Game Preview: Chargers at Seahawks - Chargers on Offense

Another week, and more cluelessness. I wonder if everyone will yell at me this week for digging into only two weeks worth of stats and team rankings.

While digging through these stats may seem pointless, I learn a lot about the opposing team by doing it. The Seattle Seahawks are a team that I don't know much about, but it would appear that one part of their defense is quite good (a lot better than I would've thought) and another part is quite bad. How will that be affected by the Chargers' possibly missing Ryan Mathews in this Sunday's game?

 

Chargers Running the Ball

  • 6th in Yards/Game (130.0)
  • 6th in Yards/Carry (4.4)
  • 7th in Rush TDs (2)
  • 21st in Runs for 1st downs (18.6%)
  • 1st in Runs for 20+ Yards (3)
  • 24th in Fumbles (2)

I can't stress enough how different this year's running game is from last year's. LaDainian Tomlinson was adamant that the last-place rushing attack was the fault of the offensive line in front of him, yet through two weeks the Chargers' rushing game has looked  better than average. It's looked downright potent. The most telling stat, even if it is through 2 weeks, is being tied for 1st in runs for 20+ yards when the Chargers were so far in last place in that category last year.

 

Seahawks Stopping the Run

  • 5th in Yards/Game allowed (57.0)
  • 3rd in Yards/Carry allowed (2.0)
  • 20th in Rush TDs allowed (2)
  • 7tht in Runs for 1st downs against (15.8%)
  • 1st in Runs for 20+ Yards allowed (0)
  • 9th in Fumbles recovered (1)

Oh boy. That's a little scary. Let me peruse through and see the performances of individual RBs against this run D.....

  • Frank Gore - 17 carries, 38 yards. I actually watched a lot of this game, and while Seattle's run D looked good it was greatly helped by the fact that Alex Smith couldn't get a pass within 3 yards of his receivers.
  • Knowshon Moreno - 24 carries, 51 yards, 1 rush TD. He kindof sucks, and he might still be kindof injured, but that's impressive.
  • Correll Buckhalter - 11 carries, 19 yards, 1 rush TD. See: Moreno, Knowshon.

Advantage: Seahawks, but at least it's a match of good running game vs. good running defense instead of what happened last year when the Chargers faced good run defenses.

 

 

Chargers Throwing the Ball

  • 4th in Yards/Game (303.0)
  • 2nd in Yards/Attempt (9.3)
  • 2nd in TDs (5)
  • 1st in Passes for 1st down (45.6%)
  • 3rd in Passes for 20+ yards (10)
  • 8th in Sacks taken (3)
  • 13th in Interceptions thrown (2)

Vincent Jackson, who? Even with 1/4 of the football played so far being in rain and mud so bad that it made the passing game seem awful, the Chargers are matching the pace of their outstanding 2009 passing offense. All hail Philip Rivers. The question I face, when the prospect of bringing back Vincent Jackson later in the season comes up, is "Who sits down?" I like not only what Malcom Floyd, Legedu Naanee, Buster Davis and Patrick Crayton bring to the table, but I like the potential each of them shows and still can grow into. None of them have done anything to deserve having time on the field taken away from them.

 

Seahawks Defending the Pass

  • 26th in Yards/Game allowed (259.0)
  • 13th in Yards/Attempt (6.6)
  • 8th in TDs allowed (2)
  • 18th in Passes for 1st downs allowed (32.5%)
  • 17th in Passes for 20+ yards allowed (6)
  • 18th in Sacks (3)
  • 17th in Interceptions (2)

It's fairly apparent how the San Diego Chargers should attack the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks fans at Field Gulls were asking me if the Chargers needed their running game to work for their passing offense to succeed, and now I see why.

This defense is not too different from the Jacksonville Jaguars' defense, except probably with a better front 4 (and thus the better run D). They will struggle to cover Antonio Gates, and their lack of depth at CB will be an issue when the Chargers throw 4 good WRs out there (plus Gates). I'm hoping for a decent game from Mike Tolbert (I'm assuming Ryan Mathews won't play), and it wouldn't surprise me to see more of that Wildcat Formation this week, just to keep it from being nothing but passing.

Advantage: Chargers.

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