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What I didn’t expect from this years team: Thriving on turnovers and big plays

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Denver Broncos v Los Angeles Chargers Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images

I didn’t expect 0-4. I did expect a certain corner to get hurt. But I also expected the team to struggle because of it. The defense hasn’t missed a beat. I thought Joey Bosa would be a better player but I didn’t expect him to have more sacks in year 2. There are so many ways you can spin this weeks theme, “what I didn’t expect from this years team?” What I didn’t expect is how the team would thrive on big plays and turnovers.

Thriving on Turnovers

Defensively, the Chargers are 3rd in interceptions per drive & 4th in turnovers per drive. Coming into the year I thought they’d be a bend but don’t break defense that would be pretty good in the red zone. They’re great at limiting teams in the red zone. How the Chargers have managed to take the ball away from teams has been more impressive. We saw it on national TV last week. I felt like Dak Prescott was asking for it throwing at Casey Hayward.

The very next series Hayward picked him off. Then rookie Desmond King got in on the action later in the quarter. We all know what happened when the defense faced rookie Nathan Peterman the week prior. It feels like that’s how things have gone lately for this unit. This defense has good players, that helps. You’re also seeing Gus Bradley change up looks and coverages. Both of the interceptions last week came with both corners sitting in an underneath zone. The Chargers play zone more often than most teams, but it’s usually linebackers and safeties playing underneath.

Up front you’re seeing Joey Bosa & Melvin Ingram lineup on the same side. That’s created a lot of havoc. You’re also seeing Ingram move around move than ever. He & Chris McCain will often stand up and line up over the center or guard. Confusion creates missed blocks. Missed blocks create quarterbacks chucking and ducking. Chucking and ducking creates turnovers.

Big plays

If I told you Melvin Gordon was 4th in the NFL in most rushes over 10 yards there’s no way you’d believe me. I still don’t fully believe it. We’ve seen what Austin Ekeler can do subbing in for him. Give him some room to work with as a receiver or runner and Ekeler might be more dangerous. As for Rivers, he’s tied for 10th with most passes going over 25 yards. I imagine he’d be higher if the offense wasn’t being run through Gordon the first month of the season. Now that the team is opening it up we’re seeing an offense that many fans expected to see coming into the season.

We’re seeing Keenan Allen be the focal point of the offense. That’s doing wonders, it seems. Opening everyone else up. Maybe more importantly, taking the pressure of everyone else. Travis Benjamin can just be a deep threat. He & Keenan are in the upper half of the league in catches over 25 yards. Hunter Henry is slowly but surely taking the reigns as the 2nd threat on this team. Sprinkle in a Tyrell Williams touch here and there and the potential for big plays are everywhere. That’s something the team has been relying on. The run game hasn’t quite worked itself out this year. That’s something I didn’t expect to see, either. But with the weapons on the perimeter, the big plays aren’t going to stop anytime soon.