Tuesday, May 8, 2012

APR's top 25 regular season upsets: #14

#14: 1979 Falcons 28, Chargers 26 (ρ=1.2961)
Falcons' season: finished 6-10 in Leeman Bennett's 3rd season (and first losing season) as head coach..
Chargers' season: finished 12-4, clinched the #1 seed in the AFC, and lost to the Houston Oilers in the Divisional round of the playoffs.
What happened: this was Don Coryell's first full season as head coach of the Chargers, and they were already showing signs of the famed Air Coryell offense: Dan Fouts had 324 yards passing in this game, just 2 yards short of his season high. But part of the problem for the Chargers was all those passing yards didn't translate into a lot of points. 26 points was the median score for the Chargers in 1979.
Still, that could have been enough: they were facing a pretty bad Falcons' offense, that only made it past 25 points in 4 games all season. Unfortunately, this was one of those games, largely because the Chargers' defense gave up a season-high 375 yards to the Falcons. The Falcons were able to translate those yards into enough points to out-score the Chargers even in their home stadium.
Also of note: this is the 3rd of 4 games on the list where the home team lost.

Next week: a high-scoring offense withers on the sun-baked caliche of Sun Devil Stadium.