Brandon Staley plays starters when Chargers' playoff seed is locked, with bad results

The Los Angeles Chargers have dealt with big injuries all season. What happened in the early games in Week 18, with the Chargers locking up the No. 5 seed due to a Baltimore Ravens loss, was a gift to them.

Brandon Staley doesn't see the value in "rest" or "avoiding injury," apparently.

Staley played the Chargers' starters in the first half and it turned out about as poorly as you'd expect. Austin Ekeler took a massive shot from Denver Broncos linebacker Josey Jewell, among the normal wear and tear every back goes through during a game. Joey Bosa, who has missed most of the season due to injury, limped off. Receiver Mike Williams, who has dealt with injuries throughout his career, went down and needed help to get off the field after getting hit.

Again, here were the stakes for the Chargers: If they won, they were the No. 5 seed in the AFC playoffs. If they lost, they were the No. 5 seed in the AFC playoffs.

It made no sense to play key starters but the Chargers did it anyway. Staley came to the Chargers last season with the reputation of being a forward thinker, and was ridiculed for some of his extremely aggressive fourth-down decisions. Staley seemed indecisive on everything this season, though he navigated the injuries to get the Chargers to the playoffs.

His line of thinking on Sunday was really hard to figure out. A pseudo bye week for stars, especially ones that have been dealing with injuries, is a massive advantage for a team. Staley punted that away, for some unknown reason.