The Los Angeles Chargers were in desperation mode heading into Sunday’s matchup against a tough Eagles team. Yet again, the Bolts fell flat on their face. Los Angeles was allergic to tackling and the offensive game plan was far from creative.
The season appears lost as the Chargers will head to the east coast to face the winless New York Giants next week.
Arguably Tom Telesco’s best free agent acquisition, Casey Hayward had himself a day. Zach Ertz dominated seemingly every other player on the defense. Hayward managed to shut him down. Along with a few run stops, Hayward has solidified himself as a top corner in the NFL.
Tasked with covering big-bodied receivers like Ertz and Alshon Jeffrey, Hayward had five pass breakups. A terrific performance from the 2016 Pro Bowler.
Keenan Allen torched the Eagles secondary for 138 yards on five catches. Allen isn’t known for being a great deep threat, but he averaged 27.6 yards per catch including a 50-yard reception where he made a handful of defenders miss.
Alike Allen, Tyrell Williams had a field day against a bad Philadelphia secondary. Williams snagged five passes for 115 yards on six targets. Williams and Rivers connected on a 75-yard bomb that brought life to Los Angeles after falling behind 13-0.
Hunter Henry/Austin Ekeler
It’s a travesty that the Chargers refuse to get Hunter Henry involved. He was only targeted three times but he made the most of them.
Henry had a phenomenal one-handed catch in the back of the end zone along with a nice first down grab. No more excuses, Henry needs triple the targets.
As for Austin Ekeler, he is the ultimate feel-good story. On his first NFL carry, Ekeler took it 35 yards to the house. It may not be enough for him to earn more snaps, but with how useless Melvin Gordon and Branden Oliver have been, it might be time.
Through an entire half, Hunter Henry didn’t get a target. That is outrageous. The play calling was suspect yet again. Whenever the Chargers would get into a rhythm, offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt would dial up an odd call.
Chargers fans can play the blame game all they want, but having Rivers screaming at the coaches is an awful look. It won’t be long before we hear Anthony Lynn taking over as the primary play caller.
Early on, Philip Rivers showed why the Chargers might have to find his replacement in next year’s draft. Overall it wasn’t Rivers’ best game, but he finished strong.
However, he settled down and made a handful of nice throws to keep the game close. The deep ball to Williams and the Henry touchdown made his ugly first half a distant memory.
It’s easy to put the blame on Rivers, but he didn’t turn the ball over like he did last week. The fumble early was ugly, but he kept his composure this week.
Whether it was Carson Wentz shrugging off hits, or Philadelphia’s running backs blowing up Chargers linebackers, the Chargers refused to tackle. The most fundamental part of football escaped the Chargers on Sunday.
Missed tackles put the Eagles in easy third-and-short situations. Eventually, the Chargers defense would break late in the fourth quarter and two LeGarrette Blount runs would seal the Bolts’ fate.
Seeing Chargers defenders bounce of ballcarriers every week is beyond frustrating. That’s on the coaches as much as it is the players. Again, it’s fundamentals and it needs to be addressed.
It’ll be a miracle if the Chargers can win a football game with the trio of Jatavis Brown, Hayes Pullard, and Kyle Emanuel on the field.
Brown is solid, but Pullard and Emanuel shouldn’t be starters in the NFL. They consistently get blown back on running plays and tight ends have a field day against them in the passing game.
Jahleel “Hitman” Addae decided to whiff a possible game-saving tackle on a third-and-1 run late in the fourth. Adrian Phillips could’ve forced a punt but he whiffed an easy sack as well. Tre Boston bounced off of Eagles receivers and running backs like a pinball machine.
That Eric Weddle guy? Eight tackles, 2 pass deflections, and an interception against Pittsburgh.
The Offensive Line
Other than Russell Okung, the offensive line was unimpressive today. The pass blocking has been decent all season long, but there is no hope in the running game.
The Eagles were penetrating with third-string nose tackles. Gordon had no chance as he was taking hits before he could even sniff the line of scrimmage.