1979 San Diego Chargers season

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1979 San Diego Chargers season
Head coach Don Coryell
Home field San Diego Stadium
Results
Record 12–4
Division place 1st AFC West
Playoff finish Lost Divisional Playoffs (Oilers) (17–14)
Timeline
Previous season Next season
< 1978 1980 >

The 1979 San Diego Chargers season was the team's 20th season, and 10th in the National Football League. Their 12–4 record was tied for the best in the league in 1979.

The 1979 Chargers finished in first place in the AFC West after having finished 9–7 in 1978. The Chargers made the playoffs for the first time in 14 years. Chargers quarterback Dan Fouts threw for more than 4,000 yards, and wide receivers Charlie Joiner and John Jefferson both gained more than 1,000 yards receiving. The Chargers became the first AFC West champion to run more passing plays (541) then rushing (481).[1]

The season ended with a playoff loss to the Houston Oilers.

As part of a marketing campaign, the Chargers created their fight song, "San Diego Super Chargers".[2]

The 2006 edition of Pro Football Prospectus,[3] listed the 1979 Chargers as one of their "Heartbreak Seasons," in which teams "dominated the entire regular season only to falter in the playoffs, unable to close the deal." Said Pro Football Prospectus of the team, "the creative [head coach] Don Coryell always designed potent offenses, but the San Diego defense didn't catch up until 1979. ... In their first playoff game, the Chargers hosted a Houston Oilers team missing running back Earl Campbell and quarterback Dan Pastorini – and fell on their faces. Fouts threw five interceptions and no touchdowns, and the Chargers blew a third quarter lead and lost 17–14. The Chargers would not have the best record in the NFL again until the 2006 season. They would not have another top ten defense in points allowed until 1989. They would not win 12 games in a season until 2004. Their best shot at glory went horribly awry, thanks to the worst game in the illustrious career of Dan Fouts."

NFL Draft[edit]

Main article: 1979 NFL Draft
Round Pick Player Position School/Club Team
1 13 Kellen Winslow Tight End University of Missouri

Regular season[edit]

On opening day in The Kingdome on September 2, the Chargers beat the Seattle Seahawks 33–14. Clarence Williams rushed for 2 touchdwons. Rolf Benirschke kicked 4 field goals, and Dan Fouts passed for 224 yards.

In week 2, Fouts had 3 touchdowns and linebacker Woodrow Lowe returned a Ken Stabler pass 32 yards for a score as San Diego beats the Oakland Raiders 30–10.

The next week, San Diego got a come-from-behind win over the Buffalo Bills as Clarence Williams picked up 157 yards on 18 carries and had a team-record 4 rushing TDs.

In week 4, Chargers lost to the New England Patriots 27–21. Patriot linebacker Steve Nelson preserved the victory with an interception of a Dan Fouts pass on the New England 2-yard line with 1:37 remaining in the game.

Schedule[edit]

Week Date Opponent Result Attendance
1 September 2, 1979 at Seattle Seahawks W 33–16
62,887
2 September 9, 1979 Oakland Raiders W 30–10
50,255
3 September 16, 1979 Buffalo Bills W 27–19
50,709
4 September 23, 1979 at New England Patriots L 27–21
60,916
5 September 30, 1979 San Francisco 49ers W 31–9
50,893
6 October 7, 1979 at Denver Broncos L 7–0
74,997
7 October 14, 1979 Seattle Seahawks W 20–10
50,077
8 October 21, 1979 at Los Angeles Rams W 40–16
64,245
9 October 25, 1979 at Oakland Raiders L 45–12
53,709
10 November 4, 1979 at Kansas City Chiefs W 20–14
59,353
11 November 11, 1979 at Cincinnati Bengals W 26–24
40,782
12 November 18, 1979 Pittsburgh Steelers W 35–7
51,910
13 November 25, 1979 Kansas City Chiefs W 28–7
50,078
14 December 2, 1979 Atlanta Falcons L 28–26
50,198
15 December 9, 1979 at New Orleans Saints W 35–0
61,059
16 December 17, 1979 Denver Broncos W 17–7
51,906

Playoffs[edit]

Week Date Opponent Result Attendance
Divisional December 29, 1979 Houston Oilers L 17–14
51,192

Standings[edit]

AFC West
W L T PCT DIV CONF PF PA
San Diego Chargers(1) 12 4 0 .750 6–2 9–3 411 246
Denver Broncos(5) 10 6 0 .625 4–4 7–5 289 262
Seattle Seahawks 9 7 0 .563 3–5 6–6 378 372
Oakland Raiders 9 7 0 .563 3–5 5–7 365 337
Kansas City Chiefs 7 9 0 .438 4–4 7–7 238 262

Roster[edit]

Awards and honors[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Elderkin, Phil (September 16, 1980). "Chargers, in passing, write a book". Christian Science Monitor. Archived from the original on January 28, 2014. 
  2. ^ Stetz, Michael (January 13, 2007). "Still a superstar after 27 seasons". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved September 9, 2011. "Or a little song written back in 1979." 
  3. ^ Pro Football Prospectus 2006 (ISBN 0761142177), p.73-75

External links[edit]