If you’ve been a Chargers fan for more than 15 seconds, last night was all too familiar. The team started off slow, did just enough in the middle to give you hope, then gave up too much and “didn’t finish” setting up a “Hero Rivers” scenario with awful blocking that predictably finished with an interception to end the game.
Another 2019 draft pick finally saw some meaningful game action when 3rd round pick Trey Pipkins was forced into the starting lineup last night. With Sam Tevi inactive, when starting LT Russell Okung went down with a groin injury early in the 1st quarter, the team had no choice but to throw Pipkins in at LT. It was an up and down game for the rookie but honestly he looked night and day better than he did in the preseason. He looks like he’s learning quickly and has been living in the gym because he looks much stronger than he did a few months ago. That’ll be interesting on the re-watch.
Looking at the numbers, the Chargers obviously felt that being in 11 personnel (1TE 1RB and 3WR) was their best shot last night. Mike Williams played 95% of the snaps, Keenan Allen played 84%, Andre Patton played 81% and Hunter Henry played 81%. So for about 80% of the plays the Chargers were in 11 personnel. I can’t say I agree with that philosophy. Trent Scott was a revolving door at RT and they were forced to put a developmental rookie in at LT. Obviously they thought trying to spread the defense out rather than giving the tackles extra help was going to work better than it did.
Austin Ekeler saw his workload increase a bit last night after playing a season low percentage of the snaps last week vs Green Bay. He was on the field for 45% of the offensive snaps last night, often split out in the slot or fully out wide as a pass catcher.
Melvin Gordon meanwhile made the most of his snaps last night. He again played just north of 60% of the snaps and had one of his best games as a pro. He was decisive, looked explosive, contributed as a pass catcher, a runner, and made a key block which allowed Philip Rivers to complete a deep pass to Mike Williams in the 3rd quarter.
Not much else to say here other than it is pretty interesting that Derek Watt had 3 snaps on offense and had a carry and a target.
Big news here. Denzel Perryman was active but spent his entire night on the sidelines. He didn’t play a single snap on defense or special teams. That meant that Drue Tranquill played 100% of the defensive snaps. 100%. Holy crap it actually happened. He made it count racking up a team leading 14 tackles. He’s looking like the best pick in the 2019 class for the Chargers and it’s not close.
Brandon Mebane was back in the lineup last night and went right back to playing a majority of the snaps. He was on the field for 59% of the plays on defense. He had 1 assisted tackle on the stat sheet, but I honestly don’t remember him out there. I’ll have to re-watch to see how he impacted the game with taking on blockers etc.
Damion Square matched Mebane’s snaps and continued to have a solid season adding 3 more tackles. Meanwhile Sylvester Williams is looking like a guy who should be playing over Mebane. In his 13 snaps he had 2 tackles and is just a load to try and move in the middle.
Joey Bosa played 95% of the defensive snaps and had a relatively quiet night with only 2 tackles, including a TFL, and 2 QB hits. I want to see him on the re-watch too because I remember during the live watch I saw 2 blatant holds against him that weren’t called and one extremely obvious illegal high/low combo block on him.
Bosa’s other half Melvin Ingram had himself a hell of a night though. Ingram also played 95% of the snaps and had 7 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 TFL, 2 QB hits and a PD. He was wrecking that entire OL. He beat both tackles for plays and forced Carr into a sack when he beat the C and RG double teaming him. Amazing night for both Melvins.
Derek Watt is putting together a probowl season. He had 5 more special teams tackles last night. 5. He had more tackles on special teams than all but 3 of the defenders had on defense. Not sure what else to say here, he’s a friggin stud.