GREEN BAY, Wis. – So that's why the Chargers are the Chargers.
No matter how much talent they have, they appear destined to be mired in mediocrity. That was evident in the Green Bay Packers’ victory over Los Angeles on Sunday at Lambeau Field.
Dropped passes and missed opportunities were the name of the game for the Chargers.
The Chargers have played several games like this over the years. They seemingly all end the same way, where they feel like they're the more talented team but are on the losing end of the scoreboard.
Today's beneficiary was Jordan Love and the Packers.
Give the Packers, however, for taking advantage of the opportunities they were given.
Here are the grades from our weekly Packers report card.
Matt LaFleur and Jordan Love did a good job of distributing the ball to all their young targets throughout the game.
Every active receiver caught at least one pass, with Dontayvion Wicks leading the way with 91 yards. Jayden Reed led the team in total yards with 92 yards on seven touches.
Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs caught touchdown passes from Love. Doubs' 24-yard touchdown gave the Packers a 23-20 lead with 2:33 to play in the game.
That pass from Love put him over 300 yards for the first time in his career. Moreover, it was the first 300-yard passing game by a Packers quarterback since Dec. 12, 2021, when Aaron Rodgers shredded the Chicago Bears for 341 yards.
Love finished the day with 322 yards through the air.
Still, the passing offense had its moments where it left yardage on the field.
"There's definitely a lot of opportunities we didn't capitalize on, and it could have been a completely different game if we did," Love said.
Even with the meat left on the bone, it was the best performance the passing attack has put together since Love was anointed the starter.
The big story here is that Aaron Jones was lost for the game with a knee injury that looked devastating but was not. Jones was carted off the field after getting his foot caught in the Lambeau Field grass.
There were tears in his eyes, and he did not return to the game.
Overall, the run game's biggest moments came from a wide receiver. Jayden Reed had a 32-yard touchdown run, which was the longest run of the day. He also had the second-longest run, a 15-yarder.
Without Jones and Emanuel Wilson for most of the game, AJ Dillon was asked to carry the load.
As has been the case for most of the season, the offensive line didn't open holes and Dillon didn't find much room to roam.
The running backs finished with 55 yards on 21 carries and failed to run the clock out when one first down would have ended the game against a Chargers defense that has struggled to stop the run all season.
At this point, the run game is what it is. It's hard to imagine it getting any better. Only Reed's run saves them from a failing grade.
The pass defense was playing short-handed when cornerback Jaire Alexander was announced as inactive 90 minutes before kickoff.
When a defense faces Justin Herbert, it needs all hands on deck. But the Packers were down four of their five preferred starters from Week 1, with Rasul Douglas traded to Buffalo and safeties Darnell Savage and Rudy Ford out with injuries.
That certainly reared its ugly head on the Chargers' first touchdown of the day. Tight end Stone Smartt, who had just six catches for 46 yards in two seasons, broke open on a corner route and ran by Jonathan Owens on his way to the end zone on an ugly play for the defense.
Cornerbacks Carrington Valentine and Corey Ballentine had some nice moments in coverage – Valentine broke up three passes – but one of the biggest stories of the game was drops by Chargers receivers.
They dropped three passes that would have converted third downs, including one by Keenan Allen that would have been a touchdown on the opening drive of the second half.
The pass rush had Herbert under siege a couple of times, but only Karl Brooks was able to get him on the ground early in the game.
Rashan Gary and Kenny Clark were quiet, continuing a trend from the last two weeks, until the Chargers' final two drives of the game, when they both started to heat up.
Gary sacked Herbert on the penultimate series of the game to force a punt. Clark knocked down Herbert's final pass of the game.
Overall, Herbert was able to make a few plays, and the Chargers missed a few opportunities.
It's hard to imagine a better outcome for the undermanned secondary. Herbert and the passing game could have wrecked the game. They didn't.
The Chargers don't show much interest in running the ball. Despite Green Bay struggling to stop the run for most of the season, that trend continued on Sunday.
The Chargers only ran the ball 16 times for 77 yards if you remove Justin Herbert's scrambles.
Their biggest rush came when Devonte Wyatt had Austin Ekeler dead to rights but could not get him to the ground. Ekeler ran around the edge and gained 37 yards on a play that could have been stopped in the backfield.
The Chargers' leading rusher was Herbert, who took off eight times for 73 yards.
Herbert isn't going to confuse anyone with Justin Fields, but he is not a statue, either. The Packers did a poor job of keeping him under control.
Overall, it was a fine performance, but a much bigger challenge awaits them on Thursday.
Rich Bisaccia was hired in 2022 to help stabilize a special teams that routinely had been among the worst in the NFL.
After his debut season, Bisaccia got promoted to assistant head coach. However, his units have been less than inspiring through the first 10 games of this season.
Keisean Nixon had a big return to open the game that was wiped out by two penalties by the same player.
Dallin Leavitt likely would not be in Green Bay if not for being a Bisaccia favorite. He cost Green Bay big early with a holding penalty and a personal foul for bumping an official. Those penalties pinned Green Bay deep in its territory.
It's the type of undisciplined play that practically has become the expectation. With league-worst figures of 15 penalties for 137 yards, the lack of discipline on special teams reflects poorly on the players and their coach.
Anders Carlson missed another field goal and an extra point. They officially have a kicker problem.
On a positive note, it does look as if Nixon's presence is starting to change the way opposing teams kick to the Packers.
Early in the second quarter, the Chargers tried a short kickoff to keep the ball out of his hands. The result was positive for the Chargers but, as the weather gets colder, the Packers should get better field position on plays like that.
Overall, too many mistakes that Nixon's returning prowess could not save.
One of the early decisions coach Matt LaFleur made was a case of the results outweighing the process.
Rashan Gary drew a holding penalty on Trey Pipkins on third-and-6 from midfield, and LaFleur chose to decline the penalty to set up a fourth down instead of pushing the Chargers back.
So, the Chargers kept the offense on the field. Donald Parham was open for what should have been an easy conversion but dropped the pass.
Yosh Njiman and Rasheed Walker rotated at left tackle, and Sean Rhyan replaced Jon Runyan for a series at right guard, as well.
Any offensive lineman will tell you that they value continuity. The Packers are laughing in the face of that theory. It's odd, to say the least.
LaFleur's timeout usage and play-calling at the end of the first half was interesting, as well.
The Packers drove inside the Chargers’ 20 with all three of their timeouts.
One had to be used after an injury to Emanuel Wilson, which is when LaFleur's decision-making began to wobble.
He called for a screen that was tackled in bounds, which forced him to use his second timeout.
His next play call was a quarterback draw, forcing him to use his final timeout.
Ultimately, the Packers got a field goal out of it, but wasted valuable plays and time in the red zone.
LaFleur's biggest mistake came on the final series of the game.
Facing a third-and-6 from near midfield, LaFleur chose to run the ball and force Chargers coach Brandon Staley to use his final timeout. A first down would have ended the game, and the Packers' best offense was through the air on this day.
Instead of playing to win, LaFleur played not to lose. To his credit, he acknowledged the mistake after the game.
"Quite frankly, I’m embarrassed by it just the conservativeness of that," LaFleur said.
The Packers had a play in mind, which they would run if given a certain look. If not, Jordan Love was supposed to call a timeout. Love didn’t call it, and LaFleur didn’t call one, either. So, a running play to AJ Dillon was doomed.
"I’ve just got to be better in that situation and pop the timeout,” he said. “I think that’s too much to put on his plate at this point in time where it wasn’t even something in the game plan. That was a bad deal."
The accountability is good, but LaFleur needs to be more aggressive in those spots.