INGLEWOOD, Calif. — Brandon Staley said earlier this season that he doesn’t believe in curses, but after the Los Angeles Chargers lost two more key players to injuries Sunday in a 37-23 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, the second-year head coach may want to reconsider.
Amid a lackluster performance at SoFi Stadium, the Bolts watched as cornerback J.C. Jackson was carted off the field after dislocating his right knee, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter, in the second quarter.
“It was sad because I was right beside it,” safety Derwin James said of Jackson’s injury. “I seen it. I was the closest person to it.”
In the fourth quarter, the medical staff assisted wide receiver Mike Williams off the field to the medical tent because of a right ankle injury that required him to then be placed on a cart to exit toward the locker room.
“That was tough,” wide receiver Keenan Allen said of Williams’ situation. “I’ve been there before, I’ve taken that fall where a guy is underneath you and you kind of bend everything back and you get that high ankle sprain. We’ll see what comes back on the X-rays and I hope he’s good.”
Williams’ injury came with 7:20 remaining in the game as he caught a 12-yard pass in traffic. He finished with seven catches for 86 yards and a touchdown.
Staley did not provide an immediate update on Williams, who has a team-high 495 receiving yards and three touchdowns on 37 catches.
Jackson injured the knee with 1:40 remaining in the first half as he attempted to defend a 23-yard touchdown pass caught by wide receiver Marquise Goodwin. The Chargers’ medical staff tended to Jackson for a prolonged period and put an air cast on his right leg before carting him off the field.
Staley described Jackson’s injury as “significant,” and it’s unclear how long he could be sidelined.
In four games, Jackson has one pass deflection and 13 tackles. Michael Davis, a sixth-year pro with six career interceptions, is expected to play in his absence.
The Chargers have already dealt with several notable injuries this season.
Jackson missed two of the first four games after undergoing ankle surgery in August. In Week 3, edge rusher Joey Bosa suffered a groin injury and left tackle Rashawn Slater tore his left biceps tendon and both were placed on injured reserve. All-Pro center Corey Linsley has missed three games because of knee issues and then illness. Kicker Dustin Hopkins is out two to four weeks with a hamstring strain.
Allen, the team’s leading receiver since 2017, played Sunday for the first time since Week 1, when he injured his left hamstring. And quarterback Justin Herbert has been playing through fractured rib cartilage since Week 2.
“All year we’ve been losing guys,” Staley said. “That’s going to be a part of every week, whether you win or lose. Had we won today and those two guys would have gotten hurt, it would be the same feeling. You have to keep it moving, you have to figure it out.”
The loss snapped a three-game win streak, dropping the Chargers to 4-3 and into second place in the AFC West as they enter a Week 8 bye.
“The reality is that through seven games, we’ve had to fight really hard to be 4-3,” Staley said. “We’ve endured a lot. Our season is in front of us, which is the truth.”
The Chargers were considered among preseason favorites to make a deep playoff — if not Super Bowl — run after assembling a roster that included a league-high eight players who appeared on ESPN’s 2022 ranking of the NFL’s top 100.
Despite the injuries and two lopsided losses — including a 20-point beatdown by the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 3 — James expressed optimism about the Chargers’ trajectory as they enter the bye.
“I feel like no one is down on the season, no one is pointing any fingers,” James said. “We still believe everything we want is still in front of us.”
Despite the injuries to Jackson and Williams, other key players have returned — or are anticipated to do so.
In his first appearance since the season opener, Allen played in the first half and caught two passes for 11 yards against the Seahawks.
“I was good, pitch count, just easing back into things, getting back into it,” Allen said. “Feels solid.”
Bosa, a four-time Pro Bowl selection, is expected to return from injured reserve later this season to once again team up with pass-rusher Khalil Mack, whose six sacks are tied for fourth in the league.