Normally it’s tough to point out the players who played well in a loss, but there was enough good from a few guys through the first two and a half quarters against the Broncos.
Two of the players who progressed with their play this week have been more often than not under “static” this season, so that’s a whole other level of positive we were able to take from this week.
Let’s get right to it, shall we? Here are your Surge or Static players from Week 8.
S Rayshawn Jenkins
Since the beginning of last season, Jenkins has shown to be a guy who can make the splash play on the back end. With Derwin James out, he’s being forced to play the strong safety position, but I still feel like his best bet is to play centerfield where he can utilize his athletic ability. James has always been a sure-handed tackler and that’s what the Chargers have desperately missed inside the box.
Jenkins has been on the wrong side of this list for most of the season, but he made plays when he needed to against the Broncos to give the Bolts the best chance at coming away victorious. When all of the fan base has clamored for more big plays in the second half, Jenkins came through with a big-time interception that he returned 23 yards back deep into Denver territory. Unfortunately, Herbert went back to Mike Williams hoping for another touchdown catch but he under-threw the ball just enough to give Broncos cornerback Bryce Callahan strong enough positioning to yank the ball out of Williams’ possession.
Despite the lack of a positive outcome, Jenkins still made a play when a play needed to be made. This is the type of performance we need from him on a more consistent basis, especially against a rather efficient Derek Carr coming to town.
WR Mike Williams
In the past three weeks, Williams has a pair of games of 99+ yards receiving with a combined three touchdowns sandwiched around a one-reception outing at Jacksonville.
After a slow start that in his first few starts with Justin Herbert under center, Williams seems to be finding his stride as the connection between him and the rookie continue to grow. It didn’t take a long at all for Herbie to get comfortable throwing it up to their jump-ball specialist and that’s been huge for the Chargers’ offense as a whole. They’ve score 30+ points in three of their last four games and a big part of that has been Williams’ ability to get open and makes plays down the field.
Williams’ biggest play on Sunday came in the third quarter when he hauled in a one-handed touchdown grab in the back of the end zone to give the Bolts a 21-point lead.
Williams will get the chance to put up big numbers again this week against a shaky Las Vegas secondary.
K Michael Badgley
I think it’s safe to say that Badgley is once again in the good graces of the coaching staff after he made all three of his field goal attempts in Denver, including a season-long of 52 yards.
While I’m not entirely comfortable again referring to him as the “Money Badger” again, he’s at least doing what he needs to do to start inching his way back to regaining that level of confidence from the fan base.
S Nasir Adderley
This one hurts every single time.
After all of the hype of the last year, Nas has been quite the opposite of what we all expected. Yes, he has one of the few interceptions snagged by the secondary this season, but his list of negatives has far outgrown the list of positive plays he’s made this season.
There were blown coverages against the Bengals, but that was his first start so we easily brushed that under the rug. But the problems have exceeded just coverage assignments. Against the Broncos, Adderley wound-up being the direct reason for two of Denver’s four touchdowns on the day.
On Phillip Lindsay’s 55-yard touchdown run, the Bolts actually did a good job of filling gaps and forcing Lindsay into the tiniest of holes between two of his linemen. Adderley was the last line of defense in this situation and the former second-round pick took a bad angle that Lindsay erased before going untouched the last 45+ yards. To make matters worse, Jenkins may have had a chance to drag him down from behind but Nas’ missed tackle also swept his legs out from under him, sending him into the dirt.
On DaeSean Hamilton’s 40-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown, the Bolts were in a single-high look with Nas at free. Hamilton ran a dig route with tight end Noah Fant on an underneath curl route that forced the second level to step up. That opened up a window over the linebackers as Lock hit Hamilton in stride. Adderley took a horrendous angle and ended up falling when he tried to change his direction so drastically to recover. Hamilton went untouched into the end zone.
DaeSean Hamilton left them in the dust pic.twitter.com/wC3S5M4K5O— Onward State (@OnwardState) November 2, 2020
This has happened far too often with Nas and it’s no surprise the team is bringing in former safety Jaylen Watkins for a workout later this week.
LB Kenneth Murray
One game after Murray recorded a career-best overall grade from Pro Football Focus, he plummeted back to earth with a team-worst 29.7 defensive grade. For context, a 70.0 is considered “average.”
Murray was picked on in coverage, allowing all all six of his targets to be completed for 58 yards. No one expected him to be even an average defender in coverage, but it’s been pretty bad. His 127 yards allowed are 14th in the NFL among linebackers.
His usage has confused many and Anthony Lynn was even asked if Murray has been used in the correct manner this far. Lynn doubled-down that he is the MIKE linebacker of this defense, meaning he has to do all kinds of things, and one of those jobs is to cover. He also said they blitzed Murray a decent amount on Sunday, but once or twice isn’t enough. Murray’s athleticism should be utilized a bit more, especially if the other option is having him defend slot receivers. So far, I think Murray has been performing up to the level most of us expected. Nothing too flashy so far, but it’s not like we should have expected much against the strength of the quarterback play he has faced through the first eight weeks of the season.