What a phenomenal statement game made by the Chargers in their second match-up of the season with a hated divisional foe.
Throughout the week, some of the themes that popped up during the week were whether or not the Chargers could limit the league’s #2 offense in terms of yardage and if the team could survive a divisional match-up without their starting offensive tackles.
Well, it’s nice to be able to say they put all worries to bed after they handled the Oakland Raiders fairly-handedly as they rolled to a 26-10 victory. In fact, the only touchdown that was scored by the Raiders should never have counted in the first place as more than a handful of players did not get set prior to the snap.
In one of the weirdest situations regarding a no-call by the refs, it stood. Thankfully, the score would not come back to haunt the Chargers and the team was able to walk away without any unnecessary injuries prior to a potential trap game against the up-and-coming Cleveland Browns.
Without further ado, here are this weeks players that either SURGED forward or stayed STATIC from their play against Gruden and the Raiders.
OLB Melvin Ingram
Ingram enjoyed a career day that could have been even more “career-y” if he wasn’t stopped by the Raiders defensive line as he attempted to punch a fullback dive play into the end zone.
If you were to ask Ingram about the play following the game, you would hear a man swear up and down on his life that he was in.
“I did,” he said matter-of-factly. “I scored. I promise I scored. I promise.”
Regardless if the refs were correct or not on the call, the Chargers were still able to punch it in on the very next play to extend their lead. Seeing Ingram get the chance to show off his athleticism on the opposite side of the ball was a refreshing sight to see and I honestly hope it’s not the last time we see #54 in the offensive huddle.
Besides his escapades on the opposite side of the ball, Ingram had an excellent day while playing his, ya know, actual position. The South Carolina product notched another sack, putting him at 2.5 for the year, and almost had another. He also recorded an interception in the end zone after keying on Carr’s eyes and jumping in front of a pass intended for a receiver coming from the backside.
QB Philip Rivers
It’s about damn time we include the PG trash-talker in one of these articles.
Rivers had himself another uber-efficient performance against against a divisional foe that saw the quarterback end the game with less incompletions than he has children watching him from the stands (5 to 8).
Number 17 completed 22-of-27 passes for 339 yards and a pair of touchdowns that went to RB Austin Ekeler and TE Virgil Green.
Philip Rivers earned an ELITE (90.0+) grade for the second time since 2012. Top 5 grades #Chargers vs #RaiderNation:— PFF LA Chargers (@PFF_Chargers) October 8, 2018
1. Jatavis Brown - 90.4
2. Philip Rivers - 90.2
3. Keenan Allen - 81.1
4. Isaac Rochell - 80.1
5. Melvin Ingram III - 79.0
5. Denzel Perryman - 79.0
In all honesty, the touchdown pass to the aforementioned Ekeler was one of his most impressive plays of the young season.
As Rivers snapped the ball, he struggled to field a less-than-clean snap from Mike Pouncey, all while the Oakland defense was zeroing-in on a blitz sent from both sides of the line. Without a half-second to spare, Rivers gathered the ball and fired it to Ekeler in the flat before taking a wallop by a handful of Raiders.
Ekeler went on to juke two defenders near the sideline and continue up the left sideline behind an awesome block by WR Keenan Allen down the field. He eventually out-raced the final defender before skipping into the end zone for his third receiving touchdown of the season.
Even though it wasn’t a precision pass through some tight double-coverage, the play still stands as a heady play by the rejuvenated signal-caller as continues to set career-highs in touchdowns through the first third of the season.
K Caleb Sturgis
So after the coaching staff “evaluated the whole situation” and decided that it was the punter’s fault for Sturgis’ failures in the kicking game, the team went ahead and cut Drew Kaser in order to sign 38-year old punter Donnie Jones who was together with Sturgis in Philadelphia from 2015-17.
Jones had himself a decent day kicking the ball and made no glaring mistakes. However, the team’s change to the holder spot made no difference in the kicking game as Sturgis missed a field goal early in the game before inevitably missing yet another extra point later on.
Head coach Anthony Lynn said at one point that “they all can’t be bad”, referring to the carousel of kickers that have come and gone since the start of the 2017 season. Unfortunately, as each week passes by, the second-year head coach seems to be proven more and more wrong.
He now sits with 9 successful field goals out of 12 attempts and 8 of 12 on extra points. To put that into perspective, Sturgis has cost the team 13 total points this season.
I mean, it could be worse, I guess. You could be the Packers who just watched their 11-year veteran kicker miss five total kicks which cost them 13 points all in one game.
DT Corey Liguet
This is sort’ve nitpicking, but I needed a second person and I’m still a bit ticked off after Liuget jumped offsides on a crucial 3rd-and-long when he was lined up DIRECTLY over the ball.
He wasn’t awful against the Raiders but he wasn’t the potential saving grace that the media painted him to be leading up to Sunday afternoon.
Although he recorded a sack, Liuget found himself getting “pancaked” one too many times and was a non-factor for most of the evening. DT Darius Philon is, and has been, the better of the two since the start of last season and it would be doing the defense a disservice to see Liuget ever record more snaps than Philon on any given Sunday.