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Game Preview: Chargers at Rams, Chargers on Defense

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Rams Running the Ball

  • 21st in Yards/Game (101.8).
  • 24th in Yards/Carry (3.7).
  • 19th in Rush TDs (2).
  • 21st in Runs for 1st downs (19.6%).
  • 23rd in Runs for 20+ Yards (2).
  • 1st in Fumbles (0).

If it makes you feel better about the Chargers' chances in St. Louis this week, the Rams rushing offense is a big step down from the Raiders'. Outside of the fact that they never turn the ball over, there's nothing particularly redeeming about their running attack in 2010.

Stephen Jackson, who fits the mold of the power RB that the Bolts tend to struggle against, has played all season but it averaging less than 80 yards per game and has only 1 TD on the season.

Chargers Stopping the Run

  • 7th in Yards/Game allowed (86.4). same as last week.
  • 8th in Yards/Carry allowed (3.8), up from 11th last week.
  • 6th in Rush TDs allowed (2), down from 3rd last week.
  • 10th in Runs for 1st downs against (19.1%), up from 13th last week.
  • 6th in Runs for 20+ Yards allowed (2), up from 8th last week.
  • 25th in Fumbles recovered (1), down from 23rd last week.

Ugh, I used this space last week to applaud Ron Rivera on becoming a good 3-4 Defensive Coordinator. This week I couldn't be lower on him. Leaving Jason Campbell un-pressured in the 2nd half of last week's football game, when the 1st half (and his career) says that he plays poorly against pressure, is inexcusable and a big reason why the Chargers lost the game.

With that being said, the run defense has been quite good all season and wasn't even that bad against Michael Bush and a bruising Raiders offensive line. I don't expect Stephen Jackson to go nuts, but I've been wrong before.

Advantage: Chargers. 

 

Rams Throwing the Ball

  • 17th in Yards/Game (216.2)
  • 31st in Yards/Attempt (5.7)
  • 18th in TDs (6)
  • 25th in Passes for 1st down (30.5%)
  • 15th in Passes for 20+ yards (13)
  • 20th in Sacks taken (11)
  • 28th in Interceptions thrown (8)

Again, I'll be cautious when I say this, but the Rams passing offense is worse than the Raiders' passing offense. For as good as Sam Bradford has looked at times, he is still a rookie that is finding his way and getting bruised along the way. He is now down to his third #1 WR of the season, and so he could have a hard time getting on the same page with the guy or trusting him to get open.

With as good as Antoine Cason and Quentin Jammer have been this season, Bradford should struggle to get anything going through the air.

 

Chargers Defending the Pass

  • 3rd  in Yards/Game allowed (159.8), up from 4th last week.
  • 2nd in Yards/Attempt (6.0), up from 3rd last week.
  • 5th in TDs allowed (4), down from 4th last week.
  • 3rd in Passes for 1st downs allowed (28.2%), down from 2nd last week.
  • 3rd in Passes for 20+ yards allowed (9), up from 5th last week.
  • 4th in Sacks (18), same as last week.
  • 5th in Interceptions (7), down from 2nd last week.
The debate rages on: Is this a top 5 secondary, or does it only look that way because they are yet to face a good Quarterback? The answer is either "both" or "I don't know", and we won't know until next week when Tom Brady and the Patriots come to San Diego to test them out.

What we can say, at this point, is that Sam Bradford is not (yet) an elite QB and therefore shouldn't surprise the Chargers or the San Diego fans by embarassing what looks to be one of the league's best CB tandems.

Advantage: Chargers.