Well that was ugly wasn’t it? The Chargers got pretty well handled at home, especially on offense, vs an 0 - 4 Denver Broncos team. Lets take a look at how much everyone played yesterday and see if there’s anything there that can help explain the loss, besides injuries of course, which are definitely helping to break this team.
So the first thing that jumps off the page is that Mike Pouncey only played 60% of the snaps. He went out of the game with a neck injury. Anthony Lynn said after the game he wasn’t in the concussion protocol but he couldn’t finish the game. This shifted Dan Feeney over to C and gave Forrest Lamp 45 snaps at LG! Obviously this isn’t the way we all wanted to see Lamp get snaps but that is some meaningful game time. It will be interesting to see how he performed in the re-watch and how PFF grades him out.
Obviously a lot of people were curious about how Melvin Gordon would be used and he saw the field for 32 snaps (46% of the offensive snaps). Austin Ekeler was out there for 46 snaps and was lined up all over the field.
Mike Williams, Travis Benjamin, and Virgil Green all saw significant snaps now that they were back healthy. Mike Williams made the most of his return to the lineup hauling in 6 of his 13 targets for 74 yards, often moving the chains when he caught it. The 7 incompletions in his direction were basically all on Philip Rivers. With those players coming back, Andre Patton saw a reduction in snaps this week, but the team obviously sees something there as Geremy Davis (who had been ahead of Patton on the depth chart) out-snapped Patton last week but only saw 1 snap on offense this week.
One of the more concerning aspects of this week was Keenan Allen being on the field for 69 of 70 offensive snaps and only being targeted 6 times which resulted in 4 catches for 18 yards.
All the starters in the secondary once again saw the field for 100% of the snaps. The CBs did a pretty damn good job, however it wasn’t a great day for the safeties who missed multiple tackles and gave up a couple big gains including a 70 yard TD pass.
Uchenna Nwosu (57 of 61 snaps) and Justin Jones (48 of 61) saw season highs for snaps and boy did they make the most of it. Justin Jones was all over the field and tallied 5 tackles, 2 QB hits and a handful of pressures, and had the tipped pass at the line that Kyzir White was able to intercept. Uchenna Nwosu meanwhile was a demon off the edge. He came away with 7 tackles, a sack, a TFL, a QB hit, and a forced fumble. Nwosu was playing with his hair on fire and Gus Bradley needs to find some more ways to get him on the field even when Melvin Ingram comes back.
Joey Bosa was on the field for 90% of the defensive snaps which was a season high percentage wise, and he made the most of it as well. Bosa continued his stellar season with 4 tackles, a sack, 2 TFL, and 2 QB hits along with multiple other pressures.
Denzel Perryman was on the field for around 50% of the snaps again while Thomas Davis saw his snaps drop again, from 79% last week, down to 66%. This left more snaps for the younger and faster LBs to get on the field.
Kyzir White is seeing his workload steadily increasing again, which is good to see. After playing 80%+ of the snaps in weeks 1 and 2, White was dropped to 7% in week 3 when Perryman returned to the lineup. However week 4 saw that increase back to 25% and now in week 5 he was on the field for 56% of the defensive snaps which he turned into 2 tackles and an INT.
Another young LB who saw an increased workload was Drue Tranquil, and boy did he make it count. Tranquil was only on the field for 20 snaps on defense, yet was third on the team in tackles with 6, many of which were within 5 yards of the LOS, in addition to his 2 tackles on Special Teams. Tranquil has done nothing but succeed every time he’s on the field and he needs to see more playing time.
One slightly concerning note was 1st round pick Jerry Tillery saw a season low for snaps. He did make it count and was able to get a sack during those 14 snaps, but he’s honestly just being outplayed by Justin Jones right now.
Nick Dzubnar is still one of the most used special teamers on the team and while he was fantastic last year, he has come back down to earth in a major way. Through 5 games he leads the team in special teams snaps, but he has only 1 assisted tackle while also having 2 penalties on special teams, including one that wiped out a turnover that would have helped the Chargers immensely.
Ty Long got some help with the kicking responsibilities this week with rookie Kicker Chase McLaughlin joining the team. McLaughlin did a decent job kicking off and had his first career FG attempt blocked. However his second and third attempts and extra point were all good.