for gains of 11 and 17 yards as New England drove 58 yards to take a 21-7 lead on Brady's 15-yard touchdown pass to receiver Phillip Dorsett. Following another Chargers punt, Brady completed a 25-yard pass to running back James White on New England's first play. A few plays later, Michel took off for a 40-yard run to the Chargers' 9-yard line, where Rex Burkhead took the ball to the end zone over the next two plays, the second a 6-yard touchdown run to put the Patriots up 28-7. The next time New England got the ball, they were forced into a three-and-out, but Chargers returner Desmond King muffed their punt and Albert McClellan recovered it for the Patriots on the Chargers' 35-yard line. Brady then started the ensuing possession with a 19-yard completion to Edelman, while Michel finished it with his third touchdown run, a 5-yard carry, that put the team up 35-7 with 1:40 left in the half. They nearly scored again after forcing an Los Angeles punt, but Dorsett was tackled on the Chargers' 30-yard line as time expired.
In the first half alone, Brady completed 23-of-29 passes for 233 yards and a touchdown, Michel had 16 carries for 105 yards and three touchdowns, White caught 10 passes for 71 yards, and Edelman caught 7 passes for 107 yards while also returning 3 punts for 31 yards.
Los Angeles had to punt on their opening drive of the second half and Brady's 25-yard completion to tight end Rob Gronkowski set up a 28-yard Stephen Gostkowski field goal, increasing New England's lead to 38-7. This time the Chargers were able to respond, as Williams caught 3 passes for 40 yards as the team drove 72 yards in 10 plays to score on Melvin Gordon's 1-yard touchdown run, cutting the score to 38-14. But Los Angeles' defense still could not contain New England, as Brady's completions to Edelman and White for gains of 35 and 23 yards lead to another Gostkowski field goal, giving the Patriots a 41-14 lead with 12:27 left.
Following a few punts, Rivers completed passes to Tyrell Williams and Allen for gains of 29 and 32 yards as the team drove to score on his 1-yard touchdown pass to tight end Virgil Green. Then he completed a pass to Allen for a two-point conversion, making the score 41-22 with 7:28 left. After failing to recover an onside kick, the Chargers forced a punt, but Patriots defensive back Stephon Gilmore ended their following drive with an interception. By the time Los Angeles got the ball back, only three minutes remained, which they used to drive 80 yards in 12 plays to score on Rivers' 8-yard pass to tight end Antonio Gates, making the final score 41-28 following a failed two-point conversion attempt.
Brady completed 34-of-44 passes for 343 yards and a touchdown. Edelman caught 9 passes for 131 yards and returned 5 punts for 37 yards, moving to second place all-time in playoff receptions, behind only Jerry Rice. White tied an all-time playoff record with 15 receptions for 97 yards. Michel ran 24 times for 129 yards and three touchdowns, and caught a pass for 9 yards. Rivers finished the day 25-of-51 for 331 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. Tyrell Williams was his top receiver with 5 receptions for 94 yards.
With this win, Tom Brady improved his record against Rivers to 8-0 (counting regular season and playoff games).
Down judge Sarah Thomas became the first woman to officiate an NFL postseason game and second woman to officiate a postseason game in one of the four major North American professional sports leagues, following the NBA's Violet Palmer.