Leave it to the Chargers to keep it close
With a 19-10 win over the Cleveland Browns, the Los Angeles Chargers are in a three way tie for first place in the AFC West. It wasn’t pretty, but the Bolts got the job done.
Philip Rivers hit Keenan Allen and Hunter Henry often and the defense dominated yet again. There was a lot of positives to take from Sunday’s game. However, a single-digit victory against the Browns means there is plenty of room for improvement.
Week after week, Hunter Henry has proven that he is one of the best tight ends in the league. Philip Rivers is looking at him on third downs and continues to gain trust in his young weapon. Henry made a handful of nice blocks against the Browns.
Henry did get banged up late in the second half and would be a big loss if he misses extended time. He ended his day with 7 catches for 81 yards.
Allen snagged 10 catches for 105 yards as he put together another elite performance against Cleveland. Like Henry, Allen stepped up on third and fourth down to move the chains.
There aren’t many receivers better than Allen at the moment. He is the only player in the last 15 years to have 10 or more catches, 100-plus yards and a touchdown, in three straight games.
Chargers WR Keenan Allen is the first player with 10+ catches, 100+ yards and 1+ TD in three straight games over the past 15 seasons. Playing lights out.— Field Yates (@FieldYates) December 3, 2017
NFL front offices are continuing to kick themselves for letting Desmond King fall to the 5th round. Spending a lot of time in the slot, King has been a playmaker for the Bolts. By the final whistle, King earned a sack and added six tackles, the second highest total on the team.
King was also a factor in the return game as he managed to set up the offense at midfield with just under 12 minutes to go in the ballgame.
Rivers is tough. After taking shot after shot, the veteran continued to step up and deliver the football down the field.
The veteran is also playing lights out. Los Angeles decided to abandon the running game and rely on Rivers’ arm. It worked. Rivers shredded the Cleveland secondary as he completed 31-of-43 of his passes for 344 yards and a touchdown.
“Philcember” has officially begun.
Typically labeled as a liability in coverage, Addae did a nice job when he was targeted. Addae matched up against receivers, running backs and tight ends and held his own in every matchup.
Despite being a constant source of criticism, Addae performed very well today and has put together a handful of nice performances this season. The safety position still has plenty to work on, but it’s nice to see them stepping up while the Chargers make a run.
Aside from his bruising 29-yard run, Gordon was held in check for most of the afternoon. He carried the ball 19 times for 77 yards and failed to get the running game going early. Yet again, the Bolts relied on Rivers rather than handing the ball off to the 2015 first-round selection.
Gordon also allowed Rivers to get absolutely destroyed after he whiffed in pass protection. His lack of pass blocking ability has forced him to lose snaps to Austin Ekeler, who throws his smaller frame at oncoming defenders.
Joey Bosa & Melvin Ingram
It was a matter of time before one of these guys made a play. Thankfully, it happened just as the Browns were about to make it a one score game.
Despite the Browns having issues at both tackle positions, Bosa and Ingram were missing for most of the contest, though Bosa did show up with a strip sack at the end of the game. The devastating pass rush duo have had some big games in recent weeks but the Browns came prepared. Underwhelming from two elite edge rushers, hopefully they can bounce back against another beat up Washington unit.
Conservative 4th Quarter Play Calling
Following a beautiful kick return from King, the Chargers had a chance to put the game away. Los Angeles failed to get into scoring position and it gave Cleveland another chance to score. Somehow Bosa managed to strip Kizer just as Cleveland was about to make it a ballgame.
The Chargers were lucky against an awful Browns team, but head coach Anthony Lynn needs to preach aggressiveness in those situations. Los Angeles isn’t good enough to sit on a nine-point lead, they needed to get some insurance and bury an inferior opponent.
Red Zone Woes
The Chargers should have won this game by 20 points. Sadly, the offense was unable to put the ball in the end zone in the first half.
Regardless of who the kicker is, Rivers and company need to execute when they are inside the 20. He’s a veteran quarterback that has a plethora of weapons at his disposal.
Again, the Bolts survived because they were playing the Browns. If the red zone problems continue against a decent Washington team next week, it’ll be nearly impossible to keep up.