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Surge or Static: “Next man up” mentality continues to fall short for Bolts

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NFL: Houston Texans at Los Angeles Chargers Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The Chargers dropped another game on Sunday in which they held a 10-point lead in the second half. For the second-straight game, they also failed to score a touchdown in the second half, with a field goal being the only points they have mustered after the halfway point in the last two weeks,

It was another second-half implosion that should have fans reeling with PTSD-like symptoms stemming from the team’s horrendous 2016 campaign where they blew a historic amount of leads over and over again. That season, they finished 5-11. It was the final season for Mike McCoy and the year that finally caused the Chargers to move on from that lackluster coaching staff.

Will this be another year that starts to warm the seat of the head coach? Will it cause Anthony Lynn to take a major look at his staff and maybe force his hand into some firings? I don’t know if we should get that far into our wallowing, but a close game to the Miami Dolphins next week, even if it’s a victory, will start to stir the pot sooner rather than later.

This week was a struggle, but as always, here are the three players I believed “surged” forward with their play and three that stayed “static” or took a step back with their performance on Sunday.

Surge

WR Keenan Allen

Amassing a career-high in receiving yardage is an easy way to land yourself on the “Surge” list.

Allen finds himself on the right side of this column for the third-straight week, making him the only player to do so through the first three weeks of the season. The savvy veteran hauled in 13 of 17 targets en route to 183 yards and two scores. That makes three receiving touchdowns in three games, bringing him to the halfway mark of his six total scores he had in both the 2017 and ‘18 seasons.

Allen hasn’t scored more than six times in a season since his rookie season where he found paydirt eight times. If things continue as is, Allen could be primed for a career-year in all the receiving categories. Even when Hunter Henry returns from his knee injury, Allen will continue to be a target vacuum in this Chargers offense.

K/P Ty Long

Of course we have to show the kicker some love after bouncing back from two missed kicks last week. Long gained much of his lost confidence after knocking home a pair of field goals against the Texans, allowing the Chargers to stay alive for as long as possible before their second half point drought continued.

Long made kicks of 34 and 43 yards, his 43-yarder being the only points that the Chargers could muster in the second half.

Usual starter Michael Badgley was awfully close to suiting up this week prior to a last-minute inactive annoucement on Saturday so I expect him to take back his job this coming week barring any unforeseen setbacks.

CB Desmond King

King got the crowd fired-up from the very start of this one, keeping his wits about him and recovering a Deshaun Watson fumble after the quarterback made an ill-advised decision to throw a screen pass into the dirt behind his body. King collected the ball and took it all the way down to the Houston 15-yard line before a offensive linemen caught him by the heel.

The third-year defender was all over the field for the Chargers, collecting the aforementioned fumble, four total stops, a pass deflection, and a QB hit. It looked like Gus Bradley was attempting to use King in a variety of ways, hoping to take advantage of King’s knack for big plays in big moments.

Static

S Roderic Teamer

After not suiting up for the first two weeks due to injury, Teamer got the starting nod at strong safety following the loss of Adrian Phillips to a broken forearm. Teamer, along with outside linebacker Chris Peace, made the team after going undrafted in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Teamer got the start this week against a lot of backlash from fans who wished to see 2019 second-round pick Nasir Addelrey receive some more snaps in Phillips place. Lynn decided to stick with Teamer, who available all throughout training camp. This was the main reason given when asked about Adderley’s chances of stating. Lynn believes Adderley is still far behind after missing most of training camp before suiting up for just the preseason finale.

The former Tulane Green Wave safety was a bright spot during the preseason exhibition games but wound-up looking not-so-bright when he took the field. On the Texans second scoring play, a intermediate shot to tight end Darren Fells, Teamer lost track of the massive tight end, leading to a wide-open score for the veteran.

Overall, he simply didn’t look ready to start for this defense. The Chargers have other options. Knowledge of the playbook, be damned. Let your best players play, and make plays. Teamer is not that, right now.

WR Travis Benjamin

Benjamin was once again on the wrong end of a potential big play for the Chargers on Sunday afternoon. With the Chargers down 27-20 towards the end of the fourth quarter, Rivers lofted a high-arcing pass to the speedster downfield. Although Benjamin was being double-covered, he had a step on the two defenders. Rivers’ pass landed right in between his hands but the short-armed Benjamin didn’t fully extend for the catch which caused the ball to squeeze through is digits incomplete.

He finished with two catches for five yards. Obviously not what you expect from a player whose sole purpose as a member of this team is to beat the defense deep.

The Pass Rush

It’s widely known that Deshaun Watson has been the most-sacked quarterback in the NFL since the beginning of last year. After being brought down 10 times in the first two weeks, the Chargers only managed two sacks of the quarterback, one of which was by Brandon Mebane while Bosa and Ingram were off the field. The four that rushed? Mebane, Uchenna Nwosu, Isaac Rochell, and Justin Jones.

Later on during a crucial third down, Bosa and Thomas Davis were able to get home and split a sack, but two is nowhere near enough for this defensive front. In fact, according to Aaron Reiss from The Athletic, Watson was pressure on just 13.9 percent of his dropbacks on Sunday. That was the lowest percentage OF HIS CAREER.

HIS WHOLE DAMN CAREER.

The Chargers literally gave him his most casual experience in the pocket as a professional quarterback, with two “elite” edge rushers.

On a 1st-and-10 for the Texans with 22 seconds left on the clock in the first half, the announcers shouted “Watson is sacked!” and the quarterback proceeded to squirt out of multiple tackle attempts by Justin Jones and Jerry Tillery before tossing an incomplete pass.

This was such a let-down by the defensive line and their inability to get after the quarterback on a consistent basis will also hamper the inexperienced players in the secondary that are being forced into action following the string of long-term injuries throughout the defense.