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Chargers Saturday Night Recap

AFCW REcapWhat an absolute stinker for LA. The (11-4) Chargers were unable to get their offense going, and ultimately fell 22-10 to the Ravens on Saturday night.

On offense, this was one of the worst performances the Chargers have had in a while, and easily the worst they’ve played under Anthony Lynn. Their net 198 yards is the 4th lowest output in the Philip Rivers era. This can probably be traced to the really morale busting interception on the first play from scrimmage by Phil, who had his worst game of the year with 181 yards while completing 23/37 with no touchdowns, and 2 picks. Melvin Gordon wasn’t really unleashed because they were playing behind all game, but the injured RB managed 41 yards on 12 carries, including the teams lone touchdown of the game. His backup, Justin Jackson, had a great game receiving including 7 receptions for 47 yards as a too often used checkdown. Keenan Allen had also played well, and was also brutally fucked over by maybe the worst OPI call ever made in professional football.

Rivers doesn’t get that fired up over nothing! Well, actually yes, but the point stands. It was a terribly officiated game as far as the refs impact on the game goes, but that’s no excuse for their poor play on offense. They were basically swept off the field on every series, while the Ravens offense methodically marched down the field. Watching the game, you might even think the Ravens easily dominated TOP, but they only had the ball for about 3 more minutes than LA. This was a terrible game for the offensive line as well. They let Rivers go down 4 times on bone crushing sacks, get hit 8 times, and generally get flushed out of the pocket way too many times. Russell Okung in-particular, had a terrible game. When he wasn’t holding an edge rusher and getting immediately flagged for it, he was letting them blow right by him. Is Forrest Lamp going to be ready anytime soon?

On defense, they actually played a nice game vs a tricky, dual threat offense. Outside of giving up a 43-yard rush to Gus Edwards in the first quarter, they mostly held their running game to a standstill. Taking away that rush would leave Edwards at 3.7 YPC with Jackson averaging 3 and Dixon averaging 3.5. The bigger problem is that those small runs were seemingly all for a first down, after the linebackers were thrown off by 15-20 yard gains to guys like Mark Andrews. My hero Jatavis Brown had trouble adjusting to this, and let some guys get open in zone coverage while also missing some tackles. Adrian Phillips was outstanding, totaling 9 tackles all over the field, including one for a loss. Brandon Mebane also had a great outing in his first game back in a while, stuffing Dixon on 3rd and goal in the 2nd quarter. Lastly, my hero Derwin James was amazing, totaling 6 tackles and a pass defended as well as forcing a fumble with Darius Philon. Again, the defense really didn’t play poorly, but when your offense is either throwing picks, gifting the other team fumble-sixes or just generally not producing, there isn’t much you can do. I also need to note that Joey Bosa was seemingly about to sack Jackson on every play, but wasn’t ever able to finish. Gotta get faster, Joey.

Takeaways: They need more of them. I understand playing conservative when the game is mostly in reach, but the best way to negate turnovers on offense is to make some on defense. Their one forced fumble of the game lead to a Gordon touchdown less than 2 minutes later. The offense was horrific this week, and I hope this was a lesson to Lynn on how to play teams with a dominant defense and a well paced offense. This is one of my fears going into Denver next week, because as benign as their offense is, their pass rush is deadly. This loss essentially wrapped up all hope LA had at winning the AFC west, because now they need to win in Denver (Hard) KC needs to lose at Seattle today (possible) and vs the Raiders in Arrowhead next week (impossible). May as well get ready to play a fun wildcard game vs a 8 or 9 win divisional winner (probably the Steelers) now!

Notes: Austin Ekeler, Troymaine Pope, Cole Toner, Sean Culkin, Dylan Cantrell, Anthony Lanier and T.Y. McGill were all inactive. They go to Mile High next Sunday. Also, shoutout to Scallywag’s Irish Pub, the best (and only) Chargers bar in NYC. It was my first time going and they are a super welcoming group of folks. Watch party for the playoffs cometh?

HUGE P.S.: I am in the midst of recruiting famed BSS commenter Diarrhea to do a playoff preview blog for the Bolts. So hopefully I will have that for you guys after the holiday.

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