The snap count from this week tell a story of a team that was forced to play a style of defense they normally rarely touch.
With the Patriots wanting to pound the rock early and often, the Chargers played a ton of base defense. Despite them having a pretty good set up of personnel for their 4-3 front, they still struggled mightily to stop anything New England wanted to do on the ground. The way the team played it, they had more of a 3-4 look with Uchenna Nwosu playing on the line of scrimmage. It was the right call by the team and I recall being pleased with the adjustment, but it honestly did close to nothing for them.
I’ll let you guys dive in for yourselves and see if you find anything else of note.
- The offensive line saw all but one player play 100% of the possible snaps on Sunday. The odd man out of was Storm Norton, who registered 81% while Trey Pipkins played the other 19%. Neither did all that well.
- The running back snaps were dominated by Austin Ekeler and Kalen Ballage. Ekeler led the backfield at 60% while Ballage played 38%.
- Donald Parham received a career-high 19 snaps out of the possible 72. That’s a smidge over a quarter of the snaps and overall good news for those who think Parham still has a wealth of potential.
- Oddly enough, either due to game script or what, but Jalen Guyton led the Chargers receivers in snaps with 64 (89%), followed by Keenan Allen with 62 and Mike Williams with 59.
- Despite being down from the very start of this one, Hunter Henry played just 57% of the offense’s snaps. When your team is down by multiple scores, wouldn’t you want your best pass-catchers on the field? What could have happened that forced the coaching staff to keep Henry on the bench for almost half of the game? On a second look, you can see that Tyron Johnson earned a career-high 15 snaps. This tells us that maybe the Chargers tried to use more speed in an attempt to beat the Patriots, but the lack of protection didn’t let the offense even attempt the deep shots they usually want to take.
- Casey Hayward came into Sunday’s game with a questionable tag and wound up playing a little over half of the team’s snaps at 58%. The Bolts were forced to play their base defense the majority of the time against New England’s run-heavy strategy and it looks like Chris Harris and Michael Davis were tasked as the team’s top two corners. Both of them played all but one snap (66 out of 67).
- Defensive tackle Breiden Fehoko received a career-high 12 snaps on Sunday. It’s great to see him earning a chance at playing time over 2019 seventh-round pick Cortez Broughton. The Chargers need size and mass along the interior and Fehoko could be that support. It’ll be interesting to see if Fehoko is worth a spot on the active roster now that he can’t be promoted anymore on game day.
- Kenneth Murray joined Nasir Adderley as the only two Chargers who played 100% of the team’s defensive snaps. He also enjoyed one of his best games of his young career. He finished with a team-high 14 tackles, two of them going for a loss, and his first career sack. Nick Vigil was the only other defensive player to record a tackle-for-loss against the Patriots.
- It was extremely disappointing to see no player other than an off-ball linebacker record a sack of tackle-for-loss. The Patriots are missing at least one of their starting offensive linemen and the Chargers pass rush couldn’t capitalize. It was another dreadful effort and a horrible way to follow up Joey Bosa’s best game of his career just a week ago.
- Michael Badgley missed his third PAT of the season and had a field goal blocked and returned for a touchdown. He has now missed nine kicks on the season, including six field goals.
- The whole unit was absolutely abysmal against the Patriots. Besides the blocked kick, they also allowed Gunner Olszewski to rack up 140+ punt returns yards with a touchdown. It was just awful. No other way about it.