The Chargers receive the kick and stay in the endzone for a touchback. For the second week Philip Rivers is a fan on the sideline and Tyrod Taylor leads the offense. The offense comes out pass heavy, 3 of the first 4 are passes, all complete for Tyrod Taylor who continues to look calm and steady.
The run game is looking slow to start, first 3 carries netted a total -1 yards and resulted in a turn over on downs when Justin Jackson got blown up for a 3 yard loss on 4th and 1.
Good situational training for the defense as they open their first drive on the Chargers 44 yard line. Drew Brees is also a fan today so Teddy Bridgewater leads the Saints offense. The Saints pick up a first down pretty quickly. Kyzir White looks fast, he has been in on a few of the tackles already including a big TFL. Rayshawn Jenkins comes VERY close to an INT as Uchenna Nwosu provides enough pressure off the edge to force Bridgewater to make an off balance throw that hits Jenkins in the hands. The Saints go for it on 4th and 3 from just outside the Chargers 30 and a mistimed snap leads to a fumble and Chargers recovery by LB Kyle Wilson.
The Chargers start their second drive trying to get the run game going with a nice pitch to Austin Ekeler that goes for 7 yards. The next play backs the Chargers up with a holding penalty on Hunter Henry. The next play Trent Scott got beat badly off the left side on a play that would have been a sack if Rivers was in there, but Tyrod’s athleticism saves him. The next play Tyrod connects with Artavis Scott for a 10 yard pass on 3rd and 12, again with Trent Scott getting beat off the edge.
The Chargers defense continues to look athletic and strong. They force a 3 and out by the Saints, aided by a false start on 3rd and 3. Even when Bridgewater broke free and looked like he might take off to run for the 1st down, the defense broke down perfectly to contain him and force another bad throw.
Tyrod Taylor starts the next drive off with a deep pass down the sideline to Travis Benjamin, however he put a little too much air under it and Vonn Bell was able to get over and knock the ball away. Two plays later Tyrod is picked off after a tipped pass. These tackles are getting beat badly.
Chargers defense takes the field in their own territory and are able to keep things locked down and force a 3 and out and the Saints settled for a field goal.
When the offense takes the field again, Justin Jackson is heavily featured and looks very quick and explosive on short passes from Tyrod, showing good moves and vision to pick up yards.
Chargers wind up with a 3rd and long again thanks to a Sam Tevi penalty but Tyrod is able to find Geremy Davis for a 15 yard connection and a first down.
Chargers offense still has the ball and the tackles continue to get abused. 1st 2 plays to start the quarter are a bad sack and a Tyrod throwing it away to avoid a 2nd sack. The team is going to have to do something at tackle.
Special teams continues to be sloppy for the Chargers. On the second punt, another penalty by the Chargers, thats 2 flags on 3 punts so far.
The defense gives us our first look of the signature “bend but don’t break” Chargers Defense. The Saints drive down the field into the redzone, but Jaylen Watkins is able to come down with a tip drill interception at the 3 yard line.
The Chargers make some changes on Offense, Cardale Jones comes into the game at QB and the offensive line shuffles, moving Forrest Lamp from LG to RG, Dan Feeney from C, to LG, Trent Scott replaced by 3rd round pick Trey Pipkins at LT, and Scott Quessenberry in at C.
After stalling out near the goal line the Chargers are bailed out by a pass interference call and get on a roll. The next 2 plays gain 10 yards on a pass and 17 yards on a run by Justin Jackson behind a fantastic block from FB Derek Watt.
Cardale Jones is able to orchestrate a solid drive, avoiding pressure and making pretty good throws. He finished the drive with a beautiful 24 yard pass to Andre Patton for a TD. He had pressure coming in and stood strong and placed the ball perfectly for an easy TD. That was a surprisingly good drive from Cardale.
The defense comes back out and shuts down the Saints for a quick 3 and out again. Even with out the biggest names on defense off the field, this is a really good group.
Cardale Jones is not going to give up his QB3 spot easily. He orchestrates a second solid drive in a row hitting Artavis Scott and Andre Patton for big gains again. On 2nd and goal he makes the right decision but executes poorly when he throws it away out the back of the endzone, but there is no WR in the area so he is called for intentional grounding. They are not able to overcome that setback and they are forced to settle for a 32 yard FG from Michael Badgley which he makes easily.
When the defense takes the field again 1st round pick Jerry Tillery beats his man easily and sacks Taysom HIll on the first play of the drive. Very encouraging to see that kind of splash play from the 1st round pick in his first game action. The next play Tillery fights through a double team and hits Hill as he throws. Two very solid plays from the rookie back to back.
The Chargers force a 3 and out again, and special teams makes up for their penalties earlier. Troymaine Pope takes a punt 81 yards to the house for TD. It was really a fantastic return by Pope, when he catches the ball there are 3 Saints players with a shot at him, he makes all of them miss and takes it to the house.
Halftime: Chargers 17 - Saints 3
Tillery picks up right where he left off to start the 2nd half. with a really nice tackle for no gain on 2nd down on a run play that went to the other side from where he’s lined up, aided by Roderic Teamer. On 3rd down Uchenna Nwosu lays a HUGE hit on the ball carrier to get the stop and force another punt.
Cardale and the offense finally come back down to earth on the first drive of the 2nd half. The team is not able to get out to the 50 yard line. Forrest Lamp is the only lineman still in the game from the group that started this game. When the Chargers are forced to punt, Ty Long makes a beautiful 56 yard punt angled to the sideline that bounces out at the Saints 7 yard line.
Its getting boring typing this, but I’m happy that it’s getting boring, the Chargers defense forced another Punt. The Saints just havent been able to get anything going on offense all day. Really a great performance by every level of this Chargers defensive depth chart.
Easton Stick takes over on offense for the Chargers and has a quick 3 and out. The offensive line didn’t do him or Detrez Newsome any help and the Chargers are forced to punt from their own Endzone.
It’s no longer boring. The Chargers D gets beat badly on the next Saints drive. Taysom Hill makes the defense look silly with a big run for a first down and quickly follows it with a huge TD pass for 27 yards. There wasn’t a Charger defender within 10 yards of the Saints receiver as they blow the coverage. Uchenna Nwosu pulled up on the play, will need to watch that.
Stick’s 2nd drive doesn’t go much better. After a nifty play from Stick, flipping it out to Detrez Newsom while he was being dragged to the ground. The officials throw a very questionable facemask penalty on Newsome. They can’t recover and wind up punting it away again.
So I shouldn’t have complimented the Chargers defense. Taysom Hill continues to carve them up on the ground on this drive as well. Long runs and solid passing has the Saints offense deep in Chargers territory very quickly. That’s the end of the 3rd quarter. Chargers 17 - Saints 10
On the 2nd play of the 4th Quarter, the Saints hand the ball off on their 4 yard line and Denzel Perryman, in the game late getting some reps to knock the rust off, drills the RB forcing a fumble which is recovered by the Chargers again.
The Chargers still cant get any offense going with Easton Stick. Some of it is on him, but this basically 4th string group of offensive linemen can’t block anyone.
The Saints settle down and string together another long drive under Taysom Hill here. The Saints wide receivers and running backs keep finding big holes in the Chargers 2nd and 3rd level. The defensive line also cant get any push and are getting blown apart by the Saints OL. Hill caps off the drive with another TD pass as the Chargers fail to cover in the endzone, despite strong pressure forcing Hill to roll out. The Saints go for 2 but Anthony Lanier shoots into the backfield and drills Taysom Hill and keeps the Chargers 1pt lead intact.
Same story for Stick and the Chargers’ offense again. The blocking is ineffective and Stick cant get anything going.
Taysom Hill and the Saints get the ball back with about 4 minutes left and a chance to steal the game. Hill uses his legs and his arm to drive the Saints down the field. The Chargers backups put on a poor show of tackling which helps the Saints keep rolling. At the 2 minute warning the Saints have the ball at the Chargers 15. 2 plays later the Chargers have the Saints at 4th and 2 from the 10 yard line. The Saints convert the FG to take a 19-17 lead with 1:05 left in the game.
First play from scrimmage Trey Pipkins gives up a sack. Easton Stick didn’t feel the pressure and got drilled in the back hard. Two plays later Easton Stick connects with Artavis Scott for a 32 yard pass out to the 44 yard line. Two plays after that however, Stick throws a bad interception that would have been a pick 6 if not for a penalty during the return. That seals the game for the Saints.