The Chargers did the thing again.
Ya know, the thing where they play like the best team in the NFL through the first 30 minutes of a game before ... something ... happens in the second half.
But despite all of that, there’s hope. There is positivity to be had. When will the positives begin to outweigh the negatives? I really don’t know, but I feel it in my gut that it’s coming.
Until then, let’s continue to enjoy this team, analyze their play, and hope for the best that they actually are headed in the right direction.
Here are the Surge or Static players from Week 5.
QB Justin Herbert
Herbert became the youngest player in NFL history to throw for four touchdowns on Monday Night Football, joining Lamar Jackson, Patrick Mahomes, and Dan Marino as the only passers to do it before turning 24 years old.
He also didn’t throw an interception for the first time this season, which is a big deal when it comes to playing for a coach like Anthony Lynn.
Herbert threw for 264 yards on 20-of-34 passing, both of which were season-lows, albeit they aren’t the worst numbers by any means. Herbert delivered time and time again on money downs and when the team needed him the most. Part of that is also because the coaching staff seems to almost want Herbert to end up in third-and-long situations based on their unusual stubbornness to run the football on first and second downs, despite what all the analytics say about how bad that is towards an offense’s potential success.
Herbert and the rest of the team get to enjoy Week 6 bye before they face a number of soft defenses against the pass. Herbert threw seven touchdowns against two of the best units in the league and they are about to get the chance to really shine through the air in the coming weeks.
The Chargers don’t play a top 15 pass defense again until week 13. Everyone until then ranks in the 20’s. Great opportunity for Justin Herbert to put some distance between he and Joe Burrow, who plays 4 such defenses in his next 5 games.— Guilty As Charged Podcast (@GACPodcast17) October 14, 2020
After missing the team’s Week 4 matchup with the Bucs, and being hampered by a shoulder injury the previous two games, Williams finally had his breakout performance of the 2020 season when he caught five passes for 109 yards and two touchdowns.
After scoring his first touchdown early in the second quarter from four yards out, Herbert hit a streaking Williams up the right sidelined for a 64-yard touchdown to give the Chargers the lead with under four minutes left in regulation.
His biggest catch, however, might have been his 29-yard snag over the top of two Saints defenders which put the Chargers within field goal range at the end of the fourth quarter, but the sheen from the spectacular play was unfortunately blemished by Michael Badgley missing the potential game-winning kick off the upright.
OH MY MIKE WILLIAMS.— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 13, 2020
His final catch may have come up short on 4th down in overtime, but Williams did more than his fair share to keep the Chargers in this game. After not receiving a ton of attention from Herbert in Weeks 2 and 3, the connection between the two look to be right where everyone wants it to be.
S Nasir Adderley
For Adderley, I doubt there is any other way he would have preferred to record his first interception in the NFL other than on Monday Night Football and against a future Hall-of-Fame quarterback. Well, maybe he would have liked to win the game as well, but that shouldn’t take anything away from this huge milestone for the former second-round pick.
BALL HAWK @NasirAdderley | #BoltUp pic.twitter.com/fSKGStYT57— Los Angeles Chargers (@Chargers) October 13, 2020
Adderley finished the game with four total tackles, one pass breakup, and the aforementioned interception. He also finished with a game-high 83.8 tackling grade, according to Pro Football Focus.
S Rayshawn Jenkins
After grading out as their top defender against the Panthers, Jenkins wasn’t too great against either the Bucs or Saints.
On Monday night, Jenkins’ main responsibility was to cover Alvin Kamara out of the backfield. Now I can’t say he did all that horrible of a job since Kamara didn’t ever truly “break the game”, but it was one pivotal play allowed in the fourth quarter that spelled the downfall for the Saints.
On 1st-and-10 at the Chargers’ 43, Brees dropped back and launched a 50/50 ball to Kamara who was running a wheel route up the right sideline. Jenkins was in coverage, and actually had him locker up, but he failed to get his head around to play the ball and Kamara skied over his head to make the catch before getting both feet in bounds. Three plays later, the Saints tied the game with 58 seconds left.
Unfortunately for Jenkins, it will not be reflected in the win column that he did a good job for 99% of the game.
The Offensive Line
Raise your hand if you saw this coming? Everyone? Even you, Mom? Wow, that’s nuts.
Yes, it was that bad for the Chargers offensive line on Monday night. According to Pro Football Focus, the worst five overall grades given out among the team were all given to the starting offensive line. Every. Single. One. The worst part of it all, unfortunately, is that Forrest Lamp was graded as THE worst player in the entire game, on either side of the ball.
#Chargers Bottom-5 offensive grades per PFF (min. 25 snaps):— Joey BOO-sa (@ZoneTracks) October 13, 2020
Forrest Lamp - 31.2
Dan Feeney - 38.6
Trey Pipkins - 40.5
Ryan Groy - 46.9
Sam Tevi - 47.4
The line faced the full force of the Saints’ defensive line, headlined by defensive end Cameron Jordan. Defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins and edge rusher Marcus Davenport are also no slouches. They made the line look like a massive revolving door from start to finish and Herbert was forced to “run for his life”, as Lynn put it in his post-game presser.
The Chargers ran the ball better in this one compared to last week, but that was thanks to a pair of big runs by Justin Jackson. Despite that, they still averaged just 3.5 yards per carry and continued to force the ball to the running backs when everyone on the field knew it was coming. Either way, it didn’t do the line any favors.