As most fans do when they don’t pay for cable, I was streaming the Chargers game through some anonymous site which means that I was a little behind the actual game in real-time.
Before Chicago kicker Eddy Pineiro even lined up to kick the potential game-winner, my twin sister, living in Chicago as a newly anointed Bears fan, called my phone.
“What?”, I said with impatience while expecting to hear her start some form of smack-talk about how the Bears beat the Bolts.
“Are you f***ing kidding?”, she asked.
“They missed?”, I asked in return.
“YEAH HE MISSED!”
And at about that time, Pineiro lined up and hooked his kick left to allow the Chargers to walk away from Soldier Field with a 17-16 victory that seemed ever-so-close to a loss, but wasn’t.
My sister then left me with a sarcastic “Well, you won this round of the sibling rivalry.”
I snickered and said, “It doesn’t feel like it, but I’ll take it.”
That’s essentially how I expect most Charger fans to feel after this one. Not over-the-moon or anything like that, but content. A win is a win, no matter how it comes.
And hey, after everything else this team has endured so far this season, it’s about time they get a win at the expense of someone else’s frustration.
Happy Victory Monday everyone. Let’s get it!
DE Joey Bosa
Just one week after he posed a challenge to his teammates about coming to work this past Monday and working harder than they ever have, Bosa put on one of, if not, the best performance of his Chargers career.
The Big Bear was force in every facet of the game on Sunday, finishing with the second-most tackles on the team (7) and collecting a pair of sacks to go with four tackles-for-loss.
He also made what eventually became the pivotal play of the day for the Chargers when he bull-rushed the left tackle into the lap of quarterback Mitch Trubisky, causing him to retreat and subsequently fumble the ball away which was then recovered by defensive end Melvin Ingram.
It was a masterful performance by the Chargers best defensive player (by a mile) this season and hopefully this culminates in some extra motivation for the rest of the team after they saw what their teammate did all by his lonesome.
Bosa is now on pace for 14 sacks on the year, which would be a career-high should he surpass his current record of 12.5 that he had in 2017. He is also on pace to set a new high in total tackles with 84 after posting 70 in 2017, as well.
S Roderic Teamer
It was a career-day for the undrafted rookie out of Tulane University as he easily put together his best day as a professional against the Bears.
Teamer finished with a game-high eight tackles to go along with his first career sack, which was quite a hustle-play to track Trubisky all the way to the sideline before bringing him down for a loss.
With no blown assignments or missed tackles to recall, Teamer was exactly who he needed to be for the Chargers to win this game: a non-liable.
Teamer is currently third on the team with 39 total tackles but ranks just behind linebacker Thomas Davis for second on the team with 30 solo stops.
CB Casey Hayward
It’s always awesome to see Showcase get back in the interception column after he went the entire 2018 season without a single pick.
His interception on Sunday marked his second of the year and helped cut off some potential momentum when the Bears were up by six and driving.
Hayward’s play on the ball was exactly what you’d expect from a veteran defender at this level. As the furthermost outside cornerback against a trips formation to his side, Hayward played the #1 receiver vertical while keeping his eyes on the quarterback. Tight end Trey Burton was working his way towards the outside and up the sideline on a wheel route when Hayward passed off his receiver to a deep safety and drove on the pass from Trubisky. It was nifty play design to clear Hayward away from the route, but the savvy corner knew better.
The only thing that could have made it better was if the Chargers were able to turn it into some points. However, kicker Chase McLaughlin missed on a 41-yard field goal to keep the score at 16-10.
Hayward finished the game with a pair of tackles, a team-high 3 passes defended, and his interception.
WR Keenan Allen
Man, things are just getting worse and worse for the Slayer.
Once on a torrid pace for career-highs in all receiving categories, Allen has failed to catch a touchdown or reach the 100-yard receiving mark in the last five games. In this one, he could have easily broken the trend on both scoring and yards were he to have caught the lone pass thrown his way in the end zone or managed to stay on his feet on half his routes.
Allen stumbling and slipping has been a problem for years. At this point, one could assume he’s doing it on purpose to avoid getting hit. However, I don’t think that’s the case.
On his current 16-game pace, Allen is set to finish with 1,234 yards on 102 catches and six touchdowns. He is currently tied with running back Austin Ekeler for the team lead with 51 catches but still leads the team in receiving yards with 617.
The Rushing Offense
Yay! Woohoo! Melvin Gordon finally scored his first touchdown of 2019!
Great. Now can we get some yards, too?
This was the first game since Week 4 in Miami that the Chargers finished with a YPC average of at least 3.0. However, the team could only muster 36 yards rushing on 12 carries. To put this dismal running game in perspective, check out this tweet from The Athletic’s Daniel Popper:
#Chargers are the first team in the Super Bowl era to have fewer than 40 rushing yards in four straight games.— Daniel Popper (@danielrpopper) October 27, 2019
Now that....is something.
What this is telling us is there has never been a worse team at running the football in any four-game stretch in the history of the Super Bowl Era than the Chargers.
That checks out.
To be honest, excuses for this fact can range from “game-flow hasn’t called for running the ball” to “Well, the line is pretty bad.” Well, I’m not normally one for excuses, but yeah these things have happened.
To rub this in some more, if you took away Gordon’s 19-yard touchdown run, the team would have finished with 11 carries for 17 yards. That’s good for 1.5 yards per carry and would have went right along with the Chargers ever-dwindling YPC since Week 1.
I asked in my most-recent “3 Things” article if this run game could get any worse. Turns out, I was this close to being able to say “yes”.
K Chase McLaughlin
Whenever the Chargers acquire a new kicker, it just means they get to see a new face suffer from the same old problems.
This has been the case for McLaughlin since he was signed several weeks ago and those expected lulls appeared once more on Sunday afternoon.
Early in the game, he was able to get the Bolts on the board with 20-yard field goal. However, after the aforementioned interception by Hayward, McLaughlin was unable to turn it into points when he went wide on a 41-yard attempt. This marked his second game in three that he missed at least one kick.
There is a real chance that the team gets Michael Badgley back next Sunday against the Packers, but knowing Lynn and how he seems to handle injuries, there’s just as good of a chance we don’t see him until after the bye week.