In the final game of the season, the Chargers visited Arrowhead Stadium and walked away with a 38-21 victory against the Chiefs. With plenty of starters out on either team, plenty of young talent got to see more of the spotlight than they ever have. And at the end of the day, they impressed.
Most will still point at the Chiefs sitting a bunch of their starters, including Patrick Mahomes and Tyree Hill, but the Chargers were also without a litany of their best players, so it was as much of an even playing field as one could ask for, if we’re being honest.
Below you’ll find the best and worst five overall grades for the Bolts on either side of the ball, including a couple honorable mention players who didn’t meet the minimum snap threshold.
Chargers top-five offensive grades (min. 25 snaps):
- TE Stephen Anderson - 90.7
- WR Mike Williams - 84.5
- QB Justin Herbert - 80.9
- OT Trey Pipkins - 79.0
- RB Kalen Ballage - 71.4
- Honorable Mention: RB Justin Jackson - 89.0 (22 snaps)
Chargers bottom-five offensive grades (min. 25 snaps):
- OG Forrest Lamp - 48.7
- WR Jalen Guyton - 51.8
- OG Cole Toner - 59.3
- C Dan Feeney - 63.4
- OT Storm Norton - 65.3
- Honorable Mention: OG Trai Turner 51.9 (17 snaps)
For the second-straight week, tight end Stephen Anderson was the highest-graded offensive player for the Chargers with an elite 90.7 overall grade. His 91.6 receiving grade led the way while he also finished second on the team with a 75.3 pass block grade. Anderson has shown a knack for finding soft spots in zones and an invigorating tendency to break tackles after the catch. He played like a man on a mission the final two games of the season and he’s definitely a guy I’d like to see more of in 2021.
In his final game of the year, this one without Keenan Allen, Williams showed that he can be the WR1 in an offense, but will it be enough to earn a second contract from the Chargers? He finished his fourth season with 48 receptions for 756 yards and five touchdowns. All of those are good for second-best marks in his four-year career.
Trey Pipkins played the best game of his career against the Chiefs on Sunday. Yes, it was against the backups, but this is still quite notable. Pipkins led the team with an even 80.0 pass block grade and was second with a 71.9 run block grade. However, he was still credited with one of the team’s three sacks allowed, but it somehow wasn’t deemed drastic enough to burden his overall performance.
Jalen Guyton unfortunately finished his surprising 2020 season with a couple goose eggs in the box score. The former undrafted free agent didn’t catch a single pass out of his four targets, which included a drop that may have been the deciding factor in Herbert actually breaking Andrew Luck’s passing yards record for a rookie. He did, however, finish with an elite 91.6 grade as a run blocker.
Finally, take the grades of Feeney and Norton with a grain of salt. Yes, they ranked in the bottom five but that’s mostly because of a plethora of players who didn’t reach the snap threshold. They both were “fine” against Chiefs.
Chargers top-five defensive grades (min. 25 snaps):
- LB Kenneth Murray Jr. 84.2
- LB Denzel Perryman 71.1
- S Nasir Adderley - 67.5
- CB Michael Davis - 67.0
- DT Justin Jones - 64.6
- Honorable Mention: DE Joe Gaziano - 86.9 (14 snaps)
Chargers bottom-five defensive grades (min. 25 snaps):
- CB Tevaughn Campbell - 35.9
- DE Isaac Rochell - 43.5
- DT Linval Joseph - 50.2
- DL Jerry Tillery - 51.5
- CB Chris Harris Jr. - 53.6
After two down games by Michael Davis, it was good to see him bounce back a bit. Against the Chiefs, he allowed three receptions on seven targets for 31 yards and broke up a pair of passes.
Kenneth Murray finished the year with one of his best performances of the season by leading the entire defense (minimum 25 snaps) with an 84.2. He had high marks in both run defense (81.3) and tackling (79.0). His coverage grade of 72.3 was also second best on the team behind only Denzel Perryman (82.9).
Campbell was forced to play on the outside once again with Casey Hayward sidelined with an injury. He understandably struggled against the Chiefs offensive starters and allowed four receptions for 30 yards and a score on six targets his way. His 32.9 coverage grade was the worst on the team and his 29.6 tackling grade was — and believe this — only the eighth-worst grade in that category among the defense.
The usually-steady Linval Joseph wasn’t his normal self in the run game this past Sunday as he finished with the third-worst mark on the team with a 50.2. Despite having some of the low marks in run defense and tackling, he still finished with the third-best pass rush grade with a 72.5.