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San Diego Chargers Snap Counts: Week 4 vs New Orleans Saints

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A brief look at the Chargers’ inexplicable loss to the New Orleans Saints

NFL: New Orleans Saints at San Diego Chargers Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

This week’s snap count analysis is different from any other loss this season (yes, including Week 1 at Kansas City). By looking at the snap count, we are able to objectively look at pure statistical numbers and find a reasonable explanation (or partial explanation) for the Chargers’ win/loss. This week is difficult to explain because there has been a glaring statistic each week that the Chargers could fix going forward.

Snap count stats that have been indicative of a Chargers’ loss are low amount of snaps for Melvin Gordon (compared to other Chargers running backs) and more defensive snaps than offensive snaps. While the latter still holds true (73 defensive snaps compared to 70 offensive snaps), it does not seem to explain the disastrous, final five minutes of the game.low amount of snaps for Melvin Gordon (compared to other Chargers running backs) and more defensive snaps than offensive snaps. While the latter still holds true (73 defensive snaps compared to 70 offensive snaps), it does not seem to explain the disastrous, final five minutes of the game.

Chargers’ offensive snap count:

Pos. Name W3 Snaps "% of Total W3" W4 Snaps % of Total W4 Snaps WoW % Change
C Matt Slauson 60 100% 70 100% 0%
QB Philip Rivers 60 100% 70 100% 0%
TE Hunter Henry 60 100% 68 97% -3%
WR Dontrelle Inman 53 88% 68 97% 9%
WR Tyrell Williams 51 85% 67 96% 11%
G D.J. Fluker 39 65% 66 94% 29%
T Joe Barksdale 59 98% 66 94% -4%
RB Melvin Gordon 52 87% 62 89% 2%
C Spencer Pulley 20 33% 55 79% 46%
WR Travis Benjamin 45 75% 54 77% 2%
G Orlando Franklin 59 98% 36 51% -47%
G Kenny Wiggins 2 3% 34 49% 46%
T Chris Hairston 59 98% 20 29% -69%
TE Sean McGrath 20 33% 13 19% -14%
RB Dexter McCluster 9 15% 9 13% -2%
FB Derek Watt 8 13% 5 7% -6%
T Tyreek Burwell 0 0% 4 6% 6%
WR Griff Whalen 1 2% 3 4% 2%

There are not any stark differences that we can see here in terms of playing time distribution; however, what we have seen is a gradual increase in snaps to the young guys, such as Hunter Henry and Melvin Gordon. We have been getting what we wanted. Week 1 (and honestly every other week since then) I asked for more snaps to MGIII and each week he has steadily been receiving more touches and snaps.

The Chargers are getting MGIII involved, which is excellent to see. Hunter Henry has been proving his worth each week by providing solid run blocking and this week getting a touchdown. It is difficult to extract a reason for this week’s loss by looking at the offense’s snap count. The two things that contributed to Chargers’ loss are the amount of fumbles and the amount of time of offensive possession. The Saints beat the Chargers in those two categories and capitalized at the end of the game.

Chargers’ defensive snap count:

Pos. Name W3 Snaps "% of Total W3" W4 Snaps % of Total W4 Snaps WoW % Change
FS Dwight Lowery 71 100% 73 100% 0%
CB Casey Hayward 42 59% 71 97% 38%
CB Jason Verrett 62 87% 71 97% 10%
LB Jatavis Brown 31 44% 68 93% 49%
LB Korey Toomer 56 79% 66 90% 11%
DT Corey Liuget 53 75% 56 77% 2%
NT Brandon Mebane 39 55% 47 64% 9%
SS Adrian Phillips 33 46% 44 60% 14%
LB Kyle Emanuel 40 56% 40 55% -1%
FS Dexter McCoil 42 59% 40 55% -4%
CB Craig Mager 5 7% 39 53% 46%
DT Tenny Palepoi 23 32% 35 48% 16%
LB Jerry Attaochu 24 34% 30 41% 7%
LB Denzel Perryman 69 97% 27 37% -60%
LB Joshua Perry 0 0% 25 34% 34%
DE Darius Philon 48 68% 22 30% -38%
LB Nick Dzubnar 22 31% 14 19% -12%
LB Tourek Williams 22 31% 11 15% -16%
CB Pierre Desir 0 0% 10 14% 14%
DT Caruan Reid 17 24% 10 14% -10%
FS Darrell Stuckey 3 4% 4 5% 1%
CB Brandon Flowers 63 89% 0 0% -89%

(Ed. Note: I’m guessing some of those Toomer snaps may have been Ingram, but the stats come from the official NFL gamebook and we will correct this once updated stats are available)

The Chargers’ defense was on the field longer than the offense... by three snaps. It is difficult to say the Chargers lost because our defense was on the field longer than our offense, but it is true. Looking at the last four weeks, when the Chargers’ defense sees more snaps than the offense, the Chargers lose. Yes, it is only by three snaps this week, but it has held true so far. The Saints also held the ball for 32:39 compared to the Chargers’ 27:21. Dwight Lowery is still 100% involved with the defense, but we are seeing more involvement by Jatavis Brown, Dexter McCoil, and Casey Hayward. While their increased involvement is great to see, the success just has not been there when it comes down to the fourth quarter.

Come back for next week’s breakdown of the Chargers showdown against the Oakland Raiders.