Good Afternoon Chargers nation. How are we feeling today?
The sour taste of defeat is always something a team never would like to have in their mouths. If you’re the Chargers however, losing the Kansas City Chiefs is just a consistent gut punch to the stomach. It’s nine punches right to your abdomen, each one making your feel weaker than the last one.
Nine straight match ups have come and gone over the past five seasons to where the Bolts offense has been unable to best the Chiefs. In fact, that might one of the biggest downfalls of young Chargers general manager Tom Telesco’s career. Since taking over as the man in charge, Telesco has gone 2-9, with one of his wins coming in an overtime 36-yard field goal from Nick Novak.
Sure, that kick secure the Bolts their first playoff appearance since 2009, but even the most loyal of Chargers fans have got to be getting a little antsy and aggravated at seeing the boys of in red completely demolish their boys year in and year out.
A 38-28 loss to open the season is tough. Mainly due to the fact that many around the league believed that this could be the Chargers season. Yes, we get it angry Chargers fans who will be commenting later, they say that every season. Still, with a revamped offensive line, a strong growing defensive unit and the undeniable talent that is quarterback Philip Rivers, this really should be the first time that people can say ‘this is the Chargers season’ and mean it.
But let’s stop making excuses and stick to the facts. The lackluster offensive performance along with a poor rush allowed the Chiefs to take away a much needed season-opening win from the Bolts. Still, there was plenty to appreciate from the game from and even more to look back and fix for the future. Here’s some of the biggest takeaways from Sunday’s action.
Bet on the Young Talent
The Chargers overall performance was filled with poor playing calling and even worse execution on both sides of the ball. That being said, the youthful movement from the past several draft classes was on full display and boy, did it not disappoint. As written in a column earlier this morning, safety Derwin James is a rising star, making plays in both the running game and pass coverage. His top level speed helped save a touchdown against Chiefs receiver DeAnthony Thomas while he also recorded the only sack of afternoon.
Fellow rookie linebacker Kyzir White impressed out on the field as well. Leading the Chargers defense with six total tackles and three solo stops, White looked good in space and really only missed one key play in the open field against Chiefs wide reciever Tyreek Hill. Second-year wide receiver Mike Williams showed fans why the Chargers drafted him seventh overall last season with five receptions for 81 yards. Meanwhile, second-year running back Austin Ekeler looked to possibly cause some drama in the Bolts backfield following his 126 total yards of offense along with solo touchdown.
The Bolts need to get offensive guard Forrest Lamp and defensive end Joey Bosa healthy but overall, Telesco’s young talent has much to hold their heads high about.
The third receiver spot is still wide open
Oh Artavis Scott, how some of us miss you. Following his season-ending ankle surgery, the Chargers are still in the midst of finding a consistent third receiver for the offense. With the losses of Scott, tight end Hunter Henry and the decline of legendary Charger Antonio Gates, Telesco might want to be getting on the phone to see who is available for the right price.
When looking back at Rivers stat line, the 36-year old quarterback went 34 of 51. In reality, of the () passes missed, nearly 15 of them were drops. Chargers receivers Tyrell Williams and Travis Benjamin combined for three total catches on 10 targets for nine yards and a touchdown. While Williams was able to score, that’s not enough to take away from the poor overall performance he displayed against one of the more questionable secondaries in the league.
When looking back at the film, hopefully receivers coach Phil McGeoghan excuses Kennan Allen and the other Williams from the room. They shouldn’t have to hear the verbal beat down that should be coming to the rest of the receiver room.
J.J Jones, three strikes and you’re out
There’s always something good and something bad you can say about a player’s performance. They may make a great tackle than miss one in the open field later. They could make an unbelievable catch before dropping an easy snag near the end zone. Then there’s J.J. Jones, who could not have had a worse outing if you yourself wrote it.
Jones was irrelevant with the offense, collecting zero receptions on zero targets. From there, things only spiraled downward. Averaging just 18 yards per kick return and -4 yards on punts, Jones offered little to no success on the Chargers special teams unit. Then the icing on the cake; two fumbles that would lead to a turnover and eventual score from the Chiefs offense.
If Jones’s role was limited to being a special teams contributor, he might not be around longer. Everyone can have a bad game finding open space but two fumbles? Sorry, no second chances.
The Chiefs offense is legit
As much as it might pain for everyone to hear; this Chiefs team might have gotten better. Sure, while the defensive woes in the secondary might be a problem to begin the season, the offensive production that quarterback Patrick Mahomes displayed on Sunday afternoon were legitimate. Many believed that the second-year quarterback could stumble out of the gate to truly begin his NFL career. He soared instead, leaving the Chargers defense and special teams in questions for the future.
Having a consistent rhythm under center, Mahomes was able to go 15 of 27 for 256 yards and four touchdowns. Sure, it helps to have one of the league’s fastest receivers in Hill as your go-to option, but with an inability to have a consistent pass rush to make him flustered is a flat out problem. The Chiefs offensive line is a strong group but with players such as Eric Fisher and Cameron Erving only allowing combined one sack? That speaks dividends on the Chargers pass rush moving forward.
The Oakland Raiders are still wondering how the Chicago Bears convinced them to give up outside linebacker Khalil Mack along with a second-round pick while Denver nearly lost a close one to the Seattle Seahawks. This Chiefs unit is no joke moving forward and if the Chargers can establish a pass rush, they might be adding more wins to that nine streak column.