The San Diego Chargers were able to defeat the Houston Texans led by a strong defensive performance. The offense took advantage of turnovers and was able to put up enough points to hold off the Texans.
As always, Chargers games are full of negatives. The offensive line struggled, Craig Mager was Craig Mager and Antonio Gates was nowhere to be found.
The Offensive Line
As our own Richard Wade put it...
Tom Telesco should really consider trying to build an NFL-caliber offensive line for next year.— Richard Wade (@RichardWade) November 27, 2016
This should be first on Tom Telesco’s offseason list. There is an argument to be made that Matt Slauson could be the only lineman that is worth bringing back. Obviously, that is unlikely as that kind of turnover could cause real issues next season, but that’s next season.
For right now, the Chargers have four mediocre to below average lineman. After a strong 2015, Joe Barksdale has struggled and has accumulated a ton of penalties. Both guards D.J. Fluker and Orlando Franklin have been terrible and King Dunlap isn’t the left tackle of the future.
All of the struggles the offensive line had were apparent in this game. Melvin Gordon had a few holes to run through, but more often than not he was hit before he even got to the line.
The pass protection wasn’t much better. Philip Rivers had no time to find his receivers throughout this game and ended up on his back far too often. This offensive line has cost this team too many points and changes have to be made if the Chargers are going to win more games this year.
To think that Craig Mager was selected in the third round in 2015. What a disaster. Mager has been awful in the limited amount of time he has been on the field.
Early in the game, Mager was lined up across from Will Fuller. Fuller is one of the fastest receivers in the NFL and is the main Texans deep threat. To no surprise, Fuller schooled Mager for a touchdown.
For a top pick, Mager has a real issue in covering opposing receivers. Mager was also lined up against DeAndre Hopkins a few times and Hopkins was able to snag a few catches over the middle. As usual, Mager was a step or two behind him.
Of course, Mager is still a young player and could develop into a productive player, but it looks like there is still a lot of work to do. If this play continues he will be sliding further and further down a weak cornerback depth chart.
As he is on the cusp of breaking Tony Gonzalez’ touchdown record, Antonio Gates was nowhere to be found. To be fair, the entire tight end position was virtually invisible until a Hunter Henry touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Gates had zero catches on the day and the age is clearly getting to him. Throughout the season, Gates has struggled to get separation and make his presence felt.
Rivers has forced the ball to Gates in big situations all year and he hasn’t produced. He has dropped big passes in the end zone and on third down, for him to not see the ball at all isn’t good.
Sadly, Gates appears to be on his last leg and his career looks to be in its final chapter.
It would be a crime to not mention Sean McGrath. Why is this guy on the team? He is supposed to be able to run block and he can’t even do that. It’s time to go with a younger option as the third tight end.