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San Diego Chargers Snap Counts: Week 8 at Denver Broncos

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A look at the Chargers’ snap count in their Week 8 loss to the Denver Broncos at Mile High

NFL: San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Just when it looked like the Chargers were rolling, they drop a close one to the Broncos 19-27. While there are many reasons that they lost the game, we will be looking at their offensive and defensive playing time distribution. The Chargers’ offense spent more time on the field and had more snaps than the defense; however, the Chargers dug themselves into a hole with turnovers and could not pull off a late comeback to sweep the defending Super Bowl champs this season.

Chargers’ Offense:

Pos. Name W7 Snaps "% of Total W7" W8 Snaps % of Total W8 Snaps WoW % Change
G Orlando Franklin 75 100% 81 100% 0%
G D.J. Fluker 75 100% 81 100% 0%
QB Philip Rivers 75 100% 81 100% 0%
C Matt Slauson 75 100% 81 100% 0%
WR Dontrelle Inman 66 88% 79 98% 10%
T Joe Barksdale 75 100% 74 91% -9%
T King Dunlap 75 100% 72 89% -11%
RB Melvin Gordon 65 87% 65 80% -7%
WR Tyrell Wiliams 66 88% 59 73% -15%
TE Antonio Gates 38 51% 55 68% 17%
TE Hunter Henry 47 63% 45 56% -7%
WR Travis Benjamin 46 61% 38 47% -14%
TE Sean McGrath 24 32% 32 40% 8%
FB Derek Watt 5 7% 17 21% 14%
T Chris Hairston 0 0% 16 20% 20%
RB Kenneth Farrow 2 3% 8 10% 7%
WR Griff Whalen 9 12% 4 5% -7%
RB Dexter McCluster 7 9% 3 4% -5%

Melvin Gordon managed to rack up 155 yards on offense (111 rush yards; 44 receiving yards), but had a decrease in snap percentage from last week to this week. The Chargers, down by eight in the fourth quarter, were knocking on the Broncos’ doorstep... but there was no Melvin Gordon. No Melvin Gordon and no trip into the end zone. While MGIII has been getting the snaps that he deserves, it seemed like this would be a perfect time to get Gordon going and add six to the scoreboard (possibly eight).

While Gordon was sitting on the sidelines (thinking of a get well wish for Wade Phillips), Antonio Gates, who saw a 17% snap increase, was getting targets but only had 4 receptions. One of those was receptions was a good for a touchdown, but he only accounted for 33 receiving yards. While he only had 33 receiving yards, it was good enough to make him the third leading receiver for the Bolts on Sunday, due to injuries to Tyrell Williams and Travis Benjamin. Both Williams and Benjamin rested up on the sidelines during the game because of lingering injuries, subsequently leading to a drop in playing time.

While the offensive line struggled, they all were in good health which is a rare, but welcomed, sight when it comes to the Chargers’ O-line. Most of the O-line topped the snap count chart this week and hopefully that holds true for the rest of the season if the Chargers hope to make a run at the playoffs.

Chargers’ Defense:

Pos. Name W7 Snaps "% of Total W7" W8 Snaps % of Total W8 Snaps WoW % Change
FS Dwight Lowery 65 100% 64 98% -2%
CB Casey Hayward 63 97% 64 98% 1%
CB Brandon Flowers 0 0% 63 97% 97%
LB Melvin Ingram 63 97% 62 95% -2%
SS Adrian Phillips 27 42% 60 92% 50%
DE Joey Bosa 47 72% 55 85% 13%
DT Corey Liuget 50 77% 51 78% 1%
LB Jatavis Brown 65 100% 50 77% -23%
NT Brandon Mebane 39 60% 39 60% 0%
LB Kyle Emanuel 32 26% 36 55% 29%
LB Joshua Perry 1 2% 35 54% 52%
LB Korey Toomer 26 40% 32 49% 9%
DT Tenny Palepoi 35 54% 30 46% -8%
CB Steve Williams 50 77% 22 34% -43%
NT Damion Square 17 26% 13 20% -6%
LB Tourek Williams 7 11% 10 15% 4%
DE Darius Philon 0 0% 10 15% 15%
FS Dexter McCoil 42 65% 8 12% -53%
LB Denzel Perryman 34 52% 8 12% -40%
FS Darrell Stuckey 1 2% 2 3% 1%
LB Chris Landrum 2 3% 1 2% -1%
CB Craig Mager 30 46% 0 0% -46%
DT Caruan Reid 2 3% 0 0% -3%

While the Chargers’ defense seemed to be finding its identity and creating opportunities, this game slipped away from them. They did manage to create pressure and create turnovers to help out the struggling offense. There were miscues in the defensive backfield, which even caused the Chargers to waste a timeout just to line up correctly against the Broncos’ receivers. The inconsistent health and inconsistent starting lineup of defensive backs could be a reason why the defensive backfield struggled. The return of Brandon Flowers and increased play of Adrian Phillips led to a change of playing time for the Bolts’ DBs. Dexter McCoil, normally a solid player, saw more bench time than playing time in last week’s matchup (53% drop in playing time compared to last week). McCoil’s bench buddy, Steve Williams, also saw a sharp drop in defensive snaps (-43%).

Injuries are not only affecting the Chargers’ defensive backfield, but also the front seven. Joey Bosa saw a slight increase in snaps played, possibly due Caraun Reid’s absence and Bosa’s better understanding of the defense. A significant injury during the game was Jatavis Brown’s injury. Browns’ play calling duty and presence was missed on the field, which was taken over by Korey “It’s Not a” Toomer. Toomer saw slightly under 10% more snaps compared to last week. Kyle Emanuel and Joshua Perry also saw more playing time compared to last week. The one number that I had to double check was Brandon Mebane’s, because somehow he managed to play exactly the same amount of snaps from Week 7 to Week 8.

Hopefully the Chargers can fix their defensive miscues and remain healthy in the remaining weeks. Look for the defense to have a solid game against the Marcus Mariota and the Tennessee Titans.

Check in next week for the snap count breakdown in the Chargers’ Week 9 showdown against the Tennessee Titans at the Q on Sunday at 1:25 pm PT.