1979 San Diego Chargers season
|1979 San Diego Chargers season|
|Home field||San Diego Stadium|
|Division place||1st AFC West|
|Playoff finish||Lost Divisional Playoffs (Oilers) (14–17)|
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).
The 2006 edition of Pro Football Prospectus, 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."
1979 NFL Draft
|1979 San Diego Chargers draft|
|1||13||Kellen Winslow * †||Tight end||Missouri||from Cleveland|
|3||73||Cliff Thrift||Linebacker||East Central||from Cleveland|
|Pro Football Hall of Fame Made at least one Pro Bowl during careerMade roster|
|1979 San Diego Chargers final roster|
On opening day in The Kingdome on September 2, the Chargers beat the Seattle Seahawks 33–14. Clarence Williams rushed for 2 touchdowns. Rolf Benirschke kicked 4 field goals, and Dan Fouts passed for 224 yards.
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.
|1||September 2, 1979||at Seattle Seahawks||W 33–16|
|2||September 9, 1979||Oakland Raiders||W 30–10|
|3||September 16, 1979||Buffalo Bills||W 27–19|
|4||September 23, 1979||at New England Patriots||L 27–21|
|5||September 30, 1979||San Francisco 49ers||W 31–9|
|6||October 7, 1979||at Denver Broncos||L 7–0|
|7||October 14, 1979||Seattle Seahawks||W 20–10|
|8||October 21, 1979||at Los Angeles Rams||W 40–16|
|9||October 25, 1979||at Oakland Raiders||L 45–22|
|10||November 4, 1979||at Kansas City Chiefs||W 20–14|
|11||November 11, 1979||at Cincinnati Bengals||W 26–24|
|12||November 18, 1979||Pittsburgh Steelers||W 35–7|
|13||November 25, 1979||Kansas City Chiefs||W 28–7|
|14||December 2, 1979||Atlanta Falcons||L 28–26|
|15||December 9, 1979||at New Orleans Saints||W 35–0|
|16||December 17, 1979||Denver Broncos||W 17–7|
|San Diego Chargers(1)||12||4||0||.750||6–2||9–3||411||246||W2|
|Kansas City Chiefs||7||9||0||.438||4–4||7–7||238||262||L1|
|Divisional||December 29, 1979||Houston Oilers||L 17–14|
AFC Divisional Game: Houston Oilers 17, San Diego Chargers 14
at San Diego Stadium, San Diego
- SD – Clarence Williams 1 yd rush (Mike Wood kick). Chargers 7-0
- Hou – Toni Fritsch 26 yard field goal. Chargers 7–3.
- Hou – Boobie Clark 1 yard rush (Toni Fritsch kick). Oilers 10-7
- SD – Lydell Mitchell 8 yard rush (Mike Wood kick). Chargers 14-10
- Hou - Mike Renfro 47 yard pass from Gifford Nielsen (Toni Fritsch kick). Oilers 17-14
- No scoring
- Hou - 1
- SD - 5
Awards and honors
- "1979 NFL Pro Bowlers". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Archived from the original on September 4, 2009.
- "1979 NFL All-Pros". Pro-Football-Reference.com.
- Elderkin, Phil (September 16, 1980). "Chargers, in passing, write a book". Christian Science Monitor. Archived from the original on January 28, 2014.
- 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.
- "Pro Football Prospectus 2006" (ISBN 0761142177), p.73-75
- 1979 San Diego Chargers at pro-football-reference.com