Well that was rough. The Chargers have now lost their last 2 home games to teams that were a combined 1 - 8 when they rolled into Los Angeles. This week there were some changes to the lineups again, especially on offense, with players dropping from injury and a few guys coming back.
Well the day we all asked for came. Forrest Lamp played 100% of the offensive snaps for the Chargers in a real, regular season, NFL game. I still need to go back and re-watch but pretty much the whole offensive line got pretty badly abused last night. Lamp also had a holding penalty that possibly caused, and also negated, a roughing the passer on Philip Rivers.
Keenan Allen played almost 100% of the snaps again, but was still basically eliminated from contributing with only 2 catches for 33 yards on 6 targets. Mike Williams also played a TON of snaps, and wound up limping off the field late in the game, but not before he snagged 5 catches on 10 targets for 72 yards. His catches lead to multiple 1st downs and honestly this was one of his best games as a pro. He was firing on all cylinders and it was fun to watch.
Sticking with WR, UDFA Jason Moore from Findlay University got called up to the active roster on Saturday when Andre Patton was downgraded to doubtful. Moore got 5 snaps in the game and caught both of his targets for 43 yards. Really hope we see more of him. He’s got Geremy Davis’ size (both are 6’3” with Moore coming in at 213 and Davis at 211) but has much better deep speed and was just a prolific scorer in college.
At RB there’s a trend developing that is hard to explain or justify. Melvin Gordon saw his snaps increase by 5 from 32 to 37 which put him on the field for 60% of the offensive snaps. Meanwhile Austin Ekeler’s role diminished from “still meaningful” to “afterthought.” In week 5 he had 46 snaps. In week 6 that plummeted to 28. I’ll go more into detail in the AAR (and I promise I’m doing one today this time) but this is just unacceptable and it’s killing the offense for a whole multitude of reasons. Seriously, Travis Benjamin having more snaps than Austin Ekeler is...well it sucks.
But to pick everyone back up now, far and away the most impact-full change was HUNTER HENRY COMING BACK TO SAVE US ALL!
But seriously, how much did this team miss having Henry. Henry played a “limited” 41 snaps and hauled in 8 of his 9 targets for 100 yards and 2 TDs. And only 2 of those catches for 32 yards happened in the 1st half. The second half Henry took over the game, especially in the 4th quarter, and he hauled in 6 catches for 68 yards and 2 TDs. This team needed him in a huge way.
Defense was pretty damn similar to last week with a few minor changes. Thomas Davis saw his snaps increase slightly and was back up to almost 80% of the snaps. For the 3rd straight week he was down just below 80% of the snaps (only 67% last week) and it looks like it’s helping. TD looked pretty fresh for basically the whole game yesterday including a punishing TFL to force a punt late in the 4th quarter.
Uchenna Nwosu saw his snaps drop by 20 this week. I’m going to have to look at the tape because Nwosu, Kyzir White, Jaylen Watkins, and Jatavis Brown all saw their snaps go down (a combined 42 less snaps between them) but the only real bumps in similar positions were Thomas Davis, Drue Tranquill, and Desmond King (a combined 24 snap increase). Yet the team played the exact same number of defensive snaps with 60.
Whatever the explanations, seeing Drue Tranquill’s snaps jump that significantly was awesome to see, and after Jatavis Brown’s poor performance I wouldn’t be shocked to see Drue getting snaps as that 3rd and long LB now. Tranquill performed well again with 4 more tackles (2 of which I had as defensive stops), a TFL, and added a special teams tackle as well. He did have one missed tackle that would have been a TFL, luckily he slowed the back down enough that it only improved into a 1 yard gain for the Steelers.
The Defensive line saw an increase in snaps this week overall. Last week Joey Bosa, Justin Jones, Brandon Mebane, Isaac Rochell, Damion Square and Jerry Tillery combined for 183 snaps. This week those same six players had 202 snaps. A little over a 10% increase from last week and the biggest beneficiary was Damion Square who jumped from 15 to 32 snaps.
Brandon Facyson and Nick Dzubnar continue to have large roles in special teams, and both came away with a tackle this week. Chase McLaughlin doinked a FG off the uprights this week but later made good on an attempt. Ty Long continued to be solid at punter and is 8th in the league in average yards per punt. He may need to work on hang time though as 13 of his 18 punts have had returns.