After game like that, it’s definitely a challenge to find more than one performance that was positive enough to fill out this piece, but we managed to do it. Barely, but still.
The Chargers were flat-out worked. Start to finish. Whistle to whistle. This was not their day.
Every team is due for a bad game, you just wish it wasn’t right before a two week break where everyone is now forced to marinate in the residuals.
But just like the team, we gotta keep it moving.
Here are this week’s players that either “surged” forward with their play or stayed “static” due to an underwhelming performance.
Let’s get into it.
LB Kyzir White
In a game where the bar for a “good” performance was set incredibly low, White showed out for the Bolts’ defense by recording a team-high eight tackles and picking off Lamar Jackson twice, including an acrobatic grab late in the game that unfortunately didn’t matter for much.
Regardless, White — being the team’s only healthy linebacker starter experience — had to show up and he did that and then some.
EDGE Joey Bosa
The interior of the defensive line has been the weakest part of that unit this season and to help mitigate the damage through that area, Brandon Staley played Bosa at one of the three spots next to Linval Joseph and Jerry Tillery. Unfortunately, that didn’t help much and Bosa was soon back on the edge where he belonged.
The Big Bear finished with five total tackles, an impressive tackle for loss, and a one-armed sack of Jackson. In a game where nothing seemed to be going right, it was refreshing to see one of the team’s captains do his job and find success.
QB Justin Herbert
For the first time since the Chargers faced the Patriots in Week 13 of 2020, Herbert looked like a rookie quarterback. The Ravens defense was stifling from the very first drive and things only managed to snowball from there.
I think it’s easy to just say the pressure from the Ravens’ front seven affected Herbert, but I believe the bigger question is more along the lines of, “Why did it affect the offense as much as it did?” This isn’t the first game Herbert has seen this level of pressure. By no means was that the case. So why did it seem like everything was just so “off”? Maybe we’ve become so accustomed to seeing Herbert roll with the punches and still make plays in spite of these negatives that this one bad game just looked so contrasting to the rest of his 2021 resume?
At the end of the day, it was by far Herbert’s worst outing of the year. He finished with 195 yards on 22-of-39 passes with one touchdowns and one interception. He also led the team with 12 yards rushing on a pair of scrambles.
It just wouldn’t be fair if I singled out any one player in regards to their performance on Sunday. As a whole, this is by far the worst rushing defense in the NFL. Through these past two games alone, the Chargers have allowed over 400 yards rushing and five touchdowns. On the year, they’re allowing an average of 162.5 with Texans being the next closest team at 141.3.
Following the games against the Cowboys and Chiefs, Brandon Staley made it known that he believed the second level of the defense was getting thrown off because the first level wasn’t doing there jobs. Those two levels and their ability to work in sync only became much more complicated following the injury to Drue Tranquill. It was the league’s best rushing attack against a front missing three starters. A rookie undrafted free agent who lacks above-average athleticism was tasked with trying to stop Jackson and their stable of running backs. It was a lost fight before they ever took the field.
Why doesn’t this give them a free pass you may be asking? For starters, the Ravens have over 15 players on injured reserve. Their starting center was knocked out of this game. They still somehow throttled a team that’s supposed to be one of the best-coached units in the league under this new staff.
One team overcame their injuries to play a good game on Sunday and one didn’t. That’s the truth.
K Tristan Vizcaino
Like, what are we doing here anymore? I understand being patient, but we’re already past the point of patience being detrimental to the long-term success of this team. Vizcaino missed his league-leading fifth extra point on Sunday. He’s just two away from tying the NFL record for most misses in a season (since 2015). It’s time to move on.