The Los Angeles Chargers entered Sunday Night Football against the Pittsburgh Steelers already reeling from the previous weekend’s humiliating loss to the Denver Broncos. Everything was set up for them to bounce back, however, thanks to the Steelers being forced to start a rookie undrafted free agent at quarterback. Unfortunately, that was not enough as the Chargers were all but run off the field before mounting a futile comeback late.
The Chargers young star tight end wasn’t supposed to be able to return in mid-October, but yet here we are on October 14, and Hunter Henry is coming off an amazing performance where he hauled in 8 catches for 100 yards and 2 scores. He really could not have played any better than he did.
The second-year receiver’s stat line of 5 catches for 72 yards isn’t that impressive and perhaps the most memorable moment of his night was when he was unable to come down with a deep pass from Rivers, but there was a period of time in this game when the only reason the offense was able to keep the chains moving was because of Williams. He had a very solid night when the same could not be said of hardly anyone else.
Sam Tevi, Trent Scott, Michael Schofield, and Dan Feeney all continue to be simply awful on a regular basis. We’ll give Forrest Lamp a break for a minute since this was the first time they let him play, but this group as a whole has been on a mission to end Philip Rivers’ consecutive start streak from the beginning. Every single person who evaluated this team in the offseason knew the Chargers needed offensive line help, and the Chargers decided not to bother even trying to get better at the position. The result is watching their franchise quarterback under constant pressure every game. Rivers’ early turnovers that put Pittsburgh in control were both the result of quick pressure. This offense isn’t getting any better until they figure this out.
Melvin Gordon & Austin Ekeler
Somehow, the Chargers went from having one of the most dynamic backfields in football over the first month of the season to having one of the most anemic over the last two weeks. Ekeler and Gordon combined for 32 rushing yards on 13 attempts last night, and honestly, it looked worse than those numbers suggest. Gordon, in particular, continued his bad habit of stopping his feet in the backfield, but a lot of their problems can be traced back to Ken Whisenhunt and the offensive line putting them in position to fail.
Anthony Lynn has made a habit of mismanaging games. Sunday night’s loss to the Steelers was no exception. Perhaps his biggest flaw is his absurd desire to kick field goals in situations where only a touchdown can possibly help. Down 21-0 as half time approached, Lynn ran on the kicking unit (who of course missed the kick anyway) instead of actually trying to give his team a chance. Later in the game, down 24-0, Lynn made the same decision. Tack on the fact that the team consistently shows up looking unprepared and that they play a decidedly undisciplined style of football and you have to start wondering what the coaching staff brings to the table.
I won’t bother with broken tackle stats. If you watched the game, you know just how bad it was. James Conner is tough to bring down, but he ran through the Chargers defense like they were a high school football team. Jatavis Brown, in particular, deserves special attention for his pair of hideous whiffs that resulted in a 1st down and then a long touchdown.