Whereas many groups have cast an id 5 weeks into the season, the Chargers stay an enigma, a 1-four membership that has proven promise in lots of phases of the sport and a capability to break down in all of them.
A troublesome, bodily operating assault was a precedence for first-yr coach Anthony Lynn, and the Chargers produced one in Sunday’s 27-22 victory over the New York Giants.
Melvin Gordon carried 20 occasions for one hundred and five yards, with seventy two yards coming after contact, in accordance with Professional Soccer Focus. A dozen of these additional yards got here after Gordon’s depraved stiff-arm of cornerback Janoris Jenkins on a 15-yard run within the second quarter.
However the Chargers mustered solely 270 yards dashing of their first 4 video games and rank twenty ninth of 32 groups with a mean of seventy eight.eight yards per recreation.
The Chargers, led by ends Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa, have a ferocious cross rush that has produced 17 sacks, tied for third-most within the league. They’ve gotten sufficient good play from a Casey Hayward-led secondary to rank fourth in passing protection, giving up a mean of one hundred ninety.2 yards per recreation.
They’ve given up 4 landing passes of 29 yards or extra and rank final in dashing protection, giving up a mean of 161.2 yards per recreation, with the first culprits being spotty linebacker play, missed tackles and hole-integrity lapses.
Particular groups play has been problematic, except for punter Drew Kaser, who ranks sixth within the NFL with a forty eight.9-yard common. A blocked subject-aim attempt to a missed area-objective attempt have been pricey in losses to Denver and Miami, and penalties have plagued all models.
One other obstacle has been the wild swings in efficiency from a place from which the Chargers anticipated their most constant play — quarterback.
Philip Rivers accomplished seventy five of one hundred ten passes for 870 yards, with six touchdowns and one interception, within the Denver, Miami and Philadelphia video games. He threw three first-half interceptions towards Kansas Metropolis, which led to 17 factors in a 24-10 loss in Week three.
Rivers, 35, was sensible and brutal Sunday. He took a security after a snap-rely miscommunication and overthrew a large-open Travis Benjamin in the long run zone within the first half. His poorly thrown cross early within the third interval was intercepted in the long run zone.
Rivers responded by driving the Chargers ninety two yards in 12 performs for the go-forward landing on the subsequent possession, threading a sixteen-yard cross between two defenders to Keenan Allen on third and 15, and hitting Allen over the center for 18 yards on third and 6.
From the Giants 25, beneath heavy strain, Rivers threw a again-foot move into the again-left nook of the top zone that would solely be caught by tight finish Hunter Henry, who made a lunging seize behind three defenders to offer the Chargers a 17-sixteen lead.
“That was classic Philip,” Lynn stated. “I imply, he knew he threw a knucklehead cross and he got here off. Then, within the very subsequent collection, he threw an unbelievable move. That’s what the great ones do.”
Rivers threw a ten-yard cross to Gordon for the profitable rating with three minutes left however accomplished solely 21 of forty four passes for 258 yards.
“I noticed him make the performs he wanted to make when he wanted to make them,” Lynn stated. “All of us had performs and calls that we’d wish to have again. However on the finish of the day, he did what he needed to do to assist us win the sport.”
Rivers is having a so-so season, finishing 116 of 194 passes for 1,363 yards and 9 touchdowns, with 5 interceptions. He ranks twenty second within the NFL with an 86.zero quarterback score, properly under his ninety four.5 score over 14 seasons.
Might the Chargers, who play the Raiders in Oakland on Sunday, have one other win or two with extra constant play from the quarterback? Perhaps. Does Rivers deserve a lot of the blame for the staff’s poor begin? No.
“It’s greater than only one participant on the market; it’s him and 21 different guys,” Lynn stated. “They usually should belief in each other. They should belief within the teaching employees. I consider we have now an honest quantity of toughness. I consider these guys will make the performs once they need to.”
They should make extra performs early. The Chargers have been outscored forty three-7 within the first quarter and have trailed after the primary quarter in all 5 video games. Their solely first-quarter rating was a landing towards Kansas Metropolis, which had scored two first-quarter touchdowns.
“This group, once we’re behind, we present this urgency, and we often catch up and get again into the sport,” Lynn stated. “However we need to play from the lead; we need to leap out on individuals. We haven’t been in a position to try this but. In order that’s one thing we’re engaged on, is beginning quicker.”
Comply with Mike DiGiovanna on Twitter @MikeDiGiovanna