Well, here we are.
The highly-anticipated match-up against that other LA team has come and gone and, for the most part, I feel about as lousy as I expected to.
Hell, before the game, two planes were seen flying messages over the stadium, supposedly paid for by a combination of ex-Chargers fans, Rams, and Raiders fans.
The pettiness knows no bounds.
Who knows if all the badgering, smack-talking, and pettiness really got into the heads of the Chargers, but their play on the field did them no favors in trying to prove a point to the skeptical LA fan base that they are also worthy of their dollars and attention.
The final score to this game was actuallt pretty misleading in a myriad of ways.
For one, looking at how well the Rams moved the ball all game, their final point total could have been much higher.
On the flip-side, the Chargers could have put up just as many points had it not been for their inability to move the ball following a turnover by their defense.
The Chargers and Rams both recorded two turnovers, apiece. The Chargers turned their takeaways into two three-and-outs, the second of the two leading to the blocked punt by the Rams for a touchdown.
The Rams on the other hand? They turned their first takeaway, a rare Keenan Allen fumble, into a 53-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Cooper Kupp. To add some insult to injury, cornerback Trevor Williams was beat badly on the play and, when he had the chance to bring Kupp down, he failed and ultimately looked as if he gave up while he still had a chance to corral the receiver.
At the end of the day, there’s always going to be the would’ve, could’ve, should’ve.
“They beat themselves.”
“They couldn’t stop shooting themselves in the foot.”
It’s going to be a week filled with these statements. I just hope the Chargers don’t rest their heads on any of it. With a softer schedule going forward, Anthony Lynn and his staff need to deal with these issues immediately and limit the ineptitude from here on out.
As I always do, once the heavy, heavy flow of depression and frustration is finally vented out, here come’s the irresponsible optimism that keeps me afloat through the next 7 days.
Guys made plays this week. It’s time to give them their rightfully-deserved kudos.
S Derwin James
Can’t stop. Won’t stop. James is BALLER. Dare I say, a SHOT-CALLER?
The rookie-sensation continues his relentless pursuit of being the best player on the team following another sensational performance against one of the top offenses in the NFL.
While his ability as a pas-rusher has been on full-display during the team’s first two games of the season, James reminded everyone that he is still a defensive back as he plucked a Jared Goff pass out of the air for his first career interception.
So after just three career games, the Florida State product still leads the team with a pair of sacks and is now tied for the team lead in interceptions as fellow safety Adrian Phillips, linebacker Kyzir White, and James all have one interception to their names.
WR Mike Williams
Yeah it took a little while but the Mike Williams breakout game finally happened and the only thing that could have made it better is if the Chargers were able to walk away with the victory.
The best part about this is that Williams’ first touchdown came against CB Marcus Peters, a known arch-nemesis of Philip Rivers who has four interceptions against the QB in their previous three match-ups.
In the middle of the first, with the Chargers looking to respond to a Rams score, Rivers tossed a rainbow to Williams in the back of the end zone as the wideout had a step on #22. With a full-extension, Williams was able to haul it in, holding on through the contact with the ground. At first, Williams was slow to get up, looking as if he simply landed on the ball and had the air knocked out of him. Luckily for Rivers and company, he soon returned to do more damage.
In the third quarter, in response to the earlier mentioned Kupp touchdown, the Chargers marched down the field and Rivers found Williams once again on a modified corner route. Although Williams caught the ball a few yards short of paydirt, he showed off the strength that made him the seventh-overall pick in last year’s draft by giving a defender a ride into the endzone for his second touchdown of the game.
Mike-Will finished the game with four catches for 81 yards and the pair of touchdowns, all team-highs with the yards and touchdowns also being the highest of his young career.
DEs Isaac Rochell & Melvin Ingram
I wasn’t a fan of the team’s decision to leave Rochell in charge of Bosa’s role on the defense during his absence. Rochell was the team’s seventh round draft pick in 2017 and, at the time, was deemed the lesser of the two Notre Dame defensive linemen that I wanted the team to draft.
After resembling more of a run-stopper instead of someone who could get after the quarterback, Rochell underwent a lifestyle change over the offseason, turning to a plant-based diet in order to re-shape his body with the goal of becoming a better athlete.
So far this young season, the effort has yet to pay off as he remains sack-less through the first three weeks.
Ingram, on the other hand, has 1.5 sacks to his name but his overall performance up to this point has been slightly forgettable.
His sacks came against the Bills in a blowout victory so those are simply what they are. In the other two contests against the Chiefs and Rams, the actual good teams the Chargers have played, he recorded just a single tackle in each.
It’s unfortunately far too obvious how much Ingram has relied on Bosa’s influence for his own productivity. As much as Ingram likes to gloat about being able to play any position on the football field, he hasn’t even shown the propensity to play his actual position to the best of his ability.
Rochell hasn’t offered much at all and only makes matters worse when he gets rag-dolled by the Rams’ Andrew Whitworth, the oldest left tackle in the NFL.
My hope going forward is that the team decides to give Uchenna Nwosu some more run at the “big” end position to see if he can create a spark where this defense has been lacking.
CBs Trevor Williams & Casey Hayward
Now I hoped that i’d never have a reason to include these players in this section but, here we are.
After the recent tilt with the Rams, Williams currently sits as Pro Football Focus’ 52nd-ranked cornerback in the NFL. Not good.
“But I’m sure Hayward is still doing pretty decent for himself, right?”
Wrong. Hayward comes in as PFF’s 73rd-ranked cornerback in all of football, just a year removed from being their #1 during the 2017 season.
For what it’s worth, I do not think this is a trend that will continue. Williams and Hayward didn’t just forget how to cover over the offseason. Let’s take into account who they have played against and understand that both Andy Reid and Sean McVay are masterminds when it comes to play-calling and schematically erasing an opposing team’s difference-makers.
Give them some time. Their next game against the 49ers should be a nice bounce-back game for their confidence, as long as they take care of business from the start.